In the interest of helping our readers reduce energy and water waste, Sustainable Utah will publish weekly conservation tips contributed by the Student Energy Ambassadors, a program funded by Rocky Mountain Power and Questar Gas.
By the Student Energy Ambassadors
Many new homes have state-of-the-art insulation that allows very little thermal leakage in and out of the house. This includes features like double-pane vinyl windows, insulated walls and attics, weatherstripping, and insulated piping. But not everyone can afford a brand-new home, and we have to make do with what we have. Here are a few tips you can try to keep your house nice and sealed: first, use either latex or silicone caulk to seal any cracks you find. It’s an investment at first, ranging in price from about $25 on the cheap end to $120 for professional-grade sealant, but the energy savings can be huge. Most homes have enough air leaking through cracks to equal the air leaving through a wide open window for an entire winter. Second, remember to put weatherstripping on your doors to prevent drafts. Third, install hot water pipe insulation in your basement until it goes into the wall, as well as installing electrical outlet and switch plate insulation. Finally, if you plant trees and shrubs on the south and west sides of your residence, it acts as natural insulation by providing shade and reducing the thermal gain in a building.