Heating and cooling costs account for between 50% and 70% of all energy costs in the average home, so maximizing the value of the energy you use is incredibly important. That means properly insulating your home.
Adding insulation to a home can lower heating bills, but there are other benefits as well. When a home is well insulated, the temperature doesn’t fluctuate as rapidly as in a poorly insulated one, and it’s easier to maintain a comfortable temperature. Increased temperature stability means reduced wear and tear on an HVAC system, which helps prolong its life, and lowers operating costs . Better insulation keeps homes cooler in summer and warmer in the winter.
There are three types of homes: a leaky house, a modern house, and a passive house. Leaky houses have solid walls, poor loft insulation, an uninsulated floor, single glazed windows and lots of draughts. Because of this it needs 300 kilowatt-hours of heating for each square meter of space per year (kWh/m2a) just to stay warm.
The modern house has insulation in the walls and loft, an insulated floor, double glaze windows and draught excluders. A modern house has better insulation and needs half the heating of the leaky house, 150 kWh/m2a, to maintain a similar internal temperature.
The passive house is the most sophisticated of all. All materials used have excellent insulation, including triple glazed windows that face the equator to maximize solar gains. The house is airtight and uses a ventilation system to keep the air fresh. It needs just 15 kWh/m2a of heating, some of which comes from heat recovery in the ventilation system.
What does all this mean? The heating bill of a leaky home might be $1,500 a year, a modern house $750, and $100 for the passive house. Quite a difference.