Boost Your Rhode Island Building’s Energy Efficiency

Ways to Boost Your Building’s Energy Efficiency

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Get Your Home Ready for Spring: Make Your Home Energy Efficient

“Spring has sprung”…as they say. For many, this means great weather and finally being able to be outdoors more. For others, spring is the time of year for cleaning and home improvements, especially because the heat of summer is right around the corner. The more you get done when temperatures are mild, the less you’ll have to do when it’s extra-hot outside. And if you take care of these five sections of your home now, you can take advantage of increased energy efficiency all year.

1) Bedroom

Even though you sleep most of the time you’re here, this is still a very important room. During the hot months, many people crank up the air conditioner just so they can be comfortable when they sleep. This wastes a lot of energy, and this is reflected in increased energy bills. That is where the ceiling fan comes into play.
Ceiling fans help circulate cool air in the summer by pushing cooled air downward. And in the winter, you can reverse the blade direction to push the cool air upward and mix with the warm air. By doing this, you’re able to be cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter while saving some energy.

Quick energy saving tip: A ceiling fan cools people, but not the room itself. It’s only cooling the body, so leaving a fan on when you’re not in the room only wastes electricity. So, save more energy and remember to turn it (and any lights or electronics) off when leaving the room.

Another easy improvement is with a Ductless Mini Split SystemYou can lower your cooling and heating bills my having a ductless system in your home. Ductless systems are great for homeowners that want to reduce their energy bill and for homeowners whom have older houses and didn’t have central air put installed originally. Learn more about a Rhode Island Retrofit Ductless AC System now.

2) Attic

For a home improvement project that creates instant improvements to your energy efficiency, we recommend adding insulation in your attic. Your energy savings will depend on how much insulation is already in your attic and how old it is.
Insulation helps save energy because it acts as a barrier that keeps heat in during the winter and heat out during the summer. In order to maximize the efficiency of adding insulation, it’s best to air seal your attic to prevent air leaks first before adding the insulation. You can do this by sealing, caulking and weather stripping all seams, cracks, and openings to the outside in your attic.

The main sources of air leaks in your attic are around the chimney flashing, all HVAC ducts, the attic entrance, any recessed lighting, and a dropped ceiling. Once the air leaks are filled, then it’s time for the insulation to be added. To determine if your home needs insulation, you can either hire a trained Energy Specialist from Rhode Island Retrofit who will do an entire home energy assessment for you or you can inspect it yourself.


If you do decide to do the inspection yourself, you need to determine the following:

Where your home needs to be insulated,
The thickness and the R-value of your current insulation, and
The type of insulation you already have. The R-value is a measurement for insulation’s resistance to heat flow and the higher the value the greater the effectiveness.

3) Kitchen

An easy way to give your kitchen a face-lift and make it energy efficient is to upgrade your appliances. For example, by replacing an older refrigerator with an Energy Star labeled model, you can use 40% less energy than conventional models sold in 2001 or earlier. Just think how nice your kitchen will look and how much lower your electric bill could be by replacing all your kitchen appliances with new Energy Star models.

In addition to updating your appliances, you can also replace all lighting in the kitchen with LED light bulbs which use less energy and create less heat, which is especially helpful when cooking during the hotter months.

If you aren’t looking to upgrade your kitchen but are interested in ways to save energy and cut down on your energy bill, here are a few energy saving tips for the kitchen:

Use pressure cookers or microwave ovens instead of the stove. They will save energy and reduce cooking time.
If you do use the oven, try to cook several items at the same time. Also, don’t open the door to peek in; opening the door can lower the temperature inside up to 25 degrees.
Only run a full dishwasher but be sure it’s not overloaded.
Let your dishes air dry. There should be an automatic air-dry option but if not, then turn off the dishwasher after the final rinse and open the door to let the moisture escape.
Allow foods to partially cool before putting them in the refrigerator since it takes more energy to cool hot food.

4) Living Room

An easy, but pricey, way to help with your energy bills is to upgrade your electronics with models that have received the “Energy Star” rating. This labeling showcases devices that reduce energy consumption without reducing the quality of the product.

Quick energy saving tip: Remember to turn off lights and electronics when you’re not using them. Opposite to what you might expect, even in stand-by mode those items still consume electricity unless they are completely shut off.

If you are looking for less expensive options, just like in the bedroom, you can adopt the same tips for the living room as well. Use/install a ceiling fan and switch to LED lighting.


5) Throughout the Home

It can be beneficial to update all windows and doors leading to the outside. If you have older single-paned windows, chances are you have leaks in them, which means conditioned air is escaping through the leaks and outside air is coming in through them as well.

