Special Considerations for Insulating Homes and Buildings in Florida

Much of the information about home energy use that you may find on websites such as Energy.gov isn’t really applicable to Florida’s climate. The biggest difference has to do with the annual cost of energy for air conditioning. According to the Energy.gov website, home cooling represents only 6% of annual energy use for the average U.S. home. If you’ve ever seen how a Florida home electric bill changes during the summer months, you know that number is way off for Florida.

Obviously, warmer average air temperatures are a big reason why cooling costs are higher in Florida. But humidity is another big difference. Even when the average summer air temperature is about the same for Florida and a northern state, the cooling cost for a Florida home will still be significantly higher. Why is this?

Humidity. Florida has a very humid climate. According to the Florida Solar Energy Center, about 25% of the load on a typical Florida home’s air conditioning system is due to moisture in the outside air, which infiltrates into the home through cracks, joints and gaps in ceilings, walls and windows.

Summer cooling uses the most energy in Florida homes.

Typical Energy Use Patterns in Florida Homes

Humidity is a big issue in Florida (vapor barriers)

Severe weather issues (wind-driven rain and hurricane wind uplift)

Sealed Attics for Florida Homes (also called unvented attics)

Right-Sizing of Air Conditioning Equipment

Longevity of Roof Structure and Materials