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How Efficient Is Your Home?

By: Josh Knight Email
By: Josh Knight Email

People in the Valley learned Tuesday night that their homes are likely leaking energy, to the point that it's like having a window open all the time.

As part of Earth Week in Harrisonburg, a number of people attended Building Science 101, which was a detailed presentation and discussion on home efficiency.

Benjamin Meredith, a home inspector and energy auditor with Building Knowledge, and Aaron Yoder with A M Yoder Inc., a contracting company, gave the presentation Tuesday night.

"A lot of folks believe that you don't want to make a house too tight, but actually that's not true at all," says Meredith. "The building science industry has a mantra now that says 'build it tight, ventilate it right.' You want to make sure that you seal all of the cracks and crevasses of your home and reduce that air infiltration as much as possible."

When combining all the small cracks and openings in a house, Meredith says the space left open on an average home is as big as an open window, but sealing little holes can go a long way.

"You can go out and you can buy a tube of caulk, you can go out and buy a can of foam and it's really not going to cost you that much money and by applying it in certain areas of your home you can really make a big impact," explains Meredith.

The men explained that applying caulk and foam in the spaces created by light fixtures, ceiling fans and even outlets is important.

"Light fixtures or ceiling fans, those are all penetrations in your attic basically in your ceiling," adds Meredith. "You don't really want to be exchanging air with your attic. Those are all areas in which you want to try to reduce that air exchange by sealing it up."

He also adds an insulation job done well can save money for people immediately.

"A well applied insulation job is probably one of the most important things you can do. Most homes that I look at, generally speaking, are going to need some additional insulation in the attic and that is generally a very cost effective way of reducing energy bills," says Meredith. "Increasing insulation, even double what you already have, is really not going to be that much money, and your cost savings, most people can make up that cost in three or four years."

Along with Radon testing and home inspections, Meredith helps people find out where they can improve their homes to make them more energy efficient.

"My job as an energy auditor is to not only point out issues in the home but also educate the homeowner as to how does building science apply to their home. How can building science in particular save them money and comfort immediately," adds Meredith.

There are more events going on this week for Harrisonburg Earth Day 2011, for more information click on the link below.

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