Ruh-Roh! Houston, We Have a Problem! Part 1 of 3

By
Real Estate Agent with thredUP.com

Houston, TX Skyline

Houston is one of the many places in America where having proper insulation is a necessity.  Not too long ago I wrote I Think I Have Just Heard It All.  I spoke about how I was going to re-insulate my attic and how I found out about some GREEN Products to do that.  I thought I would split this up into 3 posts so that I can go into detail about the topic and show some pictures to help.  Yes I am going to show my own attic before and after and track the decline in my utility bills.

First, let me say that I should be in some sort of Greenhouse Gas Hall of Shame right now.

 

Ok, the break down on my modest home:

  • Appx. 1200 sq ft Patio Home
  • All Electric
  • Built in '82
  • Electric Bill never gets below $230 and as high as almost $400  WOAH!
  • For every inch of Fiberglass Insulation X 1.5 is your approximate R-Value.  Mine is a whopping R-8.25  In Texas, the minimum recommended is R-30.  Houston, here is my problem!

I knew for some time that there was something wrong.  After I got my EcoBroker Designation I started looking closer at what I could do.  Insulation is the first on the list! 

If you read my first post you know that I was looking into Celbar which is a Recycled Newspaper product and Ultra Touch by Bonded Logic which is made of Recycled Blue Jeans.  The bid came in nearly 50% more than what I was originally quoted so out of curiosity I decided to get a second bid. 

I contacted a local company called Diversified Thermal that was highly recommended to me by GreenHaus Builders who happens to be a LEED Builder in the Houston area.  So, I gave them a ring to come out.  The Rep explained that they no longer use Celbar (I didn't ask why)  that they use another product called Applegate that they feel is a better product.  If you check out the video on their Home Page, I think you might agree.  They feel as though it is saturated better and not as dry.  Ok, I'll run with it.  It is still recycled newspaper.

Well, the bid came in quite a bit less and they will be at my house first thing in the morning to insulate.  I took an opportunity today to take BEFORE Pictures.  I will share my Hall of Shame photos.

Poorly Insulated Attic

 

 

What you are seeing here is Vaulted Ceiling Knee Walls that butt up against an exterior wall.  Apparently the guys building my home many moons ago felt it would be best to just put plywood and no insulation in the back area.  The company I have hired will be putting a barrier to prevent Heat Gain from my covered porch area.

 

 

Poorly Insulated Attic

 

 

Here you are seeing more Hall of Shame, knee walls and vaulted ceilings.  Half of my home is vaulted ceiling.  The air conditioning ducts are only 3 years old though!

 

 

 

 

 

Poorly Insulated Attic

 

 

In case you are wondering, even with Fiberglass Insulation you should NOT be able to see the floor joists.  (2x6 beams that you walk on so you don't fall through the ceiling.)  Actually, you would need more Fiberglass Insulation to get the same R Value as Applegate or Celbar.

 

 

If you are reading this and want to know more about R-Value of insulation, fellow Rainer Jeff Geoghan wrote a GREAT post titled What's an "R" Value that does a phenomenal job explaining it.  Also, I recommend you go to Applegate Insulation's website and check out the videos.  If you need a teaser as to why...all I will say is that a Blow Torch is involved! 

Well, next post I will be able to say that I am a little closer to getting out of the Greenhouse Gas Hall of Shame.  I will post the After pictures and then track how my utility bills will drop over the summer months in Hot and Humid Houston, TX.  It is suspected that they will be cut in half.  Let's see!  By the way, total cost to get my home up to an R-38 and installing the Knee Wall Barrier to reduce heat gain...$965.  I will also receive a $300 Tax Credit at the end of the year.  That brings it down to $665.  Now, if my electric bill drops in half-My Return on Investment should be less than 6 months. 

One great way to go GREEN and get something for it...quickly!

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Tags:
houston tx
recycled newspaper
applegate insulation
greenhaus builders
diversified thermal
green homes
ecobroker

Comments 17 New Comment

Rainmaker
201,028
Stephanie Edwards-Musa
knitwit at thred UP
thredUP.com
Hey Ana, I will let everyone know what happens!
June 22, 2007 12:47 AM
Rainer
83,712
Mary Bigelow
2010 Letnulls Do It AGAIN!!!!
GLREA
Great post with good information. I love how you always give so many facts~
July 01, 2007 11:03 PM
Rainmaker
201,028
Stephanie Edwards-Musa
knitwit at thred UP
thredUP.com
Thanks Mary!
July 09, 2007 07:28 AM
Rainer
100,660
Cheri Smith
Realtor Prudential Gary Greene
Prudential Gary Greene, Cypress TX

That is cool. My house is 2400 sq feet and my last bill for June was $470 or was it $460. Doesn't matter once you get over $400...lol. I live in Hockley, by Waller. So same weather as you. We do have 8 people living here so that explains a lot of it. I too am trying to find ways to lower my light bill. Our A/c is 9 years old so I am thinking we will be upgrading soon.

July 17, 2007 05:48 PM
Rainmaker
201,028
Stephanie Edwards-Musa
knitwit at thred UP
thredUP.com
Hi Cheri'- Look in to doing this insulation also.  Sorry, I commented about the a/c system on a different post.  The green building one.  I think I ended up with an insulation that was about .63 per sq ft.  It took me up to an R-38 and I felt a difference within hours.  $300 tax credit at the end of the year so it took the cost down to $665.  I should capture that within..I'm thinking a year and a half at most.  I haven't received a bill to show the difference yet.  Keep an eye out for part 3.
July 17, 2007 08:42 PM
Rainmaker
201,028

Stephanie Edwards-Musa

knitwit at thred UP
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