Ask Eartha Steward: Fall Energy Efficiency Extravaganza
High Country Conservation Center
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about quick energy efficient upgrades for my new place. Today, I’ll recap those easy retrofits and give information on detailed upgrades that will create a warm, efficient home.
Previously I talked about a few small steps that included installing low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators, compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, weatherstripping and using a padded doorstop for the drafty front door.
While the padded door stop works well, it only works when someone is home to put it in place. And because the gap between the frame and the door was so large, a new door sweep was just the right thing. Luckily, the EcOasis (by 7-Eleven on CR 450) in Breckenridge stocks a variety of door sweeps. The new door sweep slid right in, and within minutes our drafty woes were solved. I still like to use the padded doorstop, because it gets so chilly and feel it keeps us that much warmer ” any little bit helps when it comes to energy efficiency.
Additionally, I put plastic around the front door’s window, which was really simple because the window is small. I also sealed two large windows in the main room and will have to get around to the bedrooms before too long. The plastic looks pretty good, it’s so clear that it’s hard to even tell it’s on the window. The other thing I did to nurse the poor, single-paned windows we wanted access to, was to put insulated blinds over them.
Actually, they weren’t quite insulated blinds, I hung up quilts. They help to warm the room considerably and if I feel it’s necessary, I’ll just take them down when company visits. When I can afford quilted blinds, I’ll get them for all my windows. I called Breckenridge Blinds ” (970) 453-7635 ” for information and prices on the insulated honeycomb blinds and found out there are a range of styles. I generally like the look of honeycomb blinds, but the new ones are even more aesthetically pleasing.
Breckenridge Blinds also has sustainable products made of bamboo, recycled content and more. It’s amazing how much your energy use goes down when a little insulation is put in its place.
Another place that needed insulation was the water heater. First, I turned down the heat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (check out http://www.aceee.org for information on water heater temperature) and then I put a water heater blanker over it.
Water heater blankets range from $12-30, depending on insulation thickness, and will contain heat that normally escapes from the water heater. It’s important to cut a hole in the blanker so the water heater’s warning label isn’t covered up, and I’ve read that for gas water heaters it’s advisable to have a professional install it. There are a lot of great websites, such as http://www.thisoldhouse.com, that have information on installation of energy efficiency fixtures.
You can also get questions on energy efficiency answered in person this Saturday at the Fall Energy Efficiency Extravaganza (FEEE). FEEE is being held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the EcOasis. The High Country Conservation Center, Innovative Energy, Eco-Products and Bighorn Ace will offer educational information and discounted products, like a 5-Pack of 13W (60W equivalent) General Electric CFL bulbs for $8.99. It’s a great event if you’re interested in learning about basic energy efficiency tips to installing a solar system for your home.
In addition, the Summit County Sustainable Homes Tour is being given on Saturday. The tour is part of the American Solar Energy Society’s National Solar Homes Tour and will visit four homes in Summit County that offer sustainable designs and features.
The tour costs $10 and is a guided tour, meeting at the EcOasis at noon and returning at 4 p.m. Space is limited, so e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (970) 668-5703 to sign up. If you don’t have time to go on the tour, check out FEEE, where photos and descriptions of the homes will be on display. Hope to see you there!
Eartha Steward is written by Carly Wier, Holly Loff, and Beth Orstad, consultants on all things eco and chic at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation in our mountain community. Eartha believes that you can walk gently on our planet, even if you’re wearing stylie shoes.
Submit questions to Eartha at email@example.com with Ask Eartha as the subject or to High Country Conservation Center, PO Box 4506, Frisco, CO 80443.
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