Insulation ideas

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cshama

Member
Mar 3, 2009
26
ny
I want to get some insulation ideas. My house is 4500sf and has giant windows facing the Hudson River . And was built in 1979

Last year I put in blown attic insulation. It made a tremendous difference. Probably saves close to 50% heating and cooling costs. Just incredible. It cost about $2500 and obviously was cost effective.

The windows cover one side of the house and are single paned . They actually help in the winter to provide a lot of heating from the sun but obviously aren’t efficient otherwise. Because of cost I’m not prepared to touch them.

Are there any other ideas I’ve missed to become more efficient? I already have solar and heat pumps everywhere as well as a big wood stove.I am not using any oil or net electricity from the grid at this point. But I want to add a heat pump pool heater and maybe a Tesla which I feel will drive me into net negative energy use territory which I don’t want. So the idea would be to save on heating and cooling cost by sensibly adding more insulation.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,691
Northern NH
I want to get some insulation ideas. My house is 4500sf and has giant windows facing the Hudson River . And was built in 1979

Last year I put in blown attic insulation. It made a tremendous difference. Probably saves close to 50% heating and cooling costs. Just incredible. It cost about $2500 and obviously was cost effective.

The windows cover one side of the house and are single paned . They actually help in the winter to provide a lot of heating from the sun but obviously aren’t efficient otherwise. Because of cost I’m not prepared to touch them.

Are there any other ideas I’ve missed to become more efficient? I already have solar and heat pumps everywhere as well as a big wood stove.I am not using any oil or net electricity from the grid at this point. But I want to add a heat pump pool heater and maybe a Tesla which I feel will drive me into net negative energy use territory which I don’t want. So the idea would be to save on heating and cooling cost by sensibly adding more insulation.
Sorry to say, you shooting yourself in the foot up front by avoiding the windows. They are your problem. Yes you get heating for several hours in the winter but you lose far more during the dark hours. Ideally you figure out a way to cover the windows during dark hours. You can get up to R-5 going with double cellular blinds with side tracks. Or you could go with roll down window quilts. Both can be retrofit over the existing window frames.
 
Last edited:

cshama

Member
Mar 3, 2009
26
ny
The coverings don’t make sense for me. They look out on the river and I like them open. I have put automatic blinds on one window but the rest are too big unfortunately, over 10 feet in width
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,392
South Puget Sound, WA
That excess glazing is a huge heat loss. In the least, have storm windows made and fitted to cover the windows. It will cost much less than a Tesla and the benefits will be realized year round.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,267
Long Island NY
You can do other things (air sealing the ceilings from attic before blowing in insulation...), but none will make a significant dent in your consumption to offset a pool heat pump and it Tesla.

It's the windows that might do that.

Price out new windows, calculate energy loss difference for current and new windows, and compare with the pricing of the power you'd need for car and pool.

Then see ROI timeframe.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
3,548
SE North Carolina
Air sealing all windows, doors, exterior penetrations. All ceiling fixtures and outlets and switches on exterior walls. This done DIY is cheap could be completed by a handyman probably in a day or two.

But the single pane windows are the biggest energy drain. Both summer and winter. We had a 20’ south facing wall of single pane windows. My parents cut 3/4” foil faced foam boards to fit inside the frame. The foil side went out and on the other side they wallpapered. Wrapped it around the edges. Really they were used December -February and again June-September. And whenever I thought the glare off rhe TV was annoying.

Think of summer and winter energy that you are loosing. A thoughtful awning or eve a shade cloth could make a bigger difference in summer. Winter time adding plastic seasonal storm windows could make a difference but I think they are unsightly. I wonder if it would be possible to build single pane storm windows? Probably costly. Window film could work in the summer.

If it’s total energy consumption how many miles a year do you drive? My guess is if you to a carbon footprint calculation you driving is the largest source by a factor of 2-3 or more since you have solar. So an EV might make sense.

A nice easy to use cloths line. Heatpump water heater. I’m kinda in a similar situation without the solar. Unless electric prices really go up its hard to save money even with the extra attic insulation. I have had a 2016 Tesla for 4 weeks now. It’s nice. If you have the finances to go EV it might make sense. But wi interest rates going up and list prices going up. The only way I could save money is if I needed a new car. Trading in something that functions and is paid off I just don’t think it makes $$ sense but being green takes commitment and many times it’s $$.

Question for is how much is the last 10-20% worth. It sounds like you have all the easy big items covered. Views often times come with extra cost so deciding another route makes sense.

Evan
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,691
Northern NH
If you have seen mini cellular blinds they do not take up much space. The upper header is about 1-1/4" high. You do not leave them closed all the time, I open mine in the AM when the sun is up and close them in the evening. They make a major difference in heating and comfort in the room.

Ultimately if you do not want to deal with the windows, might as well resign yourself to high energy usage. If you have the space and orientation, put in the largest solar array you can fit in and run cold climate heat pumps to offset the high energy use.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,392
South Puget Sound, WA
With a 4500 sq ft house, Tesla, pool, etc. it doesn't sound like dealing with the windows would be an out of line expense. Probably less than a year's taxes on the place.
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,267
Long Island NY
Lol. A years taxes (on my place)can definitely be an out of range expense...
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,392
South Puget Sound, WA
Got that right!
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,782
SE PA
A lot of the retrofit storm windows now have low-E coatings, to get you to R-3 from R-1 (or less when windy) now. I did that on a large picture window (only 5' wide) and it made a huge difference.