Staying Green with Insulation

Whether being green within your home already really matters to you or your you’re just curious to learn more about the latest trends, the lengthy list of reasons why insulating your home can directly impact energy efficiency is worth getting familiar with.

Insulation is more than a thinking point for creating an energy efficient home.  It’s a great starting point and is more involved than determining whether your home has insulation or not.  Deeper analysis of this can be made to ensure that you have quality insulation and not too much or too little.  Over the years, different types of insulation materials have been developed and it’s not uncommon to upgrade to a more current offering after evaluating where your home stands.  Requirements have also been updated over time, making current requirements for density of insulation materials different than in years past.

When considering making your home as green as possible, evaluation of insulation and insulation materials is a great start because it will enhance any savings from efficient appliances already in your home.  

While investing in an energy efficient HVAC unit is beneficial, if your home isn’t trapping the cool air in and is allowing warm air to seep in from outdoors, some of your efforts will inevitably be made in vain.  This is why starting with insulating your home is so important and will enable efficient use of natural resources. The heating or cooling done from within your home will have an increased impact moving forward, providing a more reliable and consistently comfortable temperature throughout your home.

Replacing windows is a common home enhancement which comes up during discussions of resale value.  However, updated windows alone will have limited impact if the remainder of the home is not insulated.  

Isolated enhancements like these, are still beneficial to your home but when done in unison with insulation within your home will increase the overall impact of the investment significantly.   Heating and cooling savings are, after all, only beneficial if maintained on a consistent basis. Having insulation which reinforces the protection provided by efficient windows will allow the air that’s blocked from your windows to remain blocked from other unprotected avenues throughout your home, reinforcing the benefit your quality windows create.

Since home cooling and heating bills are what are commonly thought of as the best reason to insulate homes, it’s worth further highlighting the impact they can have.  Proper insulation can positively impact these savings by up to 20 – 50%. This savings is important to keep in mind if thinking about the cost has delayed this project for you at all, as many homeowners refer to this project as paying for itself over time.  Starting small is another thing to keep in mind as it will enable you to start experiencing some energy savings while you budget towards insulating the remainder of your home to your desired extent since this is not an all or nothing project.

Insulating your home in phases is, of course, an option, as you may want to do some areas such as your attic and walls first and consider doing spaces such as your garage further down the line.  If using your garage for more than car storage would be nice but doesn’t need to happen immediately then it might make sense for you to start off with the areas of your home which are more pressing and save the garage for future conversion into a room with more daily use such as an office.  In the interim, you can get started on spaces used more frequently to begin seeing some savings. The Department of Energy provides this helpful resource called the Home Energy Saver which you can use to get a more accurate read on what your savings might be, specific to your Louisiana zip code versus general estimates in other regions.

Other factors to consider when using insulation to generate a green home are the benefits this barrier creates against pollution.  Contaminants and allergen reduction are not the only areas benefitted by insulation, but noise pollution can be mitigated as well. The additional barrier can be a solid start against protecting your home from unwanted noise and distractions both outside and within your home.  Insulating your floors can provide noise muffling benefits if you live in a multi-level home. This home investment, therefore, aids with the optimal use of your home and its overall efficiency in numerous ways.

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