A simple fix would be to replace those windows with new, double-paned windows that are much more energy efficient and labeled “Energy Star”. This method is costly, but they can add better curb appeal to your home plus can reduce air loss of up to 50%.

If replacing windows is not the option for you, then you can add caulking and/or weather stripping to reduce air leakage. Determine where the air leaks are by inspecting windows and/or doors to feel any air coming through. Once located, apply caulk to fill in the gaps.

Lastly, if you do not have curtains or window coverings, it is a good idea to add them. By keeping them closed during the hottest part of the day, it will help block out the sun and keep your room cooler in the warmer months and they add a nice decorative touch.



6) Garage

The garage is probably one of the last places people think to make improvements to or make energy efficient. What many people don’t realize is the garage (especially if it is attached to the home) can be one of the largest culprits of air loss in your home.

One of the easiest ways to help prevent this loss is to add weather stripping to the bottom of the garage door and the door leading from the garage into your home. This prevents the outside air from coming in and the air conditioned air from escaping – and as a bonus – it acts as a cushion for the garage door, which cuts down on noise when closed. If you feel a breeze on the sides of the garage door, this is a clue you need to add weather stripping tape to seal the leaks.

Lastly, many people have a refrigerator or freezer in the garage for extra storage. This becomes a problem if you live in an area that has extreme high and low temperatures. Keeping the fridge/freezer at the proper temperature in extremely hot weather causes it to work harder. This is tough on the appliance AND it uses more energy, which costs you more money. So, if you are set on having another fridge or freezer in your garage, then think about replacing it with a model that is built “garage-friendly” and can withstand extreme temperatures.

If your interested in having an Energy Assessment performed on your home by Rhode Island Retrofit fill out or contact form today to the right or call us at now by clicking the button below.

The Three Most Important Things To Make Your Home More Comfortable

One of the most expensive aspects of being a homeowner is spending money heating and cooling your home. It can sometimes be a grind and trying to find that perfect comfort level in your home. As we all know New England winters and summers can be very unpredictable.
As homeowners we look for every advantage to achieve this comfort level while at the same time trying to save money on our energy cost. This is especially true during the winter months, hence the large and ever growing market for winterization products. Whether it be plastic wrap around the windows, extra weather stripping, or even a door sweep or two, we have experimented and tried it all in hopes of saving energy and finding that perfect comfort level during winter. But one very important place we often forget to consider for energy savings is our crawl spaces.

As many of us know, our crawl space is a dark, damp, musty, and often times a nasty place underneath our home. It is a naturally wet and damp environment due to moisture constantly escaping out of the dirt floor or moving through our porous foundation walls. This wet, damp air in our crawl space eventually makes it’s way up into our living areas because of a process known as stack effect. As the dry, heated air rises and moves up and out of our home it is replaced by the damp, wet air from the crawl space. Wet, moist air is harder to heat and cool. This means the wet, moist air making it’s way into the living area causes our furnaces to work much harder to reach our comfort level.

Excessive moisture in the crawl space isn’t the only thing causing us to have higher energy cost during winter. Cold outside air coming into the crawl space also causes higher than needed energy cost. This cold, outside air makes it’s way into the crawl space via vents, porous foundation walls, and gaps or cracks throughout the structure of the crawl space foundation. This negative, cold air causes cold floors in the living area. And if your crawl space is like mine and contains all your homes duct work, then it puts an even bigger burden on your furnace. The heated air produced by your furnace begins to be cooled down as it travels through the duct work due to the cold air moving into the crawl space and around these ducts. Your furnace ends up working much harder to maintain right amount of heat, thus causing more energy loss.

There are a few simple steps you can take concerning the health of your crawl space that can go a long way in saving you money on energy.

1. Check moisture levels in your crawl space.

This can be done by a simple, quick inspection of your crawl space and a small moisture meter. If your unable to inspect your crawl space, call a local crawl space contractor. Many times these contractors perform inspections free of charge. If standing water is noticed than the moisture reader is probably not necessary. The moisture reader will come in handy if in fact you do not see standing water. Many crawl spaces can have very high levels of moisture in the air and not have standing water. Typically you want the moisture levels in your crawl space to be around 50% or less. To reduce standing water or high levels or moisture in your crawl space a sump pump, drainage system, new vapor barrier, or encapsulation system may be needed. In some case all of the above may be needed.

2. Insure that your crawl space vents are correct.

Opened crawl space vents during the winter months causes larger amounts of cold air to enter your crawl space. Likewise, during the summer months these open vents can cause warm, wet air to enter your crawl space. So the question becomes, “Do I close my vents year round, or open them during warmer months and close them during colder months?” And the answer is both yes and no. The best way to reduce energy loss caused by your crawl space is to seal your crawl space off completely from the outside environment. This is done with acrawl space encapsulation system. Only after a crawl space encapsulation is installed would I recommend permanently sealing your vents off. Without a crawl space encapsulation system I would recommend only sealing your vents off during the winter months. Doing so during the summer without a crawl space encapsulation system can lead to stagnant, musty, smelly air coming up into your living areas.

