Be green and save green all year long
Each year on April 22 the world pauses to recognize environmental protection as part of International Mother Earth Day.
However, the principles of Earth Day shouldn’t be limited to one day. We can all take simple steps to help make the spirit of Earth Day achievable every day.
Sounds good in theory, but where do we begin? Let’s start with the homes in which we live. Did you know that homes and buildings account for 39 percent of all U.S. carbon emissions, and consume 40 percent of our nation’s primary energy, according to the Building Envelope Research Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.1
While these numbers may seem overwhelming, we can all do our part. Both builders and homeowners can play a notable role in helping to reduce energy use.
Earth Day, Every Day
Whether building a new home or renovating an existing one, you can achieve a more comfortable, better performing home that also saves on energy bills by properly insulating and air sealing the house.
In 2013, there’s been a steady rise in new home construction. If you’re currently working on, or looking to, build a new home, it is important to talk with your homebuilder and contractors to ensure that the house is built with energy efficiency in mind. Building a home with quality energy efficient solutions from the start will help keep home energy bills low, minimize air infiltration, increase indoor air quality, comfort and manage moisture, while meeting increasing energy codes. It’s a win-win situation as you can help protect the planet from increasing carbon emissions and help protect your investment.
Now is the perfect time to think about making upgrades to your existing home. So how do you get started? Hire a professional contractor to conduct a home energy assessment to evaluate the home’s overall performance and identify areas for improved insulation and air sealing.
These home improvement projects can improve the comfort of your home considerably, deliver up to 20 percent cost savings on energy (heating and cooling) bills throughout the year2, and qualify for a tax credit.
Increasing the home’s energy efficiency may seem like an overwhelming task, but your professional home energy assessment will help identify easy and low-cost do-it-yourself projects that can instantly help save energy, money and make your home more comfortable. Common areas for improved efficiency include:
Electrical outlets: You may have gaps and cracks hiding behind your electrical outlet covers. Fill the gap around the outside perimeter of the outlet box with GREAT STUFF™ Gaps and Cracks,* being careful not to spray anywhere inside the box itself.
Dryer vent: Don’t let clean laundry be the cause for high energy bills in your home. Use GREAT STUFF™ Pestblock* to seal the gap around the entire circumference of the vent to help prevent air from leaking into your house and to help keep bugs out.
Mess Clean-Up: If there is a little mess after your DIY projects GREAT STUFF™ Work Wipes provides easy clean-up. They are designed to remove excess uncured GREAT STUFF™ foam as well as almost any paint, caulk, adhesive, grease, grime, oil, tar and even permanent marker.
For a full list of quick DIY projects visit http://greatstuff.dow.com/pdfs/checklist.pdf. Conducting a home energy audit and making a few easy updates to your house will help you be greener and see more green in no time!
After any home sealing project, have a heating and cooling technician check to make sure that your combustion appliances (gas- or oil-fired furnace, water heater and dryer) are venting properly.
For additional information on Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) issues related to homes, such as combustion safety, visit EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Web site.
Happy Earth Day everyone!
1Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Building Technologies Research and Integration Center 2013: http://www.ornl.gov/sci/ees/etsd/btric/
2 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2010 http://greatstuff.dow.com/pdfs/checklist.pdf
**Read the label/instructions and Material Safety Data Sheets carefully before use.
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Companies: Dow Building Solutions
Gary Parsons Gary Parsons is the Lead Building Scientist in Dow Building Solutions Research and Development. He is a LEED Accredited Professional, a licensed residential contractor in the state of Michigan, a member of the Society of Plastics Engineers and a member of ASHRAE. www