As winter draws near and the temperature continues to drop, homeowners may be finding leaks in their home more burdensome. Not only would plugging these pesky holes warm up homes across the nation, but would also save a significant amount of energy considering the 113 million homes in the U.S. consume approximately 23 percent of the nation’s source energy every year, half of that being from heating and cooling.
The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recently published a study showing $33 billion worth of energy could be saved annually if every home in the U.S. were weatherized to the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) standard. Such techniques would tighten leaks in homes from 20 to 30 percent or more and reduce unwanted airflow by 50 percent on average.
Berkeley Lab scientist and lead author of the study, Jennifer Logue, said although weatherization is cutting down on drafty homes, there still needs to be research done on the most effective way to weatherize: “There are still benefits to be gained if we can figure out how to weatherize more effectively.”
According to the researchers, there are five levels of tightening (increasing in ‘tightness’):
- International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) standard
- R2000 standard
- “Passive house” standard
The study found that the IECC standard would be the most achievable and beneficial of all the standards. However, Mrs. Logue said, “More research is needed to determine the costs of implementing each of these standards in new homes to see which are cost-effective. As we get better at air sealing, we can move towards tighter envelopes in buildings. ”
Weatherizing homes to uniform standard can achieve $33 billion in annual energy savings, Eureka Alert
Study: Weatherization Could Save U.S. $33 Billion, National Journal