Thursday, March 22, 2012

How Air-Sealing Can Help You Save in Energy Costs

Did you know?

The average house produces twice the greenhouse gases of the average car – 40% of these gases come from heating and cooling. Only 16% of Canadians have done a lot to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at home. Only 3% of Canadians think their homes and offices are the major cause of increases in greenhouse gas emissions.
A new poll conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of Icynene has found more than three-quarters (79%) of Canadian homeowners claim to have taken “some” or “a lot” of action to reduce greenhouse gases, yet only three per cent believe their homes and offices contribute most to apparent increases in greenhouse gas emissions.
The poll of more than 1,200 Canadian homeowners found nearly a third (31%) admit they don’t know much about environmental issues and the impact of greenhouse gas emissions and only 16% claim to have done “a lot” to reduce emissions in their own homes. With the operation of buildings accounting for as much as 40% of greenhouse gas emissions in this country (source: Canada Green Building Council), learning from the poll suggests Canadians could play a far greater role than they might think in reducing greenhouse gases at home.

Greenfluence: Harper vs. home improvement store

Ipsos-Reid asked Canadian homeowners who would most influence them to take more action on reducing greenhouse gases. According to the poll, a building organization such as the Canada Green Building Council (49%) and Dr. David Suzuki (47%), the face of environmentalism in Canada, are the most likely to influence homeowner action on greenhouse gases.
Canadians, however, seem to have little faith in the guidance of elected politicians on environmental issues:
  • Canadians are just as likely to be influenced to do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an employee of a home-improvement store (16%) as by Prime Minister Stephen Harper (15%)
  • A TV home improvement personality (37%) is more than two and a half times as likely to influence action as Prime Minister Harper (15%)

Taking action at home

The poll asked Canadians what specific steps they have taken at home in the past two years to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing energy efficiency:
  • 83% have turned down the heat during the winter
  • 61% have sealed air leaks
  • 46% have turned down the air conditioning during the summer
  • 38% have added insulation
  • 29% have switched to a high efficiency heating system
Jon Eakes, Canada’s longest-standing TV home improvement expert, believes homeowners are taking steps in the right direction, but there’s room for them to have a greater impact on energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions.
“Air sealing, one of the most common steps, is frequently achieved by sealing and caulking piecemeal around windows and doors,” says Eakes, “yet home energy consumption can be reduced by up to 50% alone with an insulation that insulates and reduces air leaks in one step throughout the home during renovations or construction.”

Banning Bulbs

With respect to the role of energy conservation in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Canadian homeowners were asked what plays the most important role in helping to conserve energy in a home:
  • Despite some provincial government plans to phase out incandescent lighting, few Canadians (7%) believe compact fluorescent lighting plays the most important role in energy conservation
  • Canadians believe using energy efficient heating and cooling (26%), sealing air leaks through windows and doors (25%) and adding insulation (18%) play the most important role in energy conservation
Canadians claim more knowledge, action than U.S. counterparts
Results of an identical Ipsos-Reid-Icynene poll with 1,200 U.S. homeowners reveal some interesting comparisons with Canadians:
  • More Americans (46%) than Canadians (31%) agree they do not know much about the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the environment
  • More Americans (36%) than Canadians (21%) say they’ve done little or nothing at all to help reduce greenhouse gases
  • More Canadians (22%) than Americans (13%) have reduced their car use in favor of public transit
  • Like Canadians, Americans (16%) are just as likely to be influenced to do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an employee at a home improvement store (16%) as by their president, George W. Bush.
“One of the most powerful ways Canadians can take personal action directed at greenhouse gas reduction is to examine energy conservation opportunities at home,” says Eakes. “If more Canadians took steps such as ensuring there is absolutely no air leakage when insulating there could be a widespread benefit in terms of energy savings, healthier, longer-lasting homes and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.”
With the weather heating up and air-conditioning running full-blast, it’s a perfect time to learn more about how air-sealing your home can reduce energy consumption – and your home’s carbon footprint.

About the poll

The Ipsos Reid poll was conducted on behalf of Icynene between April 19 and April 23, 2007. For the survey, a representative randomly selected sample of 1,285 adult homeowners was interviewed online. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within 2.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult population been polled.

About Jon Eakes

Jon Eakes is one of television’s longest standing home improvement experts. His practical consumer-friendly tips and real-life solutions have connected with consumers through programs such as House Hot Line (Life Network) and Just Ask Jon Eakes (HGTV and the Do-It-Yourself Network).
This article was provided by Icynene. Visit for more information.

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