Insulate your ceilings to R-49. Install vapor retarders in non-vented framed ceilings. Since heat travels from the warmer to the colder parts of any system, a properly insulated home will cut back the flow of heat to the outside via your attic. As well, the same insulation will keep your house cooler in the summertime.
Select a 'Formaldehyde-Free' insulation to save on air quality and health, and you can now buy green insulation made from materials like recyclable blue jeans, newspapers, or other cellulose materials, and soy, cotton or sheep wool batting.
The ROI Calculation is based on saving $10 a month over the course of the year.
Spray foam, cellulose, and rigid insulation have a high insulation value than the roll-out batt insulation so weigh your options relative to cost before making a purchase or signing a contract. Also look for recycled materials like denim and soy based foam to help the environment as well as your wallet.
PLUS 1: Attic Access
Insulate and air seal the attic entrance- Whether you have a pull down ladder, push up hatch, knee wall panel or permanent staircase, it has enough surface area and air leaks at exactly the right high point in your house to cause $50 to $250 a year or more in wasted heating and cooling costs. Get a kit that insulates the opening to at least R-30 (if the area above the opening is restricted) or R-38 elsewhere. Knee wall panels require the same level of insulation as the walls (which is only one half the R-value of insulation in the attic). Kits for knee walls and hatches are less than $150 and ladder covers are under $225 and less than $300 for staircases, but the savings come in just a couple of years it not less. See the range of attic entrance products Click Here Enter promo code: GREENandSAVE to save 10%.
PLUS 2: Ventilation
Proper Ridge and Soffit Ventilation– For attics, use the laws of nature to reduce your energy bills rather than using electricity for a fan. With full length and well functioning ridge and soffit vents, Bernoulli's principle helps you increase the air flow out of your attic. Air and fluid speed increases when moving from a region of higher pressure to a region of lower pressure, so you can literally 'flush' your attic for free at a rate of 1,500 cubic feet per minute with every 30 feet of ridge venting, even on a day without much outside wind at all. This approach is far more effective than gable end fans or vents. Many homes have some form of this 'passive' Ridge/Soffit system already built in, but the cost to fix or optimize it is entirely subject to the condition of the home.
PLUS 3: Reflective Insulation (Radiant Barrier)
Inspired by NASA technology, Reflective Insulation (Radiant Barrier) is an advanced method of economically making your home more energy-efficient. Unlike conventional attic insulation, which absorbs heat, Reflective Insulation reflects the sun's rays (heat) in Summer and acts as a thermal barrier by blocking heat from escaping in the winter, keeping your living space more comfortable and lowering your monthly utility bills! You can put Reflective Insulation on the floor of your attic, or you can put the foil material on the underside of the rafters. As hot air rises through attics, you can use the space between the rafters and the underside of the roof to guide the air up and out of your house in the summer. This rafter tactic involves stapling roll out foil material across the rafters to trap the air in a 'chase' and guide it up to the ridge vent which is required for this installation. The foil membrane also reflects the heat away from the interior of the attic and typically has a small insulation R Value to further help reduce the heat gain or the loss in winter. Make sure to leave a few inches of air space at the floor level and at the ridge to increase the ventilation factor and take advantage of the Bernoulli principle. Work with a professional to determine if your attic is best suited for installation at the floor level or along the rafters, and not all reflective insulation is created equal! Make sure to check on the consistency of the perforations to allow moisture through and prevent condensation that can lead to mold and harm your house. See the Video: 'The Future of Energy Savings Video' Comfort Guard Contact an expert Reflective Insulation Installer: Comfort Guard Installers
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provides you with a 30% Tax Credit for Insulated Attics and Ceilings that are put into service by the end of 2010. This tax credit item is only for existing homes, not new construction, that is your primary residence and it includes ONLY the cost of materials and NOT installation.
3 KEY POINTS
- The tax credit cap is $1,500 on collective home improvement elements other than Geo-Thermal 'Ground Source' Heat Pumps, Solar Hot Water Heating, Solar Photovoltaic, and Fuel Cell systems - which each have no cap and are eligible through 2016.
- The tax credits for exterior 'weatherization' improvements like windows, doors and insulation do not include the cost of installation!
- If you reach the $1,500 cap in 2009, you are not eligible for additional tax credits in 2010.
Choose Insulation for Attics and Ceilings that meet these criteria to get the Tax Credit; and check products carefully, because in many cases an ENERGY STAR certification does not necessarily meet the tax credit requirements below:
- Must meet 2009 IECC & Amendments
- For insulation to qualify, its primary purpose must be to insulate (Example: vapor retarders are covered, insulated siding does not qualify).
- Must be expected to last 5 years OR have a 2-year warranty.
- Please note that qualified insulated attic hatch and stair covers will count for the tax credit and they often have a very high return on investment.
- To qualify for the Federal tax credit, homeowners must only meet the level of insulation required for the area they are insulating. For example, a homeowner can choose only to insulate their attic to the levels required in the 2009 IECC and still be eligible for the tax credit. For most homeowners, this will mean adding an additional R-19 to R-30 insulation to their attic. If a homeowner insulates part of their home to a level below the 2009 IECC, this would not qualify.
- Required insulation levels will vary by region and will include insulation that is already installed in your home. For an idea of required Insulation levels, check out this map by the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association.
If you are going to 'finish' your attic, ensure effective and long lasting insulation by making sure to allow air flow from the roof soffits to rise up through vent panels to the ridge vents. The vent panels are applied before the insulation goes in with the vapor barrier of the insulation on the ‘warm’ side of the house. Even if you are not converting your attic, make sure that you have the soffit vents come up above the height of the insulation to ensure proper ventilation.