Published on October 22nd, 2007 | by Stephanie Evans1
Plug Those Air Leaks
One of the key factors that the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) takes into consideration when granting a Green Building Certification is energy efficiency and materials selection. Most of us grew up being told, "I’m not paying to heat/cool the outdoors!" And, as a gesture of appeasement, we shut the front door. Unfortunately, many of us continue to heat or cool the outside without ever realizing it. This is why the folks at LEED look at air leaks and proper insulation.
Common leaks occur around windows, doors, and other wall penetrations. Plugging those leaks with weather stripping and caulking can be a simple task for anyone and can save money through increased energy efficiency. Finding leaks can be just as easy, as they can occur just about anywhere. Electrical outlets, switch plates, window frames, baseboards, doors, fireplace dampers, attic hatches, and wall- or window-mounted air conditioners are all prime spots for air leaks. Check for any obvious holes or cracked caulking.
Heat and ac loss can be very large if the insulation levels are less than the recommended minimum. When your house was built, the builder probably installed the amount of insulation recommended at that time. Most likely, the amount of insulation and the R-value, resistance to heat flow, of the insulation does not meet specifications of the Green Building Rating System. To green your home, check the insulation recommendations for your area and replace anything that is inefficient .