North Itasca Electric Co-operative, Inc

Energy Saving Tips
for New and Existing Structures

When planning for your new home, one should not only consider the materials inside the structure to save energy, the outdoor environment also plays a role in energy efficiency.

Facing windows south will save on heating costs by taking advantage of the sun in the winter months. It is possible to experience much of a structure's heat loss and solar gain through the windows and glass doors.

Plant evergreen trees on the north side of the structure to decrease winter wind exposure and plant deciduous trees that will reach at least 10' high about 20' from the west windows to offer maximum summer shade and minimum winter shade. Trees planted by east windows will have some beneficial effects as well.

New building codes today do not just look at the structural aspect, but also energy efficiencies. But in older structures, it is a good idea to have an energy audit done. Older structures only have 2x4 rather than 2x6 stud wall which increases the insulation value from R-11 to R-19.

Below is a list of energy saving tips home owners can do themselves.

  • Insulate the basement walls.
  • Make sure rim joists are well insulated.
  • Proper vapor barrier between interior surface and insulation is very important to stop air leakage and moisture problems.
  • Make sure you have R-38 minimum insulation in the ceiling.
  • Are the windows single or double pane? One may want to replace single pane windows or install plastic over them to prevent drafts.

For more information or energy tips, call the North Itasca Electric Cooperative.

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