The move toward passive heating and cooling is growing. It saves money and reduces greenhouse gases. Here are some ways to cut down on heat gains and losses from your home.
Insulation slows down heat flow. In winter this means less heat escapes and in summer, it keeps your air conditioner from working overtime. In both cases, you have smaller equipment to worry about when building or replacing. Upgrading insulation is a sure-fire way to cut your energy use.
If air leaks in around windows and doors, you undo everything your insulation does. Known as infiltration, this air carries moisture in summer and low temperatures in winter, taxing your equipment and wasting energy. Sealing off these locations is a fairly cheap way to cut back on your energy bills.
In the northern hemisphere, the sun in winter sun shines from the south. The opposite is true for the southern hemisphere. Having large windows face the winter sun allows for sunlight to heat up those rooms, reducing your heating load. The downside is that more heat is lost through these windows at night and on cloudy days.
Curtains and blinds can reduce heat gain and loss depending on their insulating value. Blocking out the sun in summer keeps the space cool even if you have no shading from outside. Trees and foliage outside your window also reduce heat gain in the summer. If you pick the right trees that lose their leaves in winter, you still gain the advantage of winter sunlight heating your home.
Heavy curtains keep the heat in on cold winter nights, reducing losses from large windows.
Strategically placed overhangs can prevent your large windows from creating large problems in the summer. During this season, the sun is high in the sky. Overhangs that block windows from direct sunlight reduce the heating effect of the sun and keep your cooling bill down. The winter sun’s low path across the sky allows sunlight to enter the room without being blocked by the overhang.
Type of glass
Glass performance has two main characteristics: heat transfer coefficient and shading coefficient. The heat transfer coefficient indicates how well the glass prevent heat from flowing through. The shading coefficient affects the sunlight entering the space. A higher shading coefficient keeps more sun out. Glass thickness, the number of panes and coating type all impact these numbers and vary between manufacturers.
You still need well-maintained equipment.
Even with minimal heat gains and losses, your HVAC equipment needs to run efficiently. Give us a call to assess ways you can reduce your energy usage and keep your equipment in top shape.