Saving energy is as easy as looking up
Pop quiz: What is over your head, protects you from the weather but could lose up to 30 percent of the heat in your home? If you answered an attic, you’re right! With the upcoming cooler temperatures outside, now’s the perfect time to inspect your attic for adequate insulation.
Consider your attic insulation
Due to temperature, compression, aging and moisture accumulation, some insulation materials lose their R-value over time. The Department of Energy recommends Nebraska homes have an R38 insulation value or better. Insulation batts and blankets are made of fiberglass or mineral wool and are most commonly used in unconfined areas, like unfinished attics, roofs and under floors. Batts and blankets often have an R-value of 2.9 to 4.0 per inch of thickness. Blown-in loose-fill insulation is commonly made of cellulose, glass fiber, mineral wool, perlite or vermiculite. It can be easily blown or spread into areas needing more insulation. Loose-fill insulation usually has an R-value of 2.2 to 3.8 per inch of thickness. If you don’t have at least one foot of either of these insulation types, you probably have an energy efficiency improvement opportunity.
Reflective insulation/Radiant barriers: Are they good for Nebraska’s climate?
Reflective insulation or radiant barriers are sometimes installed in attics to reduce summer heat gain and reduce cooling costs. Barriers consist of a highly-reflective material that redirects radiant heat away from the living space rather than absorbing it. Unfortunately, the same effect occurs in winter when radiant heat is beneficial.
Since Nebraska has a heating-dominated versus cooling-dominated climate, the summertime benefit is often negated by increased energy use in colder months. Some representatives of radiant barrier material claim their product will provide an equivalent of thermal insulation with an R-value of 25 or higher. These claims are not substantiated because these products by themselves do very little to reduce heat conduction like thermal insulation materials.
Need more attic insulation? There’s a rebate for that!
If your attic has six inches or less of insulation and you primarily use electricity to heat it, there is an EnergyWiseSM program rebate to help. Qualifications include adding an R-value of at least 19 or six inches of blown-in insulation. By participating in the Residential Attic Insulation Program, customers are eligible for an incentive of $0.15 per square foot of insulation with a maximum incentive amount of $300 per existing residential dwelling. New construction and/or additions do not qualify. Please contact Bobby Johnson, Dawson PPD Energy Services Specialist, at 308-324-2386 or click here to review the rebate.
Source: NPPD EnergyWiseSM