Your Green Corner: DIY Winter Weatherization

bl_andrew_weatherization Andrew Spaulding from our New Orleans office presented easy, do-it-yourself tips for weatherization during a Build It Back Workshop last week. On the topic of how people can keep their homes warm and dry throughout the winter -- and cut their energy bills -- he talked about weatherstripping, duct sealing, attic and floor insulation, basic water efficiency measures, and more. The discussion was driven by questions from the audience, and Andrew troubleshooted issues people raised about their homes.

Tilman Hardy, from CORE USA, was also on hand to address the environmental reasons for taking on weatherization projects and provided information on the various green building, contractor, and home energy rater certifications that are available. He walked attendants through how to find the right contractor for any larger-scale weatherization projects that they want to undertake on their homes, as well as how to find the various incentives and rebates available.

Below, a few of Andrew's tips.

Winter Energy-Saving Tips

Seal Air Leaks: More than 30% of the cooled and heated air escapes a house through leaky windows, doors, fireplaces, recessed lights, drain lines, vents, and electrical outlets. Battle  this energy loss with caulk, weatherstripping, and foam. It will make your home more comfortable, while lowering your utility bills and reducing pest and moisture problems. Expert tip: Invest in high-quality caulk; cheap painters caulk will quickly dry out and crack.

Seal the Leaks in Your Ductwork: Leaky ductwork may account for as much as 30% to 50% of cooled and heated indoor air loss. Seal all joints and connections with mastic, a putty-like material available at most hardware stores. Expert tip: Never use duct tape! It will quickly dry out. Instead, use UL-181 foil tape.

Use Compact Fluorescent Lights Indoors and Outdoors: The easiest way to cut your energy costs is to swap regular, incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescent ones (CFLs). Compared to regular bulbs, CFLs use ¼ of the energy and last 10 times longer. You can save $25 to $45 for each bulb over its life span. Expert tip: For a warmer quality of light, choose CFLs with a lower Kelvin rating (2,700-3,000K).