Obama — “Insulation is Sexy”

by Katy on December 16, 2009 · 9 comments


I have spent the last two days giving interviews about the No Heat Challenge, and pretty much feel like an authority on staying warm in a drafty old house at this point. Yes, I’d like to experience what it is to stay warm in a non-drafty house, but we simply don’t have the money to winterize the house at this time.

But it looks like the U.S. government is putting together an incentive plan to help us get our homes properly insulated. A Cash for Caulkers, if you will.

President Barack Obama spoke yesterday in a Virginia Home Depot about this tentative plan:

“I know the idea may not be very glamorous, although I get really excited about it. We were at the roundtable and somebody said, “Insulation’s not sexy,” and I disagree. Frank [Frank Blake, CEO of Home Depot], don’t you think? Insulation is sexy stuff. Here’s what’s sexy about it: saving money. Think about it this way. If you haven’t upgraded your home yet, it’s not just heat or cool air that’s escaping, it’s energy and money that you are wasting. If you saw $20 bills just sort of floating through the window, up into the atmosphere, you’d try and figure out how you were going to keep that. But that’s exactly what’s happening because of that lack of efficiency in our buildings.”

I’m apt to agree with Obama, as I’m pretty darned excited about the possibility of getting a financial incentive to help with the winterization, (and frankly summerization) of my 96-year-old home. Insulation is sexy.

Click here to watch the video of President Obama giving his “Insulation is Sexy” speech. I especially like how he ties together how this program would provide jobs, support American businesses, decrease energy usage and help consumers to save money. An easy sell for me.

Would you take part in a Cash for Caulkers incentive program? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen@TheFrugalGirl December 16, 2009 at 2:41 am

We insulated our house a few months before the last deal like this came around. Sigh. We have all new windows, all new doors, insulation in our attic, and no tax rebate to show for it.

A new fridge will be coming to live at our house next week, though, and we are getting a rebate from our electric company for that purchase (the new one is energy star). The old one is near dead, which is why we are replacing it.


Kristen@TheFrugalGirl December 16, 2009 at 2:42 am

I can’t complain too much tax-wise, though, because we do get a pretty sweet deal with the child tax credit (one of the few times having four children saves us money! lol)


Non Consumer Girl December 16, 2009 at 3:14 am

We had our home insulated under a Federal Government Scheme in Austalia a couple of months ago.

It cost us nothing, as the Federal Government is trying to get as many households as possible to have their homes insulated, and is providing free insulation up to a certain threshold ( I think it is around $1200).

A number of years ago, we had spent around $3000 to have our previous home insulated.

Insulation really does make a big difference to heating and cooling energy use.


WilliamB December 16, 2009 at 3:20 am

I would if it made financial sense. The problem is that these refunds/credits/reductions aren’t reliable. In recent years the rebate has lasted only until the fund runs out of money and there’s no way to predict that you, of a certainly, be one of the ones who gets it.

I’ve had an energy audit done on my house (paid by my county from an impartial third party) and most of the items will takes 15+ years to pay off. New windows would take 25 years. Tearing out the walls to properly insulate them 15 plus a great deal of mental time and trouble. I’ve already insulated the attic with R-35 insulation (the inspector about fainted at the sight, hee hee). Insulating the outlets would save about $1/year.

Sigh. It’s enough to make one consider building one’s own house, because then the walls could be insulated easily and the right windows installed cheaply. Why don’t builders do it right the first time? (I know the answer in my case: 50+ years ago it wasn’t a big deal.)


Carla December 16, 2009 at 7:24 am

We built this house in the ’90s and my husband was careful to see that it was properly insulated and caulked, as well as do a couple of “extra” things. A simple idea he got from HIS dad was to nail a thin layer of foil-backed insulation against the roof ceiling in the attic. Our builder protested that it was wasted money and would do no good, but changed his tune as the workers installed it on a blistering Texas day. Before they even finished installing all the sheets of insulation they could tell how it helped shield from the sun’s rays. Similarly it helps reduce heat loss. This is in addition to the usual blown insulation on the attic floor and insulation in the walls, including the garage, which usually has none either over it or on the walls.


Cate December 16, 2009 at 8:02 am

Yes! Well, we live in an apartment, so WE probably wouldn’t do it, but we’d certainly ask our landlord to! Our apartment’s really a converted house, and it’s old and very drafty. We put some plastic over the French windows in our daughter’s room this weekend and the plastic sticks out like sails! We were appalled. The room is about 5 degrees warmer now. So good windows and doors are definitely worth it!

Also, I’m really tickled to hear Obama say, “Insulation is sexy stuff.”


Lisa December 16, 2009 at 11:07 am

Insulation IS sexy stuff!!! Not only does it save you money but allows you to wear fewer clothes too. 😉 Now that’s sexy! Our century old house was weatherized free of cost last year through a government program. They added some insulation to the attic and installed some storm windows, smoke alarms, and new doors. We had done a lot of work prior to this on our own. It’s made a huge difference. When you’re broke or rent from an uncooperative landlord, there are still things you can do to improve your home’s energy efficiency . Put bulky furniture along outer walls. It helps. Roll old magazines around water pipes and secure them with duct tape. Make fabric draft snakes for doors and windows. Use plastic sheeting. Install heavy drapes or line the ones you already have. I’m sure there are plenty of other ideas that I haven’t mentioned, but you get the idea. The government won’t reward your self help ,but you’ll still reap benefits.


Angela December 16, 2009 at 11:23 am

Yes, it’s a great line, “Insulation is sexy.” On top of his smarts and charm, his humor really gets me.

Yes, we would take part in this kind of program. However, my husband has just finished installing the last of the replacement windows (he mostly refurbished except the ones that were too far gone), so I don’t know that we’d have much left to do. We also live in an old “money pit” of a house, so there are always things to do. We’d certainly check into it.


Con December 16, 2009 at 4:21 pm

I think maybe people think it is more expensive than they think to insulate. I live in Canada and we have a similar incentive right now. My cousin just insulated his 100+ year old house. The cost to hire someone to do it was over $2000.00, they opted to DIY and it cost $250.00! They can’t believe they didn’t do this earlier, warmer and quieter!


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