3 ways to improve mobile home energy efficiency
Despite being a cost-effective housing option, mobile homes aren’t known for their energy efficiency. Design issues can result in high utility costs.
In fact, utilities can cost up to 50 percent more in a mobile home as compared to a site-built home of similar age and size, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Energy.
The manufactured housing industry produced about 93,000 new homes in 2017, according to the Manufactured Housing Institute.
Below are some steps, writes Danny Parrish of Green Iowa AmeriCorps, that mobile homeowners can take to boost efficiency.
Insulation is considered the largest problem area in mobile homes. Most mobile homes do not have sufficient insulation in their walls, ceiling or crawl space.
This is a serious issue for many homeowners, as the interior air being heated cannot stay warm for long without proper insulation. It also is important in the summer, for the purpose of absorbing and storing the outside heat. Another consideration would be the underpinning around the home, if it is not already in place. This is an effective way to retain heat, while also shielding the underside of the home from frosty winds.
In addition to insulation, it is a good idea to check for areas that may need air-sealed. These may include doorways, around windows, ductwork and the plumbing found underneath kitchen and bathroom sinks. All are relatively simple fixes.
Foam weatherstripping can seal most doorway gaps, cracks in the frame and trim of a window can be fixed with a little caulk, spray foam will fill most under sink bypasses, and ducts can be sealed with heat-resistant aluminum duct tape. Adding plastic sheeting to windows, also known as a window kit, is another good way to add a layer of insulation in the cold winter months.
Films and coating
Besides insulating, two of the most widely used cooling options are to add solar-rejecting window films, and installing a reflective or cool roof coating. Window films offer UV protection, added privacy, light reflection and are a nice complement to the average sunscreen.
The advantages of reflective or coated roof are plentiful, but the most pertinent: energy efficient roofing can reflect up to 85 percent of sunlight, while reducing annual electricity costs up to 40 percent. Besides the personal gain, an efficient roof is beneficial for the community and environment.