Sustainable Arlington

An Envision Arlington committee & a Mass. Climate Action Network (MCAN) chapter

Folder Making Your Home Energy Efficient . . .


default 1. Home Energy Assessment (aka Audit) . . .

can help you understand the whole picture of your home's energy use, comfort, and safety. An assessment can help you determine how much energy your home uses, where your home is inefficient, and which problem areas and fixes you should prioritize to save energy and improve the comfort of your home.  A home energy assessment should be your first step before making energy-saving home improvements, as well as before adding a renewable energy system to your home.

Professional Home Energy Assessments

Find an Energy Assessor

The U.S. Department of Energy does not offer energy assessments. Visit RESNET or the Building Performance Institute to find a professional assessor near you.

U.S. Dept. of Energy (

default 1. How to Make Your House Carbon Free! [podcast]

Dr. Asa Hopkins, Synpase Energy Economics, talks to Energy Nerd Show & Tell, 8.6.2020.

default A House Needs to Breathe... or Does It? [book review]

A House Needs to Breathe... Or Does it? by Allison Bailes III, October 2022

A serious book about making our homes energy efficient and electrifying them. It's also funny and accessible. 

Review by Lloyd Alter. "In the conclusion, Bailes nails the real importance of this book. 'We don't all have to become experts in building science. But we need to know enough to find the right companies to design, build, maintain, and remodel our homes.'"

default Blower Door Tests . . .

Diagnostic tool that determines how much air is entering or escaping from your home. []

Professional energy assessors use blower door tests to help determine a home's airtightness. Our blower door instructional video illustrates how a blower door test is performed, and how your contractor utilizes the diagnostic information provided to identify areas of air leakage in your home, and make energy-saving improvements. 

default Building Moisture Control . . .

Controlling moisture can make your home more energy-efficient, less costly to heat and cool, more comfortable, and prevent mold growth.

Properly controlling moisture in your home will improve the effectiveness of your air sealing and insulation efforts, and these efforts in turn will help control moisture. The best strategies for controlling moisture in your home depend on your climate and how your home is constructed. Proper ventilation should also be part of a moisture control strategy.

Read further for Foundation Moisture Control, Moisture Control in Walls, and to learn about Vapor Barriers,

U.S. Dept of Energy (

default Caulking & Weatherstripping Don't Fix the Big Air Leaks

Tagged in airleaks, buildingefficiency, buildingenvelope

Energy Vanguard is an excellent source of information. In the linked article, Allison Bailes (physics PhD who explains building science topics clearly) says that caulking and weatherstripping aren't bad things to do, but likely won't make a big difference.  "The bigger leaks are in your crawl space or basement and in your attic."  

Read more: Winterizing Your Home? Don’t Caulk the Windows!

default Energy Vanguard

Tagged in buildingscience, energyefficiency

Energy Vanguard’s mission is to turn houses into high performance homes. We do this by:

Good blog:

Extensive HVAC Design resources:

default HVAC Design Matters

Tagged in energyefficiency, HVACdesign

Learn from Energy Vanguard why Heating, Ventilation and Cooling system design matters.

If you want your heating, cooling, and ventilating system to perform well, you need to start with good HVAC design.  Here’s why:

  • You’ll get a new heating and cooling system that is sized properly.  Most new air conditioners are oversized, which means they don’t dehumidify as well as they should and can break down sooner.
  • You’ll get a distribution system that delivers the right amount of conditioned air to each room.  Many contractors skimp on this part of the HVAC system.  Even if they start right with a true Manual J heating & cooling load calculation, they often don’t use Manuals S, D, and T for the equipment selection and duct design.
  • Your home will be comfortable and efficient.  We perform detailed calculations to ensure it.  Read more.

default Insulation . . .

Insulation in your home provides resistance to heat flow and lowers your heating and cooling costs. Properly insulating your home not only reduces heating and cooling costs, but also improves comfort.  Installation methods, materials and location all matter.  Make sure you know what you're geting and why.

  • How Insulation Works
  • R-Values
  • Types of Insulation 
  • Insulation Materials

default Renters and Weatherization: A Match Made by Mass Save

  Chase Mcapherson, Jan. 21, 2022, NEEP Blog,

 Mass Save’s No-Cost Home Energy Assessments for Renters

default U.S. Dept. of Energy: Air Sealing Your Home . . .

An important, early step to higher home energy efficiency. 

Reducing the amount of air that leaks in and out of your home is a cost-effective way to cut heating and cooling costs, improve durability, increase comfort, and create a healthier indoor environment. Caulking and weatherstripping are two simple and effective air-sealing techniques that offer quick returns on investment, often one year or less. Caulk is generally used for cracks and openings between stationary house components such as around door and window frames, and weatherstripping is used to seal components that move, such as doors and operable windows.  [But see above: Caulking & Weatherstripping Don't Fix the Big Leaks]

Read more:

Air Leakage, Tips for Sealing Air Leaks

Detecting Air Leaks

U.S. Dept. of Energy

default Weatherization . . .

Saves energy and can make your home more comfortable.

Conduct a home energy audit to start building your strategy for weatherizing your home, then learn about air sealing, insulation, moisture control, and ventilation.

Weatherization Assistance

Weatherization assistance is offered by states; eligibility requirements vary. Find out how to apply for weatherization assistance.

U.S. Dept. of Energy (