Earth Notes - Enery Conservation I

Flagstaff, AZ – Earth Notes: Energy Conservation I: Weather Stripping

With energy costs on the rise, it's clear that cutting energy needs is good for both the wallet and the planet. For the next few weeks, Earth Notes will look at simple ways to save energy, both at home and on the road.

Most homes built prior to 1990 were built without weather stripping, which can close the small cracks and crevices around windows and doors. Up to 10 to 15 percent of a home's heat can be lost through such gaps.

A simple energy audit can help determine if your house needs weather stripping. You can complete a simple audit using the ENERGY STAR Home Energy Yardstick found on the Web.

Or you can hire an expert. E3 Energy, of Flagstaff, pays house calls to diagnose home energy losses. E3's David Malpas explains that the company conducts an infrared imaging test and a blower door test. These tests pinpoint where energy is being lost to the outdoors.

Even when weather stripping exists, Malpas says, it's often too worn to be effective. It can be damaged by wear and tear or by pets scratching.

Different types of weather stripping options, from felt to metal, are appropriate for different situations. Malpas recommends bringing a photo of the window or door in question to the hardware store; that way, you can be sure to get the correct material. When done correctly, weather stripping can pay for itself in energy savings within one year.

Next week, we'll climb up on the roof.

-Cecile LeBlanc