Tag Archives: Super Insulation

Old Man Winter Batters the USA- Tips for Saving Money On Energy Bills

Reduce your Energy Imprint, Carbon Foot Print, UN-Needed and Wasteful Energy Consumption by Winterizing your Home and Business.

The Money You Spend on Weatherization will come back to you in real time savings on your Heating Bills

Step 1: Check for Wind and Drafts in your Buildings Structure:

a) check for air drafts entering your Buildings Interior by: Looking for air gaps by sight, feel or you can use a candle, Smudge Sticks, Incense Sticks (be care full of any open flame in your home/business; especially when testing by windows with Curtains).
b) Places to check: Windows, Doors, Visually Inspect Exterior of your Structure for signs of disrepair, Base Boards and Electrical Outlets around the exterior walls of your home, Electrical Outlets

Step 2: Stop the Cold Air from entering your Structure: Seal all Cracks, Air Gaps, Add Vapor Barriers and or Insulation Where Needed

a) Seal Cracks around Window Frames with Caulking/Expandable Foam.
+Caulking / Expandable Foam can be purchased at Home Improvement Stores, Hardware Stores, Lumber Yards;
+Cost $3-$5 / Tube or Can
+Foam Strips of Self Adhesive Strips can be added to the Window Frames
Costs: $5-$25 / Door

b) Doors:
+Self Adhesive Strips can be added to the Door Stops around the Door Frame
+Costs: $5-$25 / Door
Bottom of the Door is the Threshold and will create the largest air Gap, Stop Air Infiltration by Installing a New Threshold
+Costs: $10-$35 / Door
+ Seal Door Trim with Caulking (around Edges) Expandable Foam Insulation (behind the trim)
Costs: Cost $3-$5 / Tube or Can

c) Base Boards
+ Seal with Caulking or Remove and add Insulation in the Gap between wall material and Flooring
Costs: Caulking $3-$5 / Tube; Insulation $20-$45 / Roll

d) Exterior Electrical Outlets
+ Seal with Caulking or add Insulation in the Gap between wall material and Electric Box Remove Electric Box and Seal with Vapor Barrier / Insulation, then Re-Install Electrical Box and Components $20-$45 each by Qualified Handy Man or Electrician)
Costs: Caulking $3-$5 / Tube; Insulation $20-$45 / Roll

Step 3 Attic Insulation-Suggested Insulation Levels [R-Value] For the St Louis Region (suggestions by the US Dept of Energy)

  1. Attic Insulation Level Should be a Minimum Level R-49

  2. Wall Insulation Level Minimum Level R-13

  3. Flooring Insulation Minimum Level R-30

  4. Basement Interior Wall Minimum Level R-11

Additional Information on Insulation can be found:Insulating Roofs, Walls, and Floors , Attic Insulation and Attic Energy Solutions , Roof and Attic Ventilation , Fall Home Check Up Guide with Photos

NOTE: For Every $1-Dollar Spent on Weatherization will Return a $2 Savings on your Energy Bills every year!!!

Scotty-Scotts Contracting Guarantees that with proper insulation levels and stopping the Cold Air Drafts in your Building you will save money on your Heating Bills.

DOE_Weatherization_Recovery_Act_Saves $1,200,000,000

  • weatherized more than 300,000 homes
  • reduce home energy bills
  • reduces energy consumption- average 35 percent
  • $400 saved bills 1st YR
  • 300,000 homes x $400 Saved = $1,200,000,000


email Scotts Contracting to schedule a Home Weatherization Inspection.   Scotty, will Analyze your Buildings Components and Supply a Proposal that will meet or exceed suggested Green Building Code– scottscontracting@gmail.com

  1. Computer Generated Reports
  2. Green Proposal will supply a ROI
  3. Cost Saving Analysis

Weatherization Doesn’t Cost it Saves

Secretary Chu Announces Major New Recovery Act Milestone: 300,000 Homes Weatherized

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced that states and territories across the country have now weatherized more than 300,000 low-income homes under the Recovery Act, a major milestone in the Department’s efforts to reduce home energy bills for families. This means that states are now more than 50 percent of the way toward meeting President Obama’s goal of weatherizing approximately 600,000 homes under the Recovery Act. The weatherization program is helping families save money on their energy bills by improving home energy efficiency with upgrades like insulation, air-sealing, and more efficient heating and cooling systems. The program has also trained a new generation of clean energy workers and is employing more than 15,000 workers nationwide.

