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Response to Weatherization Questions

August 30, 2010 - 4:53pm

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Last week as part of Vice President Biden's announcement of 200,000 homes weatherized under the Recovery act, we asked you to send us your questions and comments about the weatherization process. Today, we’re following up with answers experts from the Department’s Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program:

1) From edmooney via Twitter: @Energy Besides caulking, what are the best values in weatherization for the Northeast region. #weatherization

Nationwide, the energy-efficient retrofits that consistently provide the best return on investment involve sealing gaps in the building envelope which allows conditioned air – either heated or cooled - to escape the interior of the home. States in the Northeast region, which on average have an exceptionally high number of heating degree days each season, are particularly susceptible to energy loss through poor air sealing of the building envelope.

These gaps in the building envelope can include joints between materials, gaps around doors and windows, and penetrations for piping, wiring, and ducts. A blower door test can be used identify these gaps and measure the aggregate degree of air infiltration into your home. Retrofit measures such as caulking, weather stripping, gaskets, and duct sealing can be used to seal these gaps and improve the energy efficiency of your home.

2) From Eric D. via Facebook: More people should look into ceramic coatings for weatherization. It's the easiest way to save more money and going with a roof white will save you tons during the warmer months.

Installation of cool roofs is an excellent way to save energy and money, which is why in early July of this year, the Secretary announced a new DOE initiative to install cool roofs, whenever cost effective over the lifetime of the roof, during construction of a new roof or the replacement of an old one at DOE facilities.

In order to help educate consumers about cool roofs, DOE has developed the following guide:
http://www1.eere.energy.gov/femp/pdfs/coolroofguide.pdf

3) From wjhuie via Twitter: @Energy Like the new post Re: Weatherization but beyond the DIY nature of the website how do I find an authorized auditor? Maybe a Howto?

A residential energy audit conducted by a professional auditor will clearly identify the more advanced energy efficiency measures that can be taken in your home. While DOE does not endorse any specific certification standard for residential energy auditors, there are a number of certification standards, such as those offered through the Building Performance Institute(BPI) and the Residential Energy Services Network(RESNET).

You may also to see Home Improvements with ENERGY STAR which explains how to do a house retrofit if the audit indicates a poorly performing home.  

4) From imapyro via Twitter: @Energy Current water heater is set for 120, can I go lower and if so how much does it take to make a $ difference?

120 F is a commonly recommended lower setting for home water heaters, but can be adjusted lower subject to the homeowner’s preferences and the limitations of the thermostat. The level of savings to be achieved through this adjustment depends on a number of variable factors including the size and efficiency of your water heater, the type of fuel used to heat the water, your home’s pattern of consumption, and energy prices in your local area.

For more information on water heaters, check out energysavers.gov

5) From Marta M. via Facebook:

I am one of the homeowners that benefitted from WAP assistance and thank you. I had been without air conditioning or heat since last September, one of the coldest years, and now one of the warmest seasons we have ever had. Thank you.

Would there be any funding for alternative energy initiatives such as solar power, for homeowners any time in the near future?

I live in the GulfCoast of Florida. The sunshine here is in abundance. Our area would be the perfect starting point. I'm willing to allow my home to be retrofitted for solar panels. This needs to include info about the 30% federal tax credits for renewable energy systems, in addition to linking to the state incentives database.  More info is available here:www.energysavers.gov/taxcredits

The local agency which provided Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) services to your home may be a great starting point for identifying other initiatives that you may be eligible for. In addition to WAP, Florida is implementing a number of other energy efficiency and renewable energy projects funded through the State Energy Program (SEP) and Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program. A more detailed description of projects in Florida, along with relevant contact information, is available here: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/wip/project_map

In addition to these program, there are a number other incentives available for homeowners interested in installing renewable energy in their homes. A full listing of these incentives is available here: http://www.dsireusa.org

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