Spray foam insulation is the most effective insulation types you can utilize to protect your home from heat or cold. Its properties act as an air sealant and insulator in one and its high R-value means it can be applied to the roof decking to slow the heat transfer into your home before it even enters the attic. Spray foam also saves you on your heating and cooling bills by allowing you to utilize a smaller HVAC system, eliminating the need to air seal the attic floor, and causing you fewer repairs on your HVAC system over its lifetime. If you want to know how much spray foam insulation will save on your energy bills there are several factors you need to consider to get an accurate savings estimate. The table below shows how much savings to expect from spray foam insulation for different applications.
As longtime energy auditors for both APS and SRP, Green ID has experience with spray foam in all types of homes. The factors that influence how much spray foam insulation will save you on your energy bills depend on the following
Age of Your Home
Your home’s age will affect how much cost savings you see from spray foam insulation. The insulation codes have changes a lot over the past 50 years and newer homes with R30 insulation will see lower cost savings after installing spray foam than homes built in the 1970s that have 3-4 inches of insulation. That is because well-insulated homes will already be somewhat protected from the outside elements and their energy bills will be lower because their base level of insulation is already helping. Block homes built before 1990 have no insulation in the walls so injecting spray foam into the block walls is going to have a huge benefit compared to homes with block walls built after 1990.
How much will spray foam on the roof decking save?
Newer homes or well insulated homes will see around a 10-15% reduction in their heating and cooling costs compared to a 20-30% reduction for older homes with little existing insulation or homes with fiberglass batt insulation.
How much will spray foam in block walls save?
Homes built before 1990 with block walls will see a 15-25% reduction in their heating and cooling costs when spray foam is installed in walls that see more than 2 hours of direct sunlight.
Whether You Have a Single-story or Two-story Home
Single story homes will benefit more from having spray foam than two story homes with typically double the attic square footage. Existing homes with vaulted ceilings and little attic space cannot be upgraded to spray foam over the vault because it’s impossible to access unless the drywall is removed. For vaulted ceilings, an air barrier can be created between the vaulted ceiling and the accessible attic, creating a conditioned attic area with spray foam and an unconditioned attic without spray foam. The attic with less area to apply spray foam insulation will also have lower cost savings than 100% accessible attic spaces.
Whether the Existing Insulation Is Left in the Attic Or Removed
Homeowners will save more money on their utility bills when the existing insulation is removed from the attic floor. This is because insulation left on the attic floor with spray foam on the roof deck traps the heat inside the attic during the summer, causing the temperature to increase much higher than if no insulation is present on the attic floor.
Homes in different climates can vary where heat loss and heat gain enter into the home, and then vary on how much energy can be saved with spray foam. For example, in Phoenix, despite our 118 degree summer days, the majority of our heat gain comes in through the windows! Not the attic, not the walls… the windows. So it becomes impossible to save 30% on your total energy bills with spray foam on the roof decking when only 15% of your heat gain is coming from the attic space. In Chicago, the walls are the greatest source of heat loss and so wall insulation is the best upgrade you can choose for spray foam.
Deciding if Spray Foam is Right for You
If you feel as though your home is perpetually losing you money due to inadequate insulation, we can help! By starting with a simple Energy Audit from Green ID, we will perform multiple tests to identify and recommend upgrades to your insulation and airflow. Depending on the factors outlines above, spray foam insulation may be the right next step for you. Installation can also be done safely and effectively so you can begin to breathe easier. Contact us today to get started.
APS 2018 Rate Hike
APS customers are in for a big surprise this summer as their energy bills will spike even if there energy usage goes down because of dramatic rate increases by the utility company. The Arizona Corporation Commission has already approved utility rates that increase APS customer’s energy bills by as much as 70% (see below for calculation) by May 1st, 2018. APS states that the rate hike will better reflect the true cost of serving customers during peak hours but it will also offset the lower energy bills solar customers have that APS says is eating into their bottom line even as they profit from removing program to help customers save money on their energy bills through efficiency upgrades. You may have seen or heard APS promoting their rate changes as giving customers more options but in fact, they are mandating that every customer choose a new rate and will not allow any rate plans to be grandfathered in and the rate changes homeowners are going to see are amazing.
What Are The New APS Rate Plans
Below is a table of APS frozen rate plans which will expire by May 1, 2018.
Below is a table of APS’s new rate plans. You can also view APS's new rate plans here.
The lowest on-peak and off-peak rates will come with a demand charge that penalizes customers for using more energy during the hottest part of the day.
Let’s say you had the ECT-2 Combined Advantage with peak hours from 12-7 pm with APS. Now, APS wants to switch you to the Saver Choice Plus with peak hours from 3-8 pm. Look at the table below to see what change you could expect.
That’s a $54 increase or 16% additional costs for using the exact same energy you were last year. Not only is the rate increase dramatic, the new rate punishes those who need the house at a cooler temperature for medical reasons or if you are like me and have teenagers in the house that don’t care what the thermostat is set to.
What is a Demand Charge?
A demand is a unit of measure APS and SRP use to say how much energy you are using at one time. Your demand increases when you are using multiple appliances at one time. If you have your dishwasher, dryer, water heater and AC running, your demand much bigger than someone running only their water heater. Obviously in Arizona, the air conditioner is the majority of our demand and when we need it the most during the hottest part of the day, that’s when APS penalizes us the hardest for staying comfortable. APS has a demand rate fee for each unit of demand so if your home averages 5 Demand Units, you would be charged $8.40 x 5 = $42. APS customers get their demand averaged every hour. SRP customers get their demand rate averaged every 30 minutes. The demand is an average so if you go above a demand of 4 one time but average a 3 in an hour period, you will be charged a 3.
How Much Energy Do Your Appliances Use?
How to Prepare for APS Demand Charge
There is no way around the monstrous APS rate increase but there are ways to prepare and make the best of a bad situation.
Compare APS Plans to Predict Your Energy Bills Under Different Rate Plans
Want to know what your energy bills are going to be under APS’s new rate plans? Use our tool to compare plans to see which plan makes the most sense for you. I’ve created a handy payment estimator that can predict your energy bills and help you to decide which rate plan is best and strategies to best manage your demand rate during peak hours. Simply fill energy your highest and lowest energy bill below and we will create a customized prediction table, recommendation and plan of action for you.
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