In a commercial or typical home, maximum energy saving and efficiency has been established to be through insulation. According to research, laid down facts and statistics, it’s also the most cost effective way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions
A typical home is assumed to have the following characteristics;
- Batt insulation in walls and blown insulation on attics.
- 15% window to floor ratio
- 25% duct leakage to the outside
- Approximately three bedrooms
- Floor area of around 1500 square feet
To calculate the estimated energy saved by insulation, a typical home is taken into consideration plus the area construction style and the type of fuel i.e. natural gas or electricity among others.
The reason why it is considered important to know the approximate amount of energy saved by insulation is to make contractors or home owners;
- Obtain best insulation materials at low costs and use them in improving the R-value.I.e. from R-0 to R-11 in floor space and rim jolts and to up to R-38 of attic depending on the location and geography.
- Seal all air leaks and draughts. With major focus on the attic space, window and door spaces
- Compare available insulation material and put into use the most convenient in terms of saving energy. Also use recommended building materials e.g. storm windows (if living next to water body) instead of clear glass pane windows in air leaks reduction efforts
- Employ use of other energy conservation techniques i.e. using improved heating equipment as an additional effort of energy conservation.
When doing insulation, slag wool, rock wool or fiber glass are materials greatly recommended due to their energy conservation and efficiency features. This is attributed to the fact that they do not consume energy (unless during their production) to save energy. Other insulation materials that work by reduced amount of energy consumed do not offer instantaneous energy conservation on installation unlike slag wool, fiber glass and rock wool materials.
Also, they (slag wool, rock wool or fiber glass) last for a very long time and unless damaged which doesn’t occur often, they don’t require further maintenance. Consequently, they are reusable as can be removed and restored back
Consider the following tabular representation of approximate amount of energy (in percentages) that can be saved by insulating using Fiber glass, rock wool or slag wool materials:
According to research and statistics, up to 23% of energy can be saved via heating and cooling, this translates to approximately 21% of saved utility bill. Consequently, if insulation of the floors, walls and attic space is taken into consideration, up to 15% of energy will be saved translating to approximately 12% of saved utility bill.
More than half of consumed energy in homes is attributed to heating and cooling. Actually 51 % of family utility bills are for comfortable home temperatures. The equipment that provides cooling and heating emit roughly more than 550 million tonnes of carbon dioxide gas, a gas not environmental friendly and around 15% of nitrogen oxide which is a very active component in the formation of acidic rain.
Taking carbon dioxide gas, 790 million tonnes is emitted each year from non-insulated homes this equals over 155 coal fire power plants.In terms of electricity consumption, it averages 90 million homes for an approximate duration of 1 year.
In the oil and energy sector, 790 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equals an output of 1.755 billion oil barrels an energy equivalent of 6.5 barrels of oil per individual in American population.
The following are additional facts in relation to insulation, energy saving and conservation;
Taking into consideration the British Thermal Unit (BTU) which equals 1055 joules of energy, each year, twelve BTUs (12*1055 joules of energy) are saved in insulation for each BTU used in the production of the insulation material.
The recommended insulation material according to statistics, saves the consumer around 15 quadrillion British Thermal Units translating to approximately 45% of energy which would have otherwise been consumed had there been no insulation. Taking individual statistics, this translates to;
- Approximately eight oil barrels per person per year (forty million BTUs) and
- Approximately thirty oil barrels saved by each family of four in a year
Even by combining all other energy saving forms e.g. use of fluorescent lights (CFLs), energy star windows and other appliances, insulation still saves 650 times more.
Lastly, for each pound of carbon dioxide gas emitted in the production of the insulation material, up to 350 pounds is saved when the insulation material is used.
Consider insulating with the recommended material to save more energy. Additionally, Practice other energy saving options e.g. thermostat management, weatherization, equipment maintenance and regular upgrades for reduced energy bills and emissions.