Newer Homes Are Better Insulated
Minnesota homeowners preparing for winter find that newly constructed homes also tend to feature better insulation and other characteristics, such as double-pane windows, that improve the building envelope. How much house you can build on your budget is partly determined by operating costs, homeowners taxes, and lumber costs.
Destiny Homes follows the energy consumption in homes it has built. Results fit the national reports of lower heating bills in better insulated homes. Energy consumption has remained relatively stable for many years as increased energy efficiency has offset the increase in the square footage of the average size of home, according the Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS).
Home Heating Expenditures Are Expected To Increase
A forecast released by the EIA this month in Washington, titled EIA Short-Term Energy and Winter Fuels Outlook, says that "expenditures are expected to increase this winter (October 1– March 31) for all fossil fuels. The U.S. winter 2012-13 heating season forecast is about 2% warmer than the 30-year average, but 18% colder than last winter."
Well-Insulated Level Usually Depends On The Home's Age
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) created a posting called Home Occupants say new Homes are Better Insulated and Less Drafty. It drew conclusions from The Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS, produced by the Energy Information Agency in the U.S. Department of Energy) collects information on various housing characteristics, including the age of the structures. This identifies factors that impact newly constructed homes versus established homes.
Tabulated results were summarized saying that, overall, 38.6 percent of households in single-family residential detached homes indicated their homes are well insulated. However, as you might expect, the results vary depending on how old the homes. Single-family detached homes built before 1960 captured a well-insulated share of under 30 percent. After that, the share increases progressively as the homes get newer until well-insulated share reaches 67 percent for homes built after 2004.
Newer Homes Show A Definite Decline In Being Drafty
Overall, 52.0 percent of occupants report that single-family detached homes built in these climates are never too drafty. Once again, there is a substantial difference between newer and older homes. The “never drafty” share is roughly 37 percent for homes built before 1940, climbs to round 55 percent in the 1960s where it remains relatively stable until the 1990s. The “never drafty” share is about two-thirds for homes built from 1990 to 2004, and then jumps to 81.4 percent for homes built more recently than that.
Minnesota Home Energy Consumption
The United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) produces a well-documented summary of U.S. home energy consumption every four years. As Minneapolis area homeowners are busy scheduling annual furnace inspections and budgeting for winter months of heating, we have new energy consumption data released June 6, 2012. The survey, called the EIA Residential Energy Consumption Survey, covers all energy consumption, including appliances, and is organized by region and by climate (heating and cooling degree days). The consumption indicators for Minnesota homes show two clear trends:
An overall increase in energy efficiency in homes in recent years
A steady growth in the size of U.S. homes over the last several decades. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average home size in the United States was 2,330 ft2 in 2004, up from 1,400 ft2 in 1970.
"Nearly 39% of occupants of single-family homes consider their homes well insulated. Households reporting the highest level of satisfaction with the insulation of their homes were those who occupied homes built after 2004. The energy efficiency of most homes can be improved, substantially reducing costs and – perhaps even more important – creating a healthier and more comfortable home environment. Furthermore, such improvements can extend the life of the house itself, reducing home repair and maintenance costs." ~ NAHB
Insulation Comes In Different Types As Well As Ratings
loose fill - this is the fluffy sort that most homeowners are familiar with
liquid coatings - which are applied to surfaces with a roller or paint brush
foil radiant barriers - these are long sheets that can be applied in attics.
batts or blanket insulation - easier to install in attics
Minnesota Ranks 5th For Average Heating Days
Heating degree days represent the number of hours over the course of a year that the outside air temperature is below 65°F (then divided by 24 to tabulate in terms of the number of days). The most recent figures are from 2006 showing the number of average heating degree days for Minnesota was 7,434 giving Minnesota a State rank of 5.
Highlights In The Report
Average Expenditures For Households Forecast
EIA projects average household expenditures for heating oil and natural gas will increase by 19 percent and 15 percent, respectively, this winter (October 1 through March 31) compared with last winter. Projected household expenditures are 5 percent higher for electricity and 13 percent higher for propane this winter. Average expenditures for households that heat with heating oil are forecast to be higher than any previous winter on record (see EIA Short-Term Energy and Winter Fuels Outlook slideshow).
Projected Heating Degree Days
•The forecast for higher household expenditures primarily reflects a return to roughly normal winter temperatures east of the Rocky Mountains compared with last winter's unusual warmth. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) most recent projection of heating degree days, the Northeast, Midwest, and South will be about 2 percent warmer than the 30-year average (1971 - 2000), but still 20 percent to 27 percent colder than last winter, while the West is projected to be only about 1 percent colder than last winter.
Projected residential heating oil prices
•Projected residential heating oil prices average 2 percent higher and natural gas prices 1 percent higher this winter. Winter average electricity and propane prices average about 2 percent and 4 percent lower than last winter, respectively.
U.S. total crude oil production
•EIA expects U.S. total crude oil production to average 6.3 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2012, an increase of 0.7 million bbl/d from last year. Projected U.S. domestic crude oil production increases to 6.9 million bbl/d in 2013, the highest level of production since 1993.
Projected world oil-consumption-weighted real GDP
•Forecast U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) grows by 2.2 percent this year and by 1.7 percent next year. Projected world oil-consumption-weighted real GDP grows by 2.7 percent and 2.5 percent in 2012 and 2013, respectively, similar to last month's Outlook. EIA expects Brent crude oil prices to fall from recent highs over the rest of 2012, averaging $111 per barrel over the fourth quarter of 2012 and $103 per barrel in 2013. EIA expects WTI spot prices to average $93 per barrel in 2013, with the WTI discount to Brent narrowing to $9 per barrel by the end of 2013.
Natural gas working inventories
•Natural gas working inventories ended September 2012 at an estimated 3.7 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), about 8 percent above the same time last year. EIA expects the Henry Hub natural gas spot price, which averaged $4.00 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2011, to average $2.71 per MMBtu in 2012 and $3.35 per MMBtu in 2013.
Destiny Homes has been working in Minneapolis and the surrounding areas for over 35 years. We do so much more than new construction, renovation, remodels and design: we build friendships with our customers. If you are seeking an established reputable home builder in the Twin Cities area, give us a call at 952-934-5706. We welcome an opportunity to get to know you over a cup of coffee.
Download the Short-term Energy And Winter Fuels Outlook from the U.S. Energy And Information Administration (EIA).
Download the Minnesota Home Insulation Guide
Download the Guide To Air Sealing Your Home from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Butch and Liz Sprenger, owners of Destiny Homes Remodeling And Renovation Services Home page: www.destiny-homes.com. Service the entire Twin Cites Metro, from our main office in Deephaven, MN working as home Remodeler and owner of Destiny Homes.