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Author Topic: Saving Energy In Your Home  (Read 8039 times)
Paul Sarnstrom
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« on: June 17, 2014, 06:48:12 PM »

Hello All,

Last fall I bought two, 4'x8' sheets of 1,1/2" eps material. These are white panels, coated on both sides with plastic and on one side with a thin layer of mylar. The purpose was to selective insulate some windows, especially at night, to conserve energy and be more comfortable.

I cut these into 6 pieces of different sizes so they just fit inside the interior frame of some of my windows and can be easily inserted into or removed by pushing them into the frame or pulling them out.

This worked very well in keeping my small place more comfortable throughout the western Colorado winter and I estimate I saved 15% in my energy bill.

As warmer, summertime temperatures began in May and idea occurred to me. During the warm months with highs in the high 80s - 90s I always open windows at night for the free cooling and fresh air as nighttime temps are routinely in the 50's.

Now, when I get up in the morning I close all windows, put the insulative panels in the window frames and leave them in place throughout the day.

So far I've kept the interior, daytime temperatures comfortable. If the nighttime low is 50-55 degrees and the daytime high is 85-90 inside is 70 degrees at noon and 75-80 by 5:00-6:00pm.

As July and August daytime temperatures hit the seasonal average of low to high 90's I will need to use some additional cooling, in this case by using a rooftop mounted, evaporative cooler. The last two years I typically started the cooler at 11:00 am or 12:00 noon to stay comfortable. By using the insulative panels I expect to start the cooler 2 or perhaps 3 hours later than I did last year and this should result in a 15%-20% savings of electricity consumption when  compared with previous years.

I need to by two more sheets of this insulation for 5 other windows in the house. Conservatively I expect another 10%-15% savings by doing this.

Please note that I live in a 12'x60' house trailer with an extensively remodeled exterior but only light wood paneling interior so there is little thermal mass. With more interior mass the resulting increase in efficiency would be even better.

Paul
« Last Edit: June 18, 2014, 08:30:03 AM by Paul Sarnstrom » Logged

Paul Sarnstrom
Bernhard
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« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2014, 01:30:45 AM »

Hi Paul,
if you could figure a way to put the insul panels outside you would score another few % - I am having the same thoughts here as we go into winter [it came early and we are colder han usual] i live in a brick house very poorly oriented and the bedroom has windows that are too large as does the lounge. Way to go.
Bernhard
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Paul Sarnstrom
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« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2014, 09:41:15 AM »

Hello Bernhard,

I'm glad to discover that you are still around on the FC Forum. On a personal level I'd like to catch up with you so please contact me on the side.

Thanks for your tip on exterior window insulation and the increased efficiency. Installing exterior shutters is on my list of projects. I'd like lockable, exterior shutters for the potential insulative value as well as for security and preventing glass damage in an extreme weather event.

There are a few points to highly recommend the simple, interior modification.

1. Cost: The two 4'x8' sheets of 'Insulfoam' purchased at the local Home Despot store cost approximately $35 in October of 2013. That cost includes taxes. When I went to the store to buy material I wanted the dense, 2" thick eps manufactured by Dow and by Owens. That material had almost doubled in cost in 2 years and was priced at $35 [pre-tax price] per sheet. When I saw that price I turned around to leave the store and noticed the 'Insulfoam' product. Another nice thing about this product is the thin plastic skin on both sides and the infrared reflective mylar coating. This thin, protective coating keeps the surfaces from flaking off as can happen with regular, uncoated eps and the mylar has it's obvious and desired qualities.

2. Ease of Use: There is no mounting hardware required as I simply install or remove the panels when I want. It takes about 3 seconds to install or remove a panel.
Tip: Don't cut the panels so that you have to squeeze them into the window opening. Leave about 1/8" gap on top and sides so the panel can be easily placed or removed. When researching insulative shutters some time ago I read that panels with a gap up to 1/8" at the edge performed virtually identically thermally to those that had an exact fit.

Simple handles or tabs to facilitate placement and removal can be made from tape or fabric. Although I haven't done it yet, this material can easily be covered with fabric to make them look nicer and give greater durability. A fabric covering would protect from minor knocks and abrasion. If covered with fabric and reasonable care is exercised in using them, I estimate covering these panels with fabric could give a 20-30 year, or even longer lifespan.

Since no mounting hardware is required these panels can be used in a building constructed of any material such as adobe, wood, concrete, masonry, Ferrocement, steel or any combination thereof. The only requirement is an interior window frame that is not obstructed.

3. Ease of Construction: The only tools required are a marker, tape measure, straight edge and utility or other knife for cutting. For final finishing of the edges a rasp can be helpful but is not absolutely required. This material can be cut and shaped to fit any size opening. Even mis-proportioned and odd size openings can be easily accommodated. There is no construction experience or special skills needed.

I am fully aware that I am not the first person to do this. I think I first read about the advantage of insulative shutters 45 or even 50 years ago. Actually doing it and living with it for awhile has shown me how inexpensive, simple and cost effectively it can be done. The main reason for not doing it till now is the designs I saw all required framework for the window and the panels, hinges, latches and other things that while nice are not absolutely necessary. Of all the things I've done over the years to save energy this has been the simplest and has had the highest cost to benefit ratio.

Paul
« Last Edit: June 18, 2014, 03:18:44 PM by Paul Sarnstrom » Logged

Paul Sarnstrom
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