When Andy and I bought our home last July, visions of design and décor danced in my head. But once we moved in, we knew we had to start with practical, Planetarian changes. As someone who loves a beautiful home, it was frustrating to lead with projects that weren’t even going to show, but ultimately I knew we needed to do what was good for the planet and our wallets.
Our first step was to start with an energy audit. Professionals come in and assess your home with analytical tests and recommend steps for efficiency (and comfort!).
From the audit, we learned we had very poor insulation in our attic and walls and air leaks around doors, windows, and canned lights. We were losing heating and cooling everywhere, but mostly out the attic. Previous owners had cranked up the heat and air to get comfortable. That was not an option for us. We wanted to fix the problem, not treat the symptom, which meant sealing up all those leaky spots.
Our first step was to determine the right kind of insulation—foam, loose fill (cellulose), board, or batt—and understand the benefits and drawbacks of each. We did a lot of research and got a good bit of help from our friends Laura and Gil.
Because it was significantly less expensive, we ultimately went with air-sealing with caulking and cellulose insulation. An added benefit of cellulose insulation: it’s made of recycled paper and denim and treated with boric acid to make it flame- and pest-resistant. One minor drawback: it’s loose material, so on the rare occasion we need to walk around in our unfinished attic, it’s not easy. The air-sealing and insulating project took about a week, and we’re already warmer and using less oil! (We’ll ultimately switch to air-source heat pumps, but for now we’re on oil… baby steps!)
Though this was not the most fun home improvement project, it was the right place to start. One step at a time towards a more Planetarian home.