We live in a time with numerous options for our homes energy upgrades, but which one(s) are the best for you, your pocket book, and provide the best ROI? The list is seemingly limitless, including the following:
- Replace High-Energy Appliances with More Efficient Versions
- Install a Programmable Thermostat
- Increase Attic Insulation to Department of Energy Recommendation
- Solar Panels
- Install New Doors and Windows (or Seal the Current Ones)
- Enhance Air Conditioning with Ceiling Fans
- Make the Water System More Efficient
- Improve the Lighting
- Replace Kitchen Equipment
Prices for home energy efficiency improvement projects can range anywhere from $50 to $15,000+, depending on the specific scope and home. Many options for homeowners to invest in energy efficiency are not easy either. Some projects require contractor’s expertise when DIY is not practical. Many sources on the web will tell one to get an energy audit as well, which isn’t a bad idea, but costs money and will likely point you to areas which are already known to need an upgraded, such as the insulation in the attic, solar panels, LED lights etc.
So which project is right for you? Which one gives the most bang for your buck. Which one pays for itself the fastest?
In our experience we have noticed the two prime motivators for a homeowner’s choice do not include environmental motives, rather, the focus is on energy expense savings and comfort in the home.
Most homeowners pay about $200 to $350 or more on average for heating and cooling bills. In the winter and summer months, especially in Kansas City, monthly heating and cooling bills can rise to over $400! So why does all that expensive cool or warm air escape the home in the first place and what is the biggest culprit. Physics, for one (stack effect), and the other most significant reason is an under insulated home.
The stack effect is something we cannot necessarily change. However, we can look at the leading cause for paid for air to escape the home and cause discomfort in rooms, and with the bank account.
Fact: up to 60% of a home’s energy loss is caused by poor insulation. Many assume that windows are the main culprit, but windows only account for about 15% of energy loss in the home. Other areas that are even less impactful are sealed doors, foundation or home penetrations, such as gas lines or other wall penetrations etc.
Builders, when initially constructing a home, are only required to install the minimum amount of insulation to code in the attic and walls. Over 89% of homes across America are under insulated and uncomfortable. This is due to a low R-Value.
R-Value is the measure of the ability of insulation to resist heat transfer. Insulation has one job – keep cool/warm air in! The Department of Energy recommends our region have a minimum R-Value of, R49 and as high as R60. 10+ years ago, building codes used to require about an R19. Many cities now adopt code of up to R38 in brand-new homes. That means even a brand-new home is still R22 short, or about 9 inches of attic insulation!
Homeowners spend up to 30% more on energy bills each month because of insulation only up to code, or under insulated attics. This is significant! If one has lived in their home for ten years and has an average energy bill of $275.00 each month, this means they are likely spending up to $1,000 per year in wasted energy costs due to poor attic insulation. Over ten years that’s $10,000 of wasted energy costs!
So, which project is best when trying to save energy costs, have a more comfortable home for the least expense, and a guaranteed result? The answer is adding insulation. No other home energy improvement will immediately begin to save money like insulation, make the home more comfortable, and pay for itself in a few short years.
The solution? Have an Emerson Enterprises assess the effectiveness of your home’s attic insulation and measure R-Value. If you are below the DOE recommendation, then add more! Click here to schedule your FREE attic insulation inspection today!