“Today marks a major milestone for the weatherization program and shows once again that we are on pace to meet the goals of the Recovery Act. This program has already benefitted 300,000 low-income families and put thousands of people to work,” said Secretary Chu. “Through the weatherization program, we are laying the groundwork for a broader efficiency industry in the U.S. that will help grow our economy while saving money for American families.”

Through November, the network of state offices, local agencies, and weatherization providers has completed 300,000 homes. Of the total, more than 100,000 have been completed in just the last four months, showing the dramatically accelerated pace of weatherization under the program. A state-by-state breakdown of the homes weatherized through November is available at http://www.energy.gov/recovery/energyefficiency.htm.

Weatherization assistance reduces energy consumption for low-income families on average 35 percent, saving families on average more than $400 on their heating and cool bills in the first year alone. Nationwide, the weatherization of 300,000 homes is estimated to save $161 million in energy costs in just the first year.

DOE has worked closely with state and local governments to ensure the program is well-managed, responsive, and flexible. Nearly all of the states and territories involved in the program have met the milestone of weatherizing more than 30 percent of their targeted number of homes and many have completed more than half of their goals to date.



Homes Weatherized by State

The Department of Energy is collecting monthly data from the states on the number of homes weatherized under the Recovery Act. The below spreadsheets shows figures for homes weatherized (1) in April 2010, and (2) in the first quarter of 2010 (January-March). In March, the weatherization network nationally reached their target run-rate and weatherized more than 25,000 homes across the country. Since the Recovery Act began, states have used their Recovery Act funding and annual program funds to weatherize more than 193,000 homes.

This is an end-of-the-year report on the number of homes weatherized by state as part of the Weatherization Assistance Program during calendar year 2009. This data was reported by states and may be updated as states finalize figures for homes weatherized through December 31st. By the end of 2009, states weatherized more than 125,000 homes with Recovery Act and non-Recovery Act annual federal funding. Since the Recovery Act funding allowed states to accelerate their existing programs with Fiscal Year 2009 funding, the combined total is the best indicator of progress in the program. Nevertheless, the pace of Recovery Act-funded weatherization tripled in the last three months of the year.


email Scotts Contracting to schedule a Home Weatherization Inspection.   Scotty, will Analyze your Buildings Components and Supply a Proposal that will meet or exceed suggested Green Building Code– scottscontracting@gmail.com

  1. Computer Generated Reports
  2. Green Proposal will supply a ROI
  3. Cost Saving Analysis

Weatherization Doesn’t Cost it Saves


Which Spray Foam Insulation is Best-Open Cell or Closed Cell

Scotty writes: In response to prior questions:

Q:Which Spray Foam Insulation is Best, Open Cell or Closed Cell?

Open-Cell Vs. Closed-Cell

The real distinction between types of foam insulation focuses on whether they are open- or closed-cell. In general, both are made from the same materials and work in the same way, trapping air or gas in a plastic matrix. The differences start with the “blowing agents” used to create bubbles and end with both varied performance and cost.

Open-cell foam costs slightly less for the same thickness, but offers lower per-inch R-values than closed-cell products. In some instances, this is a disadvantage, but where thickness is less relevant, or where higher R-values are not needed, then open-cell can provide the better choice. It also has some green advantages over closed-cell: The blowing agent used to install open-cell insulation is water, which reacts with air to become CO2—while closed-cell products use HFCs.

Because CO2 expands quickly, the bubbles tend to burst before the plastic sets, and hence the “open cells,” which produce a spongy, lightweight foam. The industry describes the foam as “half-pound” material, which simply means the foam has a mass that weighs 0.5 pounds per cubic foot. This density yields an R-value of approximately 3.6 per inch, equivalent to most traditional insulations. Because of the open cell structure, open-cell foam allows some vapor to pass through, making it a good choice in hot, humid climates, and under roof sheathing, such as in conditioned attics, where water vapor caught between insulation and sheathing could promote wood rot.

