My First of Many Home Efficiency Posts

OK, so it’s not a particularly creative title, but it’s true enough. I’m on the receiving end of a crash course in improving home energy efficiency. There’s a bit of a learning curve, and I’ll blog my way through it. Here’s a nice summary of the process I’m undergoing.

It started simply enough, with my brother performing a home energy efficiency audit. The first step was a blower door test. I’d explain that process, but one of my brother’s instructors found that someone else already did a great job of explaining the process! Click here to read her post. My house looked a lot like that, I just didn’t take the photos to prove it.

The results for my house, of course, were different. My house is less than five years old. It turns out that our house is rated well into the extremely tight range! That sounds great – but that rating comes with its own issues. Mechanical ventilation is vital for an extremely tight house. We don’t have that. Yet. I’m still wrapping my head around why we really need mechanical ventilation.

The good news (to us, maybe not to my brother) is that we open the windows frequently throughout the warmer months. In Colorado, it’s rarely hot enough to warrant running the air conditioning on summer nights, unless allergens are too prominent. In the winter, however, we don’t open our windows much. We have indoor-only cats, and mostly indoor dogs. I’ve been spending a lot of time at home working on various decorating and improvement projects. Fresh air is important for our health.

Stay tuned for more posts on what all this means and what steps we actually have to take to correct our problems. In the meantime, if you’re interested in how any of this might help you, check out this blog series.

At the end of this process, our goal is to have our home rated as an Energy Star house. Unfamiliar with the program? I’m slowly learning. This site helps.

Other tests were performed as well, but I’m still trying to wrap my head around the various tests and our results. More to come!

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One response to this post.

  1. No one is opposed to window ventilation, when it makes sense. In Colorado, in the summer time, it’s okay. There’s only maybe 2 weeks, before and after “summer”, where it’s remotely okay in Atlanta, GA.

    The problem is humidity. When the AC is turned off and windows opened in a humid climate, all the furnishings absorb the moisture while the windows are open. When the AC is turned on again, all that moisture has to be removed–again!!! This is why it’s energy inefficient to open windows.

    Grudgingly, the building code requires switches homeowners can use to turn on or off mechanical ventilation. First, most homeowners aren’t really sure why it’s needed, so they shut it off to save energy dollars. In my case, I’d probably forget to turn it back on after closing the windows.

    I wish homes were as fresh to live in as the outdoors. Unfortunately, our houses could easily be the most air polluted place we live in–second only to offices.

    Use the windows in Colorado with abandon! Just remember to turn the ventilation system back on when they’re closed. If you’re forgetful, like me, just don’t turn it off!

    Reply

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