Installing new flooring into your home is a big decision, so it’s critical that you make sure that you get the most bang for your buck. Aesthetics are an important factor in choosing the right flooring for you, as are durability and functionality, but don’t forget about energy efficiency!
Energy efficiency is an often-overlooked factor involved in the flooring decision. Indeed, crunching the number of how your choice of flooring will affect your energy bill is not quite a sexy as the instant gratification of installing a brand new floor THIS WEEK! But it’s a practical concern, and you will be well-rewarded for the time you spend figuring this out.
Most floors don’t hold much insulation value. Think about waking up in the morning and putting your feet down on ceramic tile flooring. It’s cold! Floors that can contain heat don’t just save you money, but actively make your floors (and your home) feel warm and cozy.
Today, we’ll talk about a few flooring options that will, over time, pay for themselves in savings on energy bills. With these sorts of investments, it’s all about the long game!
Best Floors For Energy Efficiency
1. Combine Carpet with Dense Polyurethane Padding
The first thing that you’re going to need to know, is that insulative values are expressed with an “R” value. The typical R-value for your run-of-the-mill carpeting falls somewhere between 1.1 and 1.5, and the typical R-value for polyurethane padding tends to be a solid 1.5.
Now, an R-value of 1.5 is actually pretty solid. The aforementioned ceramic tile clocks in with an R-value of 0.02, to give you some perspective. However, with a little engineering, we can do much better than 1.5. By combining standard carpeting with a dense under-layer of polyurethane padding, it’s reasonable to expect an R-value as high as 3.0.
The higher your R-value, the lower your energy bill. 3.0 is a pretty high R-value, and will certainly translate to significant savings over time.
2. Strategically Placed Area Rugs
Okay, so maybe you aren’t ready to install new floors just yet. Installing new floors is a big decision! We understand, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to conserve energy.
If you live in a house full of non-insulative flooring materials like tile or vinyl, you can mitigate some of the heat loss your home is experiencing by investing in expansive area rugs. Placing these rugs on heat-loss-prone areas of your home will do an excellent job of conserving heat and
3. Wood + Insulated Padding
Everybody loves a good hard wood floor. Indeed, the clean, classic aesthetics of a wood floor are hard to beat. However, for all of its visual appeal, wood flooring is not a stellar option when it comes to conserving heat, but don’t give up hope on the cozy log cabin of your dreams just yet…
You can significantly increase the R-value of wood flooring with a simple underlayment. A layer of insulated padding beneath your floorboards is a great way to get the best of both worlds. This will let you keep your hardwood flooring, but increase your energy efficiency. This means you’ll save money on your energy bill!
4. Heated Flooring
Since heated flooring is a relatively new technological advancement, let’s start by addressing something a bit more elementary: what heated flooring is.
Heated flooring is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. A radiant heating system delivers heat directly to the floor so that it is pleasantly warm to walk on in bare feet. Say goodbye to the shock of cold floors in the dead of winter! This is a luxury item, to be sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s financially irresponsible. Quite the opposite in fact.
If you can stomach the up-front cost of this item, it will save you money in the long run. Heated flooring is more efficient than traditional baseboard board heating techniques and it is more efficient than forced-air systems (think heat vents) because it completely solves the issue of duct-loss. In addition, heated flooring can help you decrease dependence on other, less efficient heating systems altogether. Indeed, heated flooring controls not only the temperature of your floors, but of the room itself. Expect to be receiving lower energy bills!
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