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The Deans of Green

The Deans of Green

Payback Estimator: Insulation Upgrade

comments (0) September 11th, 2009 in Blogs
JFink Justin Fink, Senior Editor

Produced by: Justin Fink and Steve Lombardi *requires latest version of Flash

Do you have a quote for an insulation upgrade? Use our calculator, based on an equation from the U.S. Department of Energy, to find out how long it will take to payback your investment in terms of savings in energy costs. 

1. Determine your current type of insulation and the thickness/amount in your walls or attic.
2. Estimate the square footage of the walls or attic space to be upgraded.
3. Find a recent copy of your utility bill to determine your cost per unit.
4. Finally, have a copy of the quote from your contractor, or—if you plan to do the work yourself—the cost of the necessary insulation materials and installation equipment.

The equation that powers this calculator was developed by the U.S. Department of Energy. In addition to the details you enter, it relies on government compiled averages such as the average number of heating days per year in your region, the efficiency of various heating systems, and the energy efficiency of the insulation products available to builders and homeowners. All of these factors help provide a more accurate calculation no matter where you live or what type of fuel you use to heat your home.

That said, it is not perfect. For example, it does take into account the wild fluctuations in energy costs. And it doesn't account for other factors specific to your home, like air leakage. For a more complete overview of things to consider when thinking about an energy upgrade read Mike Guertin's A Complete Guide to Estimating Energy Efficiency Payback. Plus, read one example of how this calculator was used to estimate the payback of an attic insulation upgrade.

LEARN MORE ABOUT UPGRADING YOUR INSULATION: features a collection of articles and videos with advice and how-to techniques around upgrades.

ARTICLE: New Insulation for Old Walls

ARTICLE: Attic Insulation Upgrade by Mike Guertin

VIDEO: Soy Foam Insulation with Chris Ermides

VIDEO: Blowing Fiberglass Insulation with Mike Guertin

ARTICLE: Prepping for Spray Foam Insulation by Michael Chandler

ARTICLE: Vapor-Smart Insulation by Justin Fink

ARTICLE: Better Basement Insulation by Mike Guertin

posted in: Blogs, energy efficiency, insulation, calculator, upgrade