If your home was damaged by a storm or flood, the tremendous work, expense and stress can mean a daunting and difficult ordeal ahead. But it's possible to create a silver lining. If you restore for more than before, you can return to a better home -- a more energy-efficient, comfortable, resilient, and healthy home to enjoy with lower utility bills. This is one of a series of articles about ways to do that.
Take control of your future by making your home more comfortable, with lower utility bills, through energy-saving home improvements. It’s a great investment to upgrade when restoring your damaged home, even if your insurance won’t cover the incremental cost.
- Restore gutted walls, ceilings and floors with higher R-value insulation installed with no gaps, voids or compression. If rebuilding or replacing siding, consider adding exterior continuous insulation panels for substantially better whole wall performance.
- Air seal the entire enclosure of your living space, especially at the ceiling and floor, to stop air leaks. Air leaks can cause discomfort, higher energy costs, moisture problems, and draw in pollutants from attics or crawl space.
- If you have central air conditioning and/or heat, get your ductwork leak tested and sealed as airtight as possible. Or, locate all the ductwork and equipment within the conditioned space. A properly executed unvented (sealed) attic with spray foam insulation at the roof line is one way to do that, and it offers the fringe benefits of no risk of wind driven rain during a storm and tends to result in less home air leakage.
- Replace any damaged or worn out cooling and heating systems, windows, doors, appliances, electronics, pool pumps and lighting with Energy Star labeled models. Compare the yellow Energy Guide labels on appliances before buying.
- Include sun control strategies to cut summer heat gain, such as shade landscaping, new windows with an SHGC rating of 0.25 or lower, solar film or screens, awnings, and light exterior colors.
- Consider installing a radiant barrier under the rafters of a vented attic with the shiny side down, or replace damaged roof decking with foil-faced decking.
See Improve Your Home and Prosper for more energy-saving home improvement information and order Building Your High Performance Home: Gulf Region Homeowners Guide if you are rebuilding, both tailored to our climate. Also see www.energystar.gov and basc.pnnl.gov for more detailed guidance to create an energy-efficient home without causing moisture or health problems.