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Picking the Low Hanging Fruit of Energy Retrofits

Sometimes the best approach to upgrading the energy efficiency of the home isn't from the ground up, but rather from the top down. Attics have been the focus of weatherization rebate programs and tax incentives for decades, but the common practice of piling on more insulation provides only marginal returns on your investment. For insulation to perform optimally, air-sealing must be part of the retrofit or weatherization project. A combination of air-sealing and insulation in the attic can reduce overall air leakage by up to 40 percent and drop a home's space-conditioning costs by 20 to 40 percent. If you are looking for energy savings, why not start with the low-hanging fruit?

BARA team member Steve Easley recently explored air sealing the attic in a comprehensive article for Qualified Remodeler Magazine. Specifically, Steve digs into the three different ways to effectively air-seal an attic (spot air seal, spray foam the "lid", and spray foam the underside of the roof to create a non-vented attic space) and discusses the pros and cons of each approach.

Speaking of low hanging, be sure to read the section on safety at the end of the article, because having your feet dangling through the homeowner's living room ceiling is totally getting off on the wrong foot with attic improvements.

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