Are You Sealing and Saving?

I had never heard about energy audits before I shot a piece on Pascal Maslin, a local
Washington, D.C. energy efficiency expert. Much less did I know that the single
biggest contributor to inefficient homes is not insulation or appliances rather
insufficient sealing.

Now that may or may not come as a surprise but Pascal's data has shown her that by just sealing your home from air leaks you can cut your energy bills by 20-30%. Lets break that down:

  • For every $100 energy bill you save $30.
  • Over the course of a year you save $360 dollars.
  • You reduce your energy consumption and carbon footprint (depending on what powers your local plant) by the same 30%.
  • You are warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer

As Pascal puts it: all it takes is $40 dollars worth of materials, a weekend and some beer (incentive for lazy friends). When she performs her audit she puts a massive fan in the main
doorway of the home. That creates a negative air pressure at the bottom of the house making any crack suck air into the house. The blower door test, as it is called, is a great tool to find leaks but for you at home all it takes is a bit of imagination.

Windows, doors, attic latches, moldings, light fixtures (especially recessed cans) and basements are all prime suspects. Use caulk or foam to seal anything that doesn’t have moving parts and weather seal the rest.

All you need for sealing can be bought at most local hardware stores and definitely at a large home improvement store like Home Depot. Here in Washington there is a great store run by Keith Ware called Eco-Green Living. Located in the Takoma Park neighborhood the store has everything from insulating paint to bamboo linens.

You will be greener in the pocket and greener for the environment.

For more information visit Pascal's site and my coproducer Eugenia's blog.

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