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Illinois Country Living

Doug Rye, licensed architect and the popular host of the "Home Remedies" radio show

Energy Solutions

The 10 Commandments Of Energy Efficiency
Energy Commandment 1: Thou shalt stop air infiltration

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas’ Energy Efficiency Makeover project is complete and the results are amazing. I think this project is one of the best things the cooperatives have ever done. Remember, the purpose of the makeover project is to teach ALL of the cooperatives’ members how to use electricity wisely.

Energy efficiency is one of the most important keys to solving our energy issues.

On my recent trips to Missouri and Iowa, where I presented several seminars about energy efficiency, my wife and I visited several churches on Sunday mornings. On one of those visits, the pastor’s sermon was on the 10 Commandments. Well, I, like many of you, have known the 10 Commandments since I was a child. I have always thought that, whether you liked them or not, the 10 Commandments are easily understood. That shall not steal, means thou shalt not steal. As we were leaving the church I said to my wife, “You know, energy efficiency is not difficult, either. I think I will write the 10 Commandments of Energy Efficiency.” Yes, she did give me that, “oh my” look.

I also told you last month that we were going to take a look at each step of the improvements made at the home of Carroll and Sue Luten of Donaldson, the winners of the Energy Efficiency Makeover Contest. We want to show you each step so you will have a better understanding of how to make such changes to your home, if needed. So, let’s learn and practice the 10 Commandment of the Energy Makeover Project together.

Energy Commandment 1: Thou shalt stop air infiltration. The Lutens’ home had 1.8 natural air changes per hour of air infiltration when it was first tested in August. That means that about 180 percent of all the air in the house was being replaced by outside air every hour that there was wind blowing or if there was a significant temperature difference between the inside temperature and the outside temperature, like we have here in the winter or summer. (Remember our discussion about the Delta T?) This infiltration rate is the same thing as having a door and a window open in the house 24/7.

As the winners the Luten’s received energy efficiency home improvements valued at about $50,000. The 1,517 sq. ft. home had numerous air leaks. After the improvements were made, a final blower door test revealed the house was down to .7 natural air exchanges per hour. That is a major improvement, resulting in a far more comfortable home and significantly lower humidity levels.

So what did it take to fix this air leakage? Those working on the house used about 70 tubes of caulk, 50 cans of foam and lots of rigid and loose insulation. Plus, there was a whole lot of elbow grease. But guess what? YOU CAN DO IT, TOO. And we’ll talk more about how to do that next month as we discuss where you need to check for areas of air infiltration in your house. There are more places than you might think!

Doug Rye, a licensed architect living in Saline County and the popular host of the “Home Remedies” radio show, works as a consultant for electric cooperatives to promote energy efficiency to cooperative members. To order Doug’s video, call Doug at 1-501-653-7931. More energy-efficiency tips, as well as Doug’s columns, can also be found at

More Information:

Doug Rye, the “Doctor of Energy Efficiency-the King of Caulk and Talk” can be heard on several different Illinois radio stations. Or you can go to his Web site at, e-mail him at, or call 888-Doug-Rye or 501-653-7931. You can also sign up for a free newsletter and order his “how to” videotapes.


© 2016 Illinois Country Living Magazine.
Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives

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