Welcome to David City
Welcome to David City
To enhance the vibrant community of David City by providing a tremendous quality of life defined by outstanding educational and employment opportunities for all citizens through provisions of quality, cost effective governmental services that include infrastructure, utilities, and affordable housing.
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When it comes to energy efficiency in your home or business, experts often refer to the
“building envelope” as a place to start for energy saving opportunities. In simple terms, the building envelope includes physical components that separate indoors from outdoors. These usually include exterior walls, foundations, roofs, windows and doors.
Improving building envelope efficiency is generally a low-cost, high-return method for increasing a home’s efficient use of energy. When an owner incorporates these improvements as the structure is being built, small additional costs provide energy savings that pay for themselves year after year.
But what if your existing home is one of the 83.5 percent of homes in out-state Nebraska that are more than 20 years old? There are still excellent efficiency opportunities you can incorporate that will save you money for years to come!
Starting with least expensive improvements, tighten your place up. Air leaks or infiltration cause some of the biggest heat losses in older structures and can account for almost 30 percent of total heat lost. Check for cracks and gaps around all penetrations through insulated floors, exterior walls and ceilings. These can be caused by things such as utility lines, exhaust pipes, air conditioning line sets and plumbing. Look along the sill plate and band joist at the top of your foundation walls. Even examine fireplace dampers, attic access hatches and light fixtures in insulated ceilings.
How you seal these air leaks depends on their size and where gaps are. Caulk works best for cracks less than a quarter-inch wide. When purchasing caulks make sure they are recommended for the surface you are sealing. For larger cracks and gaps, expanding foam sealant is better as long as gaps and holes are protected from sunlight and moisture.
Then it is time to insulate. The typical home loses over 45 percent of its heat through external walls, roof and floor. Unfortunately, installing insulation into existing buildings can be difficult in many areas. In a much older home, if you are not sure if the walls are insulated, you might be able to tell by removing an outlet cover and looking into the wall cavity. Otherwise, find a closet (or cabinet) along an exterior wall and drill two quarter-inch holes, one above the other, in the wall about four inches apart. Shine a flashlight into one hole while looking into the other. If you can see your light, the wall is probably not insulated. If this is so, the best option is to bring in an insulation contractor to blow cellulose or fiberglass into the walls.
Adding insulation to an unheated attic can be much easier. If there is no floor in the attic, simply add more loose fill or unfaced fiberglass batt insulation. If you have a floor in the attic, you may need to remove the floor before adding insulation. In Nebraska, you should have 12 to 15 inches of evenly covering insulation to maximize cost-effectiveness.
While windows are often the first thing many people think about to save energy, they are usually the most expensive upgrade. They rarely pay back their cost quickly enough to be a good investment based on energy savings alone. If your existing windows are in fairly good shape, it will be more cost-effective to improve their efficiency with weather stripping and caulk. But if your existing windows only have single panes, have rotted or damaged wood, cracked glass, poorly fitting sashes or locks that do not work, you may be better off replacing them. Finally, if other reasons, such as comfort, appearance or cleaning convenience, justify replacing your windows, it is highly recommended to invest the small added cost in highly efficient windows rather than minimum-performance ones.
Wood is still the most common construction material for windows, and it insulates fairly well. Aluminum has been used extensively, but unless their design incorporates a thermal break, simple aluminum frames are very inefficient because aluminum easily conducts heat. Vinyl windows have become popular and some vinyl frames are insulated using fiberglass to reduce heat transfer better than wood.
As with many consumer products, always look for the ENERGY STAR® label to ensure you are purchasing an approved level of quality and efficiency. The best windows today insulate almost four times better than best available windows from fifteen years ago. When selecting, compare warranties against the loss of the air seal. Also, remember that it is crazy to spend thousands of dollars on new windows only to have an amateur contractor install them. High-performance windows cannot achieve their efficiency ratings if they are installed improperly with gaps and air leaks around the frame.
To find more ways to manage energy costs, visit with your local electric utility or Nebraska Public Power District. They are committed to helping customers make the most from the energy they use to keep their homes and businesses warm in the winter and cool in the summer. They may also offer EnergyWiseSM energy efficiency financial incentives to offset the cost of making your home or business more energy efficient. Contact your local utility or visit www.nppd.com to find out more.