Most energy-conscious people know that when it comes to home insulation, more is better. But homeowner Alex Cheimets is literally thinking outside the box with his "superinsulation" plan.
Rather than just blow in a few more inches of standard cellulose insulation in his attic, Cheimets is in the throes of an ambitious project to seal the outside of his home with two layers of insulating foam board.
Known in building industry as a superinsulated home, the foam blanket will keep hot (and cool) air in, and also block the cracks that let in outside air. If all goes as hoped, he will cut oil consumption by 70 percent at his 80-year-old, two-family home in Arlington, Mass.
For Cheimets, superinsulation has become a bit of a hobby, one that's been frustrating at times. He set off two years ago with good intentions--conserving energy for the benefit of his pocketbook and the environment. But like a cutting-edge user of new technology, he has had to overcome a number of unexpected hurdles, notably a lack of basic information and experienced contractors.
Luckily, Cheimets is persistent, organized, and, he admits, "a little obsessed."
Earlier this fall, contractors began work on the job, which is expected to be finished early next year. Along the way, it's become a pilot project that some hope will become a model for dramatically lowering energy consumption in the millions of existing homes.
Leading-edge green Being a guinea pig for superlinsulated homes has paid off in some ways even before the home's co-owners receive next winter's heating bills.
Because his project is considered a model for retrofitting homes to be energy efficient, suppliers have donated windows and materials, halving the estimated price tag of $100,000.
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