• Improving Garage Energy Efficiency

    July 14, 2016 | Blog
  • All too often, garages are the largest source of energy loss in our homes. But a few improvements—some quite simple—can save you money in energy costs and create a more comfortable space to enjoy for more than just parking your car.

    Install an Energy Efficient Door (or Upgrade Yours)

    Single-layer metal doors—steel or aluminum—are great conductors of heat energy. And that means that they are terrible insulators, so your conditioned or heated air is quickly lost. The best option is to replace the door with an insulated model. If that’s not in the budget right now, applying bubble foil or foam board insulation to the inside of the door can be a good short-term improvement.

    Insulate the Walls

    Even with a well-insulated door, if the walls aren’t properly insulated, it won’t be very effective. Fiberglass batt insulation is DIY-friendly (be sure to wear gloves and eye protection). Blow-in insulation is another good option if the wall framing isn’t accessible. Many garages don’t have windows, but if yours does, make sure they are well-sealed and insulated. If a window is in need of replacement, consider whether you need a window at all—filling in the space can increase not only the insulating properties of the garage, but also its security.

    Seal Up Leaks

    Use caulk or expandable foam to seal where the wall framing meets the concrete floor. Add a rubber threshold where the bottom of the door meets the floor. And seal and insulate around outlets and light switches; this keeps air from seeping in or out on exterior walls, but also keeps carbon monoxide from car exhaust from seeping into your living area on interior walls.

    Insulate the Floor

    For a garage that will be multipurpose—a workshop, an extension of your living area, entertaining space—insulating your floor with rigid foam, framework, and plywood may be a significant improvement in the energy efficiency and comfort of your garage. That may not be an option for your residence, but garage floor coverings can also provide some isolation from the concrete. Be sure to also seal cracks in the concrete, not only before covering it with insulation or floor mats, but just to prevent structural problems and additional energy loss.

    Add Solar Panels

    Supplement your electricity with a few solar panels to supply your garage with power. Using just a few should keep installation costs down, but will make a nice improvement in your monthly bill.

    Upgrade Lighting and Appliances

    Swap out your light bulbs, including in the automatic garage door opener, with energy-saving LED bulbs. The cost of LEDs has gone down dramatically over the past couple years, and they last for years! You may also have a spare refrigerator or freezer, washer or dryer, or other appliances out in the garage that may be due for an upgrade. Energy efficiency in these appliances has significantly improved, especially if you choose ENERGY STAR®-compliant models.

    An energy efficient garage helps support your energy-efficient home, save you money, and provides a comfortable multipurpose space for living, working, playing, and entertaining, in addition to protecting the family car.