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<p>(BPT) - It&rsquo;s now easier than ever for homeowners to transform their homes into models of green living thanks to the growing availability of affordable, energy-smart building products and materials. From replacing incandescent light bulbs to reviewing the energy rating on new appliances, more homeowners are making informed decisions on how to cut energy consumption and boost efficiency.</p><p>Homeowners who are serious about boosting their home&rsquo;s energy efficiency should consider working with a certified Home Energy Rater. These professionals conduct a series of tests to assess a home&rsquo;s energy efficiency to provide an overall efficiency rating in much the same way that appliances are rated. Armed with this information, homeowners can make home improvement decisions that further boost their home&rsquo;s energy efficiency.</p><p>According to the U.S Department of Energy, heating and cooling accounts for about 56 percent of the energy use in a typical U.S. home. While using smart thermostats can help correct daily energy use, homeowners should consider how thoroughly sealed their home truly is. For instance, the amount of air escaping from the home via cracks and gaps within the building envelope can have a significant impact on the overall efficiency of the heating and cooling system.</p><p>Why does this matter? Escaping air means the furnace or air-conditioner must work overtime to compensate and maintain a comfortable living temperature. As a result, energy consumption remains high, monthly bills continue to climb and any efficiency achieved through other methods is done in vain.</p><p>Understanding the factors that contributes to air leakage is essential for improving efficiency and lowering monthly bills. One of the key areas to consider is the home&rsquo;s insulation. While some homeowners may think simply layering more insulation on top of existing insulation may do the trick, typically these traditional insulation types are unable to provide a thorough air seal or promote better heating and cooling efficiency. In fact, all the small gaps left behind by regular insulation materials like fibreglass can add up quickly.</p><p>One effective consideration is replacing traditional insulation with a high-performance spray foam insulation. Spray foam insulation, such as <a href="http://www.icynene.com/" rel="nofollow">Icynene</a>, both air-seals and insulates to stop air leakage from occurring, allowing homeowners to reduce energy consumption, effectively control their indoor environments and live greener.</p><p>When installed, spray foam insulation expands to completely seal a home&rsquo;s walls, floors and ceilings to prevent air leakage. Insulation experts from Icynene note that quality spray foam insulation can noticeably reduce heating and cooling costs, in some cases by up to 50 percent. More information on how spray foam insulation can help improve household energy efficiency and reduce air leakage is available at icynene.com.</p> <img src='http://www.brandpointcontent.com/printsite/ImageWriter.ashx?articleid=17449&memberid=8729' border='0' width='1' height='1' />

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