The scattered results from home energy efficiency projects undercut the adage of low-hanging fruit—the ideas that the first small steps into energy savings can yield big results.
But “if a project goes far enough to bring the system of systems that is a building into balance, amazing things can happen,” author and building science specialist Nate Adams reports. “Stop short and failure is guaranteed.”
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Adams says most homeowners approach energy efficiency projects with some other objective in mind, and “severely discount” installers’ promises about cost savings. “More than likely, you are trying to solve a real problem,” he says. “A child’s room that is too hot or cold; a second floor that won’t heat or cool; indoor air quality problems causing asthma, allergy, and other health issues; icicles in colder climates, and more.”
With only incremental efforts, homeowners are right to expect only about 25% of promised savings to materialize, Adams writes. But “go far enough, and homes become very comfortable, far healthier and safer, longer lasting, and more efficient. Those are the four tenets of home performance. Everything shows up at the same time when you reach a balance or tipping point.”