In short, open-cell foam, tested in accordance with ASTM E 283, provides an air barrier with vapor breathability. Water-blown solutions have less environmental impact than the current HFCs used for most closed-cell spray-foam insulation. And open-cell has about twice the noise reduction coefficient in normal frequency ranges as closed-cell foam. Because the blowing agent in open-cell insulation dissipates as it sets, instead of slowly over time, there is no degeneration of the R-value—a minor point given aged closed-cell R-values still trump open-cell R-values by a magnitude of nearly 100%.

Unlike open-cell foam, closed-cell foam uses chemical blowing agents that come in liquid form and become gasses as they are applied. These gasses expand, but not as quickly as CO2, allowing the polyurethane plastic to set before the bubbles burst. This yields dense foam weighing nearly 2 pounds per cubic foot, and without the capillary characteristics of open-cell, it remains impermeable. The blowing agents used perform like the inert gasses between the panes of high-performance windows, adding to the insulating qualities of the foam. Unlike open-cell foam, closed-cell foam rarely requires any trimming, with little or no jobsite waste.

Closed-cell has more obvious advantages over open-cell, and a slightly higher price tag (20% to 30% for the same thickness). It provides both a vapor and air barrier and offers an aged R-value of a whopping 6.5 per inch. Because of its density and glue-like consistency, it remains very strong, providing both compressive and tensile strength to structure comparable to added sheathing, increasing the racking strength of walls by as much as 300%, according to the NAHB Research Center. Because water does not penetrate or degrade the product, FEMA recommends closed-cell foam as a suitable insulation material for flood regions.

The principle disadvantage of closed-cell foam comes with overkill. If you do not require the extra vapor barrier, structural strength, and R-value per inch, then you may be wasting money. As for the added wall strength, while real and substantial, it’s not acknowledged by building codes currently, so you can’t reduce the structural bracing as a tradeoff.


Information found at: http://www.ecohomemagazine.com

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Scott’s Contracting

Energy Efficiency Home Statistics

If you are considering building a ‘New Energy Efficient Home’ in Missouri Check out these Energy statistics- Energy Cost Saving Analysis that I guarantee will please your Bank Account with the Money You will Save on Utility Bills.

A New Home Built using the International Energy Conservation Code- IECC. provides a cost effective payback on Energy Efficiency, with the average pay back time of 3 ½ years (3.5) Not bad for an initial investment of $818.72. The Missouri Pay Back is even faster! BCAP used a baseline for energy efficiency consisting of:

  1. Efficient Lighting and Windows,
  2. a Higher Grade of Insulation and
  3. HVAC Duct Sealing and Testing

The Missouri Statistics are:

  • $875.28 Initial Investment Returns
  • $459.00 per year with a
  • Payback under 2 years (1.91 years)
  • $459 x 20 years = $9,180.00
x 25 years = $11,475.00 
x 30 years = $13,770.00 
  • These Figures are based on: $267,451 for a 2,400-square foot home and a 4.14 percent mortgage interest rate
For the Future St Louis Area New Home Builders I have additional cost Saving Measures that will give you additional areas to save money without sacrificing your Comfort Levels.
Email:scottscontracting@gmail.com to find out how.
  • With Savings like this consider adding a Renewable Energy System designed especially for your Future Property and you could possibly eliminate all the Utility Bills for your Home by Generating your Own Clean Energy!
  • Note: When a Home or Business is operating efficiently- Renewable Energy Systems costs are decreased! Making a RE System much more affordable.


