Just How ‘Sexy’ is Insulation?

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Very, if you’re President Obama. And in reality, it’s pretty sexy if you’re looking to save money on your home energy bills.

“We were at the roundtable and somebody said, ‘Insulation’s not sexy,'” the President said, during a visit to a Home Depot. “I disagree. Frank, don’t you think insulation is sexy stuff? Here’s what, here’s what’s sexy about it: saving money.”

Feedback from the industry and the blogosphere as a whole has been relatively positive, such as the follow-up comment from Brian Castelli, executive vice president of the Alliance to Save Energy as reported by USA Today. “If it takes President Obama saying insulation is ‘sexy’ to sell the American people on increasing their homes’ energy efficiency, we’re all for it!”

Photo: Flickr/Southend-on-Sea in Transition

According to the EPA, about 17 percent of total U.S. emissions are from homes. Photo: Flickr/Southend-on-Sea in Transition

Obama is pushing for temporary incentives (unofficially dubbed “Cash for Caulkers”) for retrofitting homes to increase their energy efficiency, which would include increasing a home’s level of insulation to better maintain internal environments – therefore requiring less cash from your pocket to heat or cool your house.

And you are spending a lot of money on lost energy if your home hasn’t been upgraded. The average, unweatherized U.S. home leaks air at a rate equivalent to a 4-square-foot hole in the wall, according to the “Solar Living Sourcebook” by John Schaeffer. With the residential sector consuming 35 percent of available energy to consumers, reducing our use of this costly resource can result in big savings.

“Think about it this way, if you haven’t upgraded your home yet, it’s not just heat or cool air that’s escaping, it’s energy and money that you are wasting,” Obama said. “If you saw $20 bills just sort of floating through the window up into atmosphere, you’d try to figure out how you were gonna keep that, but that’s exactly what’s happening because of the lack of efficiency in our buildings.”

According to MSNBC, the tax breaks Obama is pushing are part of a group of initiatives announced by the White House last week to help “spur job creation as the nation faces 10 percent unemployment and the president’s critics argue he has not done enough to help put people back to work.”

According to The New York Times, the plan would cost $23 billion over the course of two years, and a chunk of the funding would go to home weatherization projects – around $2,000 to $4,000 in incentives.

Feature image courtesy of Knauf Insulation

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