There are many ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency…but first it helps to understand HOW a home works.
Our homes provide shelter from the sun, rain, wind & snow. They keep us warm and comfortable. The floor, walls, roof, windows and doors all help to do this. This ‘building envelope’ separates our warm and cozy indoors from the variable weather outside. To maintain our comfortable indoors, this envelope MUST control the flow of heat. Or we suffer throughout the changing seasons.
Heat moves in any direction – up, down or sideways – but always from a warm spot to a cold. A heated room over an unheated garage = a cold season ‘troublespot’. It will lose an enormous amount of heat through the floor. Since heat ALWAYS moves to the cold.
It’s the job of the building envelope…to keep the heat in + cold out in Winter to keep the cold in + heat out in Summer.
A healthy house today is:
- properly ventilated (where required)
A well-insulated house… is a bit like dressing for the weather. A wool sweater will keep you warm IF the wind is not blowing AND it’s not raining. On a windy, rainy day, wearing a nylon shell over your wool sweater helps keep you reasonably dry and warm. A house is similar.
On the outside, underneath the brick or siding, there is an air barrier that does the same thing as the nylon — it keeps the wind from blowing through. Then there is the insulation (like your sweater) …and then a vapour barrier, which helps keep moisture away from the house structure where it can do damage.