If you are thinking of going off-grid or even just trying to cut your current energy cost then an important key is insulation.
You can change all your appliance to energy star, replace old drafty windows, change lighting to fluorescence, unplug what is not in use and still be using way more energy then needed if you have little or no insulation. Insulation should also not be something you only think about for your roofs and walls. Insulating pipes, duct work and water heaters also make a dent in your energy consumption.
Today we are lucky enough to have many options for insulation that is not only good for the environment, works on par or better then synthetics/man-made products, but has long life and cost close to conventional methods. Some of the choices we will be highlighting are cellulose, wool, straw, and cotton.
All of these organic and environmentally friendly types of insulation have benefits that make them truly lovable. So choosing the right one comes down to what your individual needs are. Cellulose can be blown into enclosed walls, wool can breakdown and absorb formaldehyde, cotton is made from recyclable jeans, and straw in a bountiful organic product.
Just how much insulation you need can be found through the Department of Energy insulation program. This website will help you determine what R value you really need to insulate the different areas of your home. As each environment has different needs so does each area of your home. To the left a picture of where insulation is needed to make your home comfortable and energy efficient. Since homes that are older tend to not have insulation in walls and floors these spaces will usually need a blown in type since opening a wall to add insulation is to expensive if you’re not planning on major renovating.
Buy our book - OFF THE GRID - a tour of American off-grid places and people written by Nick Rosen, editor of the off-grid.net web site
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