By Chris Balzer, ECES

Welcome 2021! Last year was certainly a unique one. Once driving to the bank with my son, he said, “Dad, I remember when you couldn’t wear masks and hats while entering the bank.” Even with such a unique year, a recent survey of 531 U.S. adults showed the top resolutions for 2021 are to exercise more, eat healthier and save money. A look back 20 years, and CNN’s poll showed the top resolutions were to get out of debt, lose weight and develop a healthy habit (quit smoking). It’s not surprising that the top resolutions are similar year after year, because they all have great intentions and actually go hand and hand. Let’s look at eating healthier and exercising. Eating healthy can mean cooking more at home, which saves money. Eating healthy also could cause fewer medications or doctor visits, which saves money. The same with exercising—developing a good exercise plan will make you healthier and could cause fewer medications or doctor visits saving you money. My grandmother once said, “It’s better to spend money at the grocery store on healthy foods than at the doctor’s office.”

Another way to save money, which is always on the top of my mind and typically not on most, is to increase efficiency and tighten the envelope of our homes. Tightening the envelope is not a phrase from Tom Wolfe’s novel the Right Stuff, but a term used to describe a system. The building envelope is the physical barrier between the exterior and interior environments enclosing a structure (your home). Generally, the building envelope is comprised of a series of components and systems such as a roof, walls, windows and a foundation. These systems protect the interior from the effects of the environment like precipitation, wind, temperature, humidity and ultraviolet radiation. One function of the building envelope is to control these effects between the interior and exterior of the building. When there is missing or compacted insulation or unsealed windows, doors and attic penetrations, your building envelope is comprised wasting energy and comfort.

If your home is older than 10 years, you most likely don’t have enough insulation to meet today’s guidelines. Prior insulation code for this area was R-19 (roughly 6.5” of insulation); now the new code is R-30 (roughly 10.5” of insulation). That’s a 61% increase. Why the increase? Because we know that traditional insulation has trouble keeping our homes comfortable and the only solution was to add more insulation. More states are requiring the use of a reflective radiant barrier insulation installed on the attic rafters. Reflective radiant barriers reflect 97% of radiant heat in your attic, lowering the attic temperature by 40 to 50 degrees in the summer allowing your insulation and ductwork to perform better, saving you money and increasing your comfort. It’s all about tightening the envelope to increase efficiency and comfort. If one of your resolutions is to save money this year, schedule an inspection to know exactly where your home could improve its envelope.

May success knock on your door, all your joys multiply and you and your loved ones stay healthy. Happy 2021!

Chris Balzer is founder and president of Emerald Coast Energy Solutions, a Smile Provider Company. We provide smiles to our customers after installing our high energy efficient products, increasing comfort and lowering energy bills. For more information on how to save and become energy efficient, schedule an inspection by calling (850) 588-2870, visit or email and “Beat the Heat.”