Stop paying to fill a leaky bucket!

Conservation

"Consumers don't want to buy electricity or fuel.
They want warm showers and cold beer !"

Amory and L. Hunter Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute

If you are upgrading your home or business, plan to make your house less leaky FIRST with a professional energy audit so that you can save energy and money by buying (and fueling!) a smaller solar system, furnace, water heater or heat pump). Treat your house as a whole system where each component affects the other areas for comfort health and savings.

Conservation is a kind of "Nega-Watt" that puts health, comfort and wealth BACK into YOUR life with the watt never spent for the same comfort.

Air leaks and infiltration (convection) can account for over a third of your heating and cooling losses and unhealthy air. Window glass (conduction) only accounts for one fifth.



Conservation does NOT mean pain.

No Sweater Necessary To ConserveConservation by sweater and frozen toes is not necessary.

Those who have not yet insulated and air sealed their home may find bundling up with three dogs at night an effective strategy to save money. 

However, you are wiser than that and are planning to or already have sealed air leaks
in and insulated your attic and crawl space/basement.

The most cost-effective way to reduce the bootprint of our energy usage on your wallet and our planet is to never use that energy in the first place!


Conservation DOES mean more efficiency and pleasure/ $

Sealing your basement/crawl space and attic can also reduce or eliminate:
  • outside noises,
  • outside dust,
  • pollen
  • mice,
  • snakes,
  • crickets
  • spiders
  • roaches (caulk those baseboards!)
  • allergies and illness from the moisture that leads to mold and mildew.
Remember that a common myth is that "houses must breathe".
Houses must stay DRY
. You do the breathing.
Commonwealth Solar provides the service of sealing your basement/crawl space after a proper audit.

Conservation DOES mean more life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

An insulated crawl space will maintain your internal temperature longer and prevent pipe freezing during power outages becauses of natural geothermal heat from the core of the earth.

Proper sealing of your basement and crawl space after a thorough energy audit can also reduce or eliminate the infiltration of radon.
Radon is a radioactive gas produced by the granite typically under your house that is thought by many studies to be the leading cause of lung cancer after smoke inhalation.


End Cold Toes and sweaty arm pits

Angry Bears Have Cold Feet

Tired of paying hundreds of dollars to "heat" or "cool" your house and then STILL be uncomfortable?

Its all about managing the energy you already have whether that's your furnace, heat pump, the geothermal ground energy or the sun's heat landing on your house and coming in the windows!

The most cost-effective order of action to greater comfort and health, less critters, less noise and less cancer-causing radon gas is ...


  1. Before rushing off in the wrong direction, get an energy audit.
    Get the road map to the most cost effective path to health, wealth and comfort.
         Commonwealth Solar provides energy audits.
  2. First, airseal and insulate your attic.
  3. Then Second, airseal and Insulate your crawlspace/basement.
  4. Third add weatherstripping
    1. interior storm windows,  (especially if you have high winds!)
    2. cellular shades (both winter and summer) and
    3. exterior Shade Cloth shading (summer).
  5. Only FINALLY THEN pay many times more to replace windows.



As a full service renewable and efficiencies energy contractor Commonwealth Solar performs:
  • Professional Energy Audits  (link)
  • Airsealing and
  • Blown cellulose Insulation for attics, basements/crawl spaces, walls, (link)
  • Installation of appropriate weatherstripping
  • Construction and installation of custom storm windows
  • Installation of custom airsealing Cellular Shades (link)
  • Installation of custom Shade Cloth (link)

More On why windows
are not the first most
cost effective place
to invest your conservation money
.



Why Energy Audits Come FIRST


Air comes in strongest at the bottom and exits the strongest at the top of a house - not so much in the middle where the windows are

Your Money Up A Proverbial (actual) "SmokeStack" 

Due to something called the "Stack Effect", an air leak in your attic or basement will literally turn your house into a kind of "smokestack" where the money you paid to heat (or cool) the house literally goes right out the roof.

In a smokestack, the heat causes the air to come in the most at the bottom and exit the most at the top, not in the middle where the windows are. The windows are only more noticeable especially with high winds.

You can feel the outside replacement air (along with moisture, insects, dust and pollen) coming in at the baseboards, lower electrical outlets, under the doors and lower window sashes and of course through the floor if you have a crawlspace or basement.

More On "Stack Effect"

Catch The Energy Thieves

Pumping energy into a leaky house is like stimulating a bank to make loans

You can find the leaks several ways:

  1. Feel. You can wet your hand and feel where the air comes IN at the lower part of the floor or house. You could also grab a bit of cobwebs from an abandoned spider web and hold it still near a suspected leak and see if it moves.

    A common leak point is the access hatch or door to the attic, edges of vents in ceilings and inside the walls where pipes and wires penetrate the top of the wall into the attic (check around light switches, outlets etc.).

    When checking for ceiling leaks, use the smoke stick since the air leaving will not be felt on your hand. This is a more difficult area to detect leaks. A professional energy auditor uses a blower door to create a calibrated vacuum in the house and so can feel the air leak coming in the ceiling during the audit

  2. Spiders. Spiders like to eat flying insects which means they put their webs where the air flows by. So a leaky ceiling can often be identified by a plethora of spider webs, especially in corners! You can check this by taking something that makes a smoke, such as incense (though there are less smelly sources) and watch if the smoke bunches up at the ceiling or disappears into a crack. These cracks can be hairline (especially in 100+ year old plaster) and not noticed until you are within inches of them.

  3. Crickets. Crickets need a lot of water and that tells you that there is a leak and/or a lot of moisture is coming into your house through the exposed ground under the house. This can exacerbate mold and mildew and the health effects from that.



    And finally the BEST way:

  4. GET A PROFFESSIONAL ENERGY AUDIT
  5. .

A professional energy audit  treats your entire house as a whole system of energy management and applies knowledge to use specialized tools such as an "Blower Door" to test the actual AMOUNT of air loss in a building's shell and ductwork. Energy Auditors also know where your energy thieves often hide from immediate view!

Proof Of Performance ...
If the same team performs the energy sealing as did the energy audit you can have another audit after the work is done to measure the effectiveness of the effort.

A professional energy audit is a bit like hiring a detective. But instead of finding people who have robbed you of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by taking your wallet or life ... the Energy Audit detective seeks to find those air leaks often hidden behind walls and outlets, that take your life's savings, freedom to go on vacation or go back to college, and your pursuit of warm toes and ears.

Be careful of "free" energy audits as the cost is paid by someone who must sell something to sustain the service!

What are they selling to pay for that "free" energy detective?


So once the energy detective has found your health, comfort and money robbers, the same staff can then seal the leaks and apply insulation that WORKS.




As a full service renewable and efficiencies energy contractor Commonwealth Solar provides:
  • Professional Energy Audits  (link)
  • Airsealing and
  • Blown cellulose Insulation for attics, basements/crawl spaces, walls, (link)
  • Install appropriate weatherstripping
  • Make and install custom storm windows
  • Install custom airsealing Cellular Shades (link)
  • Install custom Shade Cloth (link)
Our goal as energy advisor is to develop a roadmap to the most cost-effective ways to meet your goals and generally to be comfortable and healthy as you save energy and regain your freedom from high energy prices and insecurity.







If you have any further questions, please email and ask so that we know what we need to add to this appendix !

please type manually the email address below into your email system.







Note: Last Update 06/19/2009

by webmaster Christopher Maxwell







CommonWealth Solar, LLC

12433 Autumn Sun Lane • Ashland VA, 23005 • (804) 798 5371