3. Check the insulation in your crawl space.

Also, check the insulation in your attic. Over time insulation in a crawl space can become heavy due to absorbing moisture and falling. Not only does this cause a problem with energy loss but can also lead to possible mold growth. A properly insulated crawl space and attic can greatly reduce heat loss during those cold winter months.
Your crawl space doesn’t have to keep costing you more money on energy. Taking these steps can greatly improve the health of your crawl space and living area, along with reducing your energy cost.



If you questions about your homes crawl space give the local leaders at Rhode Island Retrofit a call at 401.217.4055 now or fill out a contact form and we’ll call you!

Investing In An Energy Efficient Retrofit Of Your Home

Residential and commercial buildings consume over 40 percent of the overall energy usage in the United States. These buildings represent a big opportunity to reduce our nation’s overall energy usage as well as it dependence on foreign sources of energy.

The good news is that often times these buildings can have an energy retrofit on their home or building to obtain significant reductions in the amount of energy used. Many times this can be accomplished with a relatively small investment for upgrades. Going forward I am going to talk more specifically of residential housing.

Currently 71 percent of the homes in the US were built before 1990. This is significant in that the majority of these homes were built before stricter building codes were enforced. This means there are usually many areas in the home that can be upgraded to make the home more energy efficient, and as result, more comfortable. Areas that can be improved upon include air sealing, insulation, duct sealing, windows, doors and ductless HVAC systems.

I know most people are thinking that these improvements can cost a lot of money and they are right. The good news is that the government has policy that is making it more affordable, and quite frankly, it’s a no brainer. If you live in the Rhode Island you can log onto to view your different options and of course we can handle the whole process for you.

If these retrofits are done properly, the money that is paid for the loan payments is offset by the utility savings realized. In this scenario consumers can upgrade their home, adding value to it, become more comfortable and reduce energy consumption with little or no money out of pocket. There is no real downside.

The best way to move forward is to get a professional energy audit of your home to find out exactly where your home is losing energy and what improvements make the most sense and will give both the highest return on investment as well solving any comfort issues in your home that you may have.

Remember, the longer you wait the more energy you will waste and the more money you will lose. Call Rhode Island Retrofit Today at 401.217.4055.

Energy Costs and Your Home

Learning how to save energy can help you save money, and in the long run increase the total efficiency of your home as a whole. With energy saving techniques, you can not only save money on your utility bills, but also help the environment. The process of this is simple and energy efficiency is one of the main factors to consider.

Your home has multiple areas in it that are prone to exposing outside elements to the inside, and if you find these spots and you should make sure they get sealed. Go over your entire house carefully to find any weaknesses that can be fixed, and you can end up saving money. You should also think about hiring a qualified professional that can perform an energy audit on your home to determine ways you can save money and energy. These individuals are trained to inspect your house to determine where you need the most work. Any investment you make will likely be worth it in the long run with the savings that you experience.

A list of ways to save energy is outlined:

    • Find areas of your home that are exposed
    • Learn techniques that limit overall appliance usage
    • Purchase quality equipment that provides increased protection
    • Hire someone to inspect your home for any overexposed areas

Using these outlined techniques can save you a considerable amount of money over time, and also help the environment out as well. Many homeowners have also achieved notable savings by simply using their appliances less, and making sure nothing they use goes to waste. Specialized equipment can also be bought to further your ability to realize great savings. You should learn as many of these potential ideas as you can, and in time you will experience the benefits that come with it. Many resources are available online that inform you of the exact process, and you should research these if you want to learn how other people achieve these savings and how you can as well.

For more information on how to save energy or to schedule an energy audit call us today 401.217.4055!

What is Energy Efficiency?

Energy costs keep rising, but homeowners still need the same things that take energy — washing machines, electric lights, heat in the winter and cooling in the summer.

There are two ways to handle this problem: energy conservation and energy efficiency.

Conservation and efficiency: What’s the difference?

With energy conservation, your sweltering hot in the summer and put on an extra slayers of clothes in the winter, because your trying to save money on your energy bills.

With energy efficiency, you use less energy to get the same result — buying a ductless mini split system that uses less energy to maintain the same amount of cooling units, for example, or better window glass to improve heat retention.

Why saving energy is important

Global efforts could not only have an impact on the world’s climate, they could lower energy bills, help keep the air clean, increase U.S. business competitiveness, and lower the carbon footprint.

Learn more about using energy efficiently with an energy audit or call 401.217.4055 to schedule a free home consultation today.