A term you probably hear bandied about a lot these days is “carbon footprint.” When you hear this term, it’s probably followed by a discussion on how to reduce it. What this usually means is how much energy you use on a daily basis. Most of the energy consumed is made from burning hydro-carbons such as gas and oil so that’s why the word “carbon” is used.
The negative effects that this has on the environment is pretty well known, thus people continually try to cut down on the energy used. If you want to help in this, start at home. That’s where most of the energy that utilizes electricity and gas and oil is found. So if you’re serious about reducing your personal carbon footprint, this is where to start.
To begin with, you can upgrade your window glazing to decrease heat loss, use solar panels to supplement using electricity, and just basically be more energy conscious. Turn off things after you’re finished with them. This includes lights and the television or computer when you leave a room.
Insulation is one of the biggest areas where you can make a difference at home. Heating and cooling your home uses up a ton of energy. In lots of cases, this air goes right through the walls and the roof. When your home is well insulated, the heat and cooling air is trapped within, allowing you to adjust your thermostat accordingly. You’ll be amazed at how much energy and money you can save.
To trap the maximum amount of heat, your home must be completely insulated all over. This includes inside your walls, under your floors and in your attic. In fact, the attic is the most important part of your home to be well insulated. Heat rises, so most of the heat loss goes right through your roof. The best types of attic insulation are blown in or mineral wool. If you choose mineral wool insulation, you need 10 to 15 inches deep of high quality mineral wool offering 100 percent coverage. If depth is an issue, try insulation made of foam board. It offers the same benefits but is 50 percent less deep.
If you have questions regarding whether or not your insulation is sufficient, you can always get a free energy inspection from your electric company. This will let you know where you stand.