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Insulate and Weatherize: For Energy Efficiency at Home (Taunton's Build Like a Pro) Paperback – October 18, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bruce Harley is a noted expert on energy-efficient residential construction and renovation. A long-time engineer, he has helped diagnose and repair such varied problems as building air leakage, indoor air quality, HVAC system failures, plus combustion and moisture issues. Bruce has also led national seminars on energy-efficient residential construction, codes, building science, and mechanical systems.
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Product Details

  • Series: Taunton's Build Like a Pro
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press; Rev Exp edition (October 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600854680
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600854682
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 9.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

***NOTE*** the new edition of Insulate and Weatherize is listed as a _new_ product under "Insulate and Weatherize: For Energy Efficiency at Home" at amazon.com/gp/product/1600854680
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In the fifth grade I did a science fair project on solar power, which was fun and exciting: among other things, I put together a solar cell to charge a battery-powered matchbox car. After that, I didn't think very much about energy--until I started working for Conservation Services Group (CSG) in 1990.

After studying electrical engineering in college, and working for a few years designing circuits and writing software, I wanted to use my engineering skills to more directly promote social and/or environmental benefits. That's when I found CSG, and started doing energy audits and learning about the science of energy in buildings. Having a background in engineering and physics was essential for me to get up to speed quickly and really understand what I was doing.

Since then, I have built a solar-powered home, written three books on energy efficiency, and conducted hundreds of trainings on residential energy efficient design and renovation, energy ratings, energy codes, HVAC systems, and green building. I've been actively involved in RESNET as a board member (1999-2009) and on the technical committee (as chair from 2005-2009). And in my job at CSG, I help the people who run energy efficiency programs all over the country make smart decisions about how to help homeowners. This ranges from analyzing savings, answering questions about "how to", developing energy modeling/auditing software, doing research on developing technology, and applying a science-based approach to make sure that we achieve real savings in tens of thousands of homes every year. It's exciting work, and it's real--and the hands-on experience of over two decades is central to the how-to writing in my books.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Dale Yuzuki on January 28, 2013
Format: Paperback
Several months ago a neighbor strongly recommended that we get an energy audit. In the state I live in, the $300 fee is actually covered by the local utility company, and they will also rebate 50% of the cost for insulation and air-sealing (up to $2,000).

Well we did the audit, and were surprised at how expensive the quote was. Some $2,700 for the insulation and as much for the air sealing, so after the rebate the cost to us was about $3,500. (This is for a relatively large house, 3600sf on two floors, so about 1800sf of attic.)

The report was complete with Infra Red photos of two open chases into the attic, as well as other non-sealed areas including basement rim joists (I had to look up that one), and was complete with our historical electricity and gas bills for the last year (that I provided) in addition to an estimate of the savings and time to recoup the investment.

Trying to get another contractor to do an estimate was difficult (they all wanted to charge me money to come out for the inspection and testing, understandable but I already got one rebate from the utility and it isn't good for two) and they wouldn't bid on just another contractors report. On top of that the utility will only rebate to contractors doing the work, not to the DIY'er.

So after a lot of research online and offline (the local library), I came across this book, and it was exactly what I was looking for - practical guidelines and in-depth information for the where the sealing needs to be done in order of importance, and practical tips on exactly how to get it done without a lot of headache.

Not to say it is easy work - I'm spending an enormous amount of time in the attic and all day yesterday in the basement - but the results have been noticeable.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bstone on March 13, 2013
Format: Paperback
Home energy efficiency is a popular subject these days. My local library had maybe two dozen books on the subject, mostly shallow exploitation books telling you to turn lights out when you leave the room, turn your thermostat down when you go on vacation for 4 weeks, buy some CFLs, stuff fiberglass batts in your attic, and then pat yourself on the back. Oh, they also tell you about EnergyStar appliances and solar panels.

There are two energy efficiency books on the market that are different and much, much better. This is one of them. The other is called "Energy Efficiency" by John Krigger and Chris Dorsi. The book being reviewed here is "Insulate & Weatherize" by Bruce Hartley -- second edition. Hartley gets deep into energy retrofits for existing homes. He starts with a superb chapter on understanding energy basics. This chapter sets the tone for the whole book. It's thorough, accurate, and detailed enough to see actual application in an old house like mine. I finally understood the difference between radiant, convection, and conduction heat transfer. Next are chapters on Air Sealing, Ventilation, Insulation, Windows, Heating Systems, Cooling, Hot Water, Renovations of old houses, and finally the glamour stuff on electronics and solar. If you note the order of the chapters, you can tell he has his priorities straight.

This book is in the Taunton's Build it Like a Pro series and is aimed at do it yourselfers. The content demonstrates this by focusing on things a skilled homeowner can do -- like air seals, blowing loose insulation into an attic, installing a vent fan. If you've done any research online, asked builders, or talked to folks at building centers you know that everybody has an opinion about products and processes. Hartley has his preferences certainly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L. B. on December 7, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There is lots of information in this book, but for the most part it is too vague to help making decisions. The book avoids discussing any numbers, and its proscriptions are extremely vague. In some places the information is omitted, but no references are given where the interested reader can turn themselves to. Here are some examples:

On page 11, book discusses "mean radiant temperature". It gets the definition slightly wrong (it is not the average of temperatures weighted by surface area, but the average of fourth powers of temperatures in Kelvin weighted by subtended angles). Then it says that a room with a mean radiant temperature of 63f and air temperature of 70f is too cold, and the thermostat would need to be set higher. How much higher? In other words, how do we subjectively perceive the balance between air temperature and radiant temperature, and what is comfortable? The answer is not in the book (it is in ASHRAE Standard 55-2010). In particular, this temperature would be comfortable for a person in motion.

On page 25, the book advises avoiding pay-back calculations and recommends considering instead the cost of financing a loan vs. energy savings. However, the book lacks any information on how to compute the said savings. Also, this view is too simplistic, since some of the investments that book discusses (mechanical ventilation system, heating/cooling systems) come with non-negligible maintenance and depreciation costs (i.e., the lifetime of the heating system might be less than the loan term).

On page 31, the book speaks about venting the underside of the roof deck in "heavy snow areas". What qualifies as a heavy snow here? How do I tell if my house needs venting?
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