RESILIENCE: able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.
This is a wonderful definition for how we want our homes to behave in bad weather and therefore be sustainable with the ultimate power of Mother Nature. The FEBRUARY TEXAS EVENT has shown how vulnerable our homes are in unpredictable weather. Plugging holes is the first and easiest step to staying comfortable, preventing frozen water pipes and reducing energy consumption. Only after that, can we consider adding expensive big-box items like replacing an old furnace, windows, or adding PV panels. Finally, Battery Back-up is becoming cheaper, but as long as the electrical grid is reliable, it is the last on the list for big ticket items to add.
STEP ONE: Self Motivation! Within my power I can start with my own free labor: 1) Add Weather stripping to my front door, (no daylight should shine through the top or bottom corners), 2) Caulk the Electrical boxes to stop drafts: the rear holes for wires and the front perimeter to the sheetrock for all electrical boxes 3) Annually walk around the house exterior looking for and fixing any obvious holes and leaks (siding, windows, chimney, foundation, pipe holes etc.) (Use Weather proof tapes and caulk) 4) Search the house for Spider webs! Spider webs trap food to eat, and they will be located at air drafts, an indication of a two-way highway for little insects, up to snakes and mice. (Cans of Expanding Spray foam work well for these holes. If the weather is cold, heat the can up in hot water first.)
STEP TWO: Hire an Energy Audit of my home. Refer to the Xcel Energy website for a list of the best companies. Xcel constantly checks the quality of these companies. Stick with your energy auditor as he/she walks around the house and learn what is of interest to them. DON’T BE SHY! They love to educate.
STEP THREE: Read your Energy Audit summary. This is a list of the lowest hanging fruit to fix. The costs of action items will range from free stuff to expensive.
JOURNEY: You and I are now on our way to a more sustainable and resilient community against the coming trends of bad weather due to global warming. Refer to this cheap book for more: