YORK, Maine – This winter, Mainers will see the rate they pay for home electricity increase, in some cases by a considerable amount, which is one reason why York EcoHomes member Fred Weston is sharing tips on how to weatherize your home for optimal insolation.
The incentive to weatherize your home has multiple levels, Weston said, and would benefit consumers’ wallets and the environment. Weston, who owns Stillwater Sustainable Homes, said there are several ways to protect your home from the elements that will be helpful this winter and in the future.
It’s very important to weatherize a home in towns like York, Weston said, because buildings are often older, less energy-efficient and more drafty. In winter, heat flows from heated living spaces to adjacent unheated attics, garages, basements, interior ceilings, walls, floors and outside, Weston said.
The electricity sector produces 25% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States and is the second largest source of emissions, the Environmental Protection Agency found in 2019.
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According to the York Climate Action Plan climate vulnerability and greenhouse gas emissions report, buildings make up 74% of greenhouse gas emissions in the town. Residential buildings make up 75% of greenhouse gas emissions from buildings altogether.
Weston is sharing five tips on how to keep your home well insulated this winter to save money and help the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
1. Join community solar power
Weston said the number one thing one can do to save money in the near and long term is to sign up for community solar power. It requires zero investment and you’ll save 10% a month on your electricity bill each month, Westonsaid. You can sign up through Central Maine Power.
2. Have your home audited
Hire an energy equity auditor to conduct an audit in your home. This will locate any areas in the home that are not well-insulated through infrared technology and will show you where your home needs improvement. Weston, who is trained to do an audit himself, said the auditor will depressurize your house to suck cold air in through wherever it’s not well insulated or air sealed. Then they walk around with an infrared gun to locate the problem. An audit will cost anywhere from $300 to $500 and is worth it, Weston said.
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3. Shore up your attic insulation
You or an insulation company can blow cellulose, which mostly consists of recycled paper, on an attic floor, enclosed existing walls or open new walls and in other hard to reach places.
It’s ideal to have cellulose in all walls, but if a wall is enclosed it can be an invasive and expensive approach to insulate a home.
4. Sprayed foam
Weston recommends foam insulation materials, which can be sprayed, foamed-in-place, injected, or poured. This method is particularly good for adding insulation to existing finished areas, irregularly shaped areas, and around obstructions.
Westonrecommends spraying your basement walls from ceiling to floor.
Foam can be blown into walls, on attic surfaces, or under floors to insulate. You can use small pressurized cans of foam insulation in holes and cracks.
5. Seal your windows
Two simple and effective air-sealing methods are caulking and weather-stripping around the edges of doors and windows, Westonsaid.
You can also seal air leaks near plumbing, ducting and electrical wiring through walls.
Weston recommends visiting Efficiency Maine’s website to find numerous incentives for people residing in Maine to insulate.