Note: The Statistics used in this post were provided by: 1-http://bcap-ocean.org/incremental-cost-analysis and 2-http://www.altenergymag.com/news/2010/11/18/new-homes-can-be-energy-efficient-and-affordable-reveals-study-by-building-codes-assistance-project/18310

Attic Insulation and Attic Energy Solutions

I’ve put a little information to help assist in explaining ‘Adding Attic Insulation to an Existing Home’. I take a whole house approach to improve a Home’s Energy Reduction Needs. Attics and Attic insulation just being one area.
In the old days we just blew the insulation into the attic. Now, I suggest that any

  • Air Infiltration areas be resolved before adding insulation- Stop the Air (Hot or Cold) From Entering a Home.
  • This includes: proper attic ventilation, ceiling protrusions(Light Boxes / Ceiling Fan), access points, mechanical and electric points, Attic Knee Walls, Obtrusion’s, etc
  • Adding Radiant Barriers for Existing Buildings-in a nutshell this bounces the Exterior Temperature back outside.
  • Attached to the Underneath Side of Existing Rafters
  • Option 1:Double Reflective R-Values range from R-3.7 to R-17
  • Attic Add Insulation to meet Suggested Guidelines
  • When used in conjunction with a Radiant Barrier-Cost of Insulation is reduced and thickness / weight of insulation is reduced. This will help reduce stress by the weight directly over the ceiling material, generally sheet rock.
  • Radiant Barriers also act as Vapor Barrier

When we come over to perform an estimate. We will inspect for the above mentioned problem areas. Discuss the various solutions. Next, I’ll determine the Materials and Labor Needed to Complete and Fix the Areas Quoted in the Project. I’ll then submit a Project Proposal that will discuss project in detail.

Looking forward to meeting you and discussing the ways I can help with Lowering your Energy Bill- “Afford-ably”.
Build Green, Scotty

Attic Insulation -Energy Star Government Suggestion for St Louis Regional Area

-w/ no insulation Add Insulation to achieve=R38 to R60

-If existing 3-4 inches Add Insulation to achieve=R38

-Suggested needed Rvalue of Insulation on Attic Floor=R25 to R30

Referrence Materials:

Scott’s Contracting

Retrofit reduces energy use by 60 percent

Pilot Project Super Insulation for Older Homes at Massachusetts home
You could call it an “Extreme Makeover: Energy-Efficient Edition.”

In Arlington, Mass., Alex Cheimets and Cynthia Page live in a duplex that used to consume about 1,400 gallons of heating oil a year. Now their building will soon be one of the most energy-efficient in its New England neighborhood, thanks to a pilot project that retrofitted the structure with almost $100,000 worth of insulation and other products to increase energy efficiency and decrease utility costs.

The so-called Massachusetts Super Insulation Project seeks to determine the benefits and cost effectiveness of retrofitting old energy-wasting houses with insulation upgrades in key areas. Though the cost for the upgrades in the home were substantial, some of the techniques used—such as proper air-sealing and adequate moisture barriers—could easily be applied to new construction and for not much more money.

Massachusetts officials are keenly interested in the results of the project, which dovetails with the state’s efforts to become more energy-efficient. “Our governor, the state House and Senate, and the executive branch are aware that the nation’s energy strategy is not acceptable, and a big part of it is the existing housing stock,” says Philip Giudice, commissioner of the state’s Department of Energy Resources.

“Nationally, buildings account for 40 percent of all energy consumption and one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions,” says Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles, who chairs Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s Zero Net Energy Buildings Task Force. “This super-insulation project in Arlington promises to be a model for the type of innovation in the building industry that the Patrick administration hopes will soon be widespread across Massachusetts.”

The public/private effort includes the state Department of Energy Resources, the local utility NStar Electric & Gas, and a number of building product sponsors.

Bowles is right, of course. As green building practices spread through the new construction market, America’s existing housing stock remains an energy-use problem. Millions of these old structures lose large amounts of energy through leaky windows, inefficient heating and cooling units, and poorly insulated walls, all of which contribute to higher-than-necessary utility bills. The 3,200-square-foot Cheimets/Page building—divided into one condo for Cheimets and his family and one for Page—was one of these structures.

At one point when home heating oil in the Massachusetts area hit $4.69 a gallon, Cheimets says, the homeowners were paying a combined total of almost $6,500 a year for heating and hot water. “We needed to replace our siding and our roof soon anyway,” Cheimets says. “As a duplex, we could simply do the minimum or we could invest now to save later. Super-insulation was the better financial investment.”

