American Chemistry Matters: Driving