Energy Solutions

Batt insulation

Batt Insulation: Fiberglass, Mineral Wool, and Cotton

Posted on August 19, 2008 by Alex Wilson

Last week’s column addressed cellulose insulationThermal insulation made from recycled newspaper or other wastepaper; often treated with borates for fire and insect protection., which is the greenest and one of the most effective insulation materials available. But it isn’t always practical or affordable to install cellulose. To insulate walls with cellulose, it’s usually necessary to hire an insulation contractor, and if the job is very small—bumping out and reinsulating one wall of your home, for example—the cost may be prohibitive for that small improvement. This is where batt insulationInsulation, usually of fiberglass or mineral wool and often faced with paper, typically installed between studs in walls and between joists in ceiling cavities. Correct installation is crucial to performance. makes sense.

Cellulose Insulation picture

Cellulose Insulation

Posted on August 12, 2008 by Alex Wilson

Insulation is our number-one line of defense against high heating costs, and my favorite type of insulation is cellulose. Along with its effectiveness at slowing heat flow, cellulose insulationThermal insulation made from recycled newspaper or other wastepaper; often treated with borates for fire and insect protection. is a green product — made mostly out of an abundant waste product: old newspaper.

Insulation is doing its job

Insulation Materials – The Basics

Posted on August 5, 2008 by Alex Wilson

There is no component of a home more important in minimizing energy costs than insulation. Insulation is the material used in walls, ceilings, roofs, and foundations that slows the flow of heat.

hybrid car

Driving More Efficiently

Posted on July 29, 2008 by Alex Wilson

Like a lot of people, I‘m often running late. One of our two cars—a five-year-old Honda Civic Hybrid—has a digital readout showing fuel economy. Because I travel so much (ironically hopping on a plane or driving hours to lecture about energy savings or green building), I get lots of opportunity to track my mileage. When I’m running late and have to speed down to the airport—sometimes pushing my luck at 70-75 miles per hour—I find my mileage running about 40-42 mpg. On a more relaxed return drive at 60 or even 55 mph, my fuel economy jumps by 20% or more—to over 50 mpg.

Traffic jam

Driving Less

Posted on July 28, 2008 by Alex Wilson

Rarely a day goes by that I don’t hear people complaining about how much money they’re spending on gasoline. Indeed, filling up costs three times what it did just a couple years ago; it’s understandable that people are upset.

So how can we reduce our costs of getting around? This week, I’ll address the best strategy—driving less. Next week, we’ll look at how to get better mileage from our cars.

Some recommendations:

Air conditioner

Keeping Cool

Posted on July 15, 2008 by Alex Wilson

I’ll admit it. I dread this hot, sticky weather. Give me a cool autumn-like breeze any day, even if it means wearing a sweater in July. But I also hate using a lot of energy, including electricity for air conditioning. So, what are our options for staying comfortable in the summer with little or no use of air conditioning?

Oil barrel

Energy Audits and Weatherization

Posted on July 8, 2008 by Alex Wilson

As I write this, crude oil has hit another all-time record price, above $145 per barrel. Heating oil is over $4.50 per gallon today, with some local pre-buy contracts above $4.70 per gallon—almost double my pre-buy price last winter ($2.60/gallon). It doesn’t take a math degree to figure out that this sort of price increase will hit hard this coming winter.

For most homeowners, the single most important thing you can do to reduce your energy costs is to have an energy audit done and then follow up with as many of the recommended weatherization actions as you can afford.

winter weatherization

Top 10 Actions to Contain Energy Costs

Posted on July 1, 2008 by Alex Wilson

It seems odd to be thinking about next winter’s heating already, but a lot of us are. While the pre-buy contracts for heating oil last winter were for about $2.25 per gallon, it looks like the price this coming winter will be double that, and local companies aren’t even offering pre-buys. So you could be paying even more come January or February. Filling a 275-gallon oil tank today costs over a thousand dollars. It’s scary.

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