The parties in the pilot wanted to demonstrate that it’s possible to bring an existing building up to the highest standards of energy performance. In addition to reducing energy use by between 65 percent and 70 percent, the group was also interested in exploring super-insulation as part of an overall program of energy efficiency and carbon reduction. Finally, it hoped to use the Arlington, Mass., pilot project to determine cost-effective retrofit recommendations for homeowner renovations; develop experience with and collect performance results for existing structures; and establish criteria for future state programs supporting residential super-insulation projects.

Before the work commenced, the project team consulted with Somerville, Mass.-based Building Science Corp., which performed energy parametric simulations, analysis, and economic payback comparisons of various energy retrofits options.

As a result, the extensive retrofit focused on tightening the building envelope, which included new doors and the replacement of the single pane windows. The team installed double-pane Pella fiberglass windows with low-E glazing, Tyvek stucco wrap, two layers of 2-inch Dow closed-cell foam board, furring strips, and NuCedar cellular PVC siding. They ripped off the old roof and installed two layers of 3-inch foam board on the roof deck, followed by plywood sheathing, and light-colored asphalt shingles. They also sprayed Icynene open-cell foam in the attic roof and in the basement rim joists and ceiling. Finally, the team installed a heat recovery ventilator and an on-demand water heater.

Cheimets says the upgrade have made a big difference in the comfort level of the units and in the performance of the building. “I felt the difference immediately,” he says. “There are fewer drafts and no cold spots; that’s all gone away, and we have seen about a 60 percent reduction in energy use.”

As part of the pilot project, DER and NStar have installed sensors to monitor real-time oil usage as well as temperature and humidity levels inside and outside the house. “We were using about nine gallons a day before, but now we’re using three on average,” Cheimets says.

The reduction in the building’s ongoing energy use has come at a steep one-time price tag. Overall, the retrofit cost more than $90,000, and like most renovation projects, ended up being more expensive than expected in different areas.

For example, the cost for the roof replacement was first estimated at $10,000, but the price tag nearly doubled by an additional $9,000 with the addition of super-insulation. Replacing the siding was projected to run $30,000, but it increased by $41,000 with super-insulation and re-flashing the windows. An additional $6,000 went toward the installation of expanding foam in the basement ceiling; $4,000 paid for heat recovery ventilators.

“If you look at the additional cost of super insulating (compared with just doing the required work in ‘standard’ fashion) doing this work is an additional cost of $50,000, or $25,000 per family” in the two-unit duplex, according to program documents.

While the costs are high, Cheimets says they should be taken in context of retrofitting an 80-year-old house that featured 50 windows and suffered from bad insulation from the start. Doing such upgrades in new construction would be cheaper. “If you’re building a new house, you would be taking certain things into consideration like facing the roof south, using fewer windows, and decreasing the amount of angles in the roof,” he says.

John Dennis Murphey agrees that using such strategies would absolutely make such a remodel cheaper. “That’s what we’re doing now on one house,” says the principal of Chevy Chase, Md.-based Meditch Murphey Architects.

There are also other ways to save money on such a project. Murphey, for example, has eliminated conventional sheathing from his houses all together. Instead, he uses 2 x 6 studs, spray foam insulation, and metal bracing to make the studs rigid. “The studs are energy highways,” he says. He then wraps his houses in 1.5 inches of foam board, which creates a thermal break.

Instead of simply balking at the added costs, though, Murphey says builders and consumers should look at the overall project and the long-term benefits. “Energy prices have come down, but who knows where the price of oil will go,” he continues. “My bet is that they will go up. I’ll take that bet every time.”

Members of the Super Insulation Project would probably agree. It is estimated that the annual savings to the homeowners will be $2,350 to $4,000 per year. “At the current heating oil cost of approximately $2.35 a gallon, it’s a 20-year payback,” program documents say. “But a few short weeks ago the price was closer to $4 a gallon, and the price of oil is likely to rise again in the coming years, dramatically shortening the payback period.”

By:Nigel F. Maynard, Senior Editor, products, at BUILDER magazine.
Contact scotty@stlouisrenewableenergy.com or scottscontracting@gmail.com for your Green Building Needs.  Addition Green Building information can be found at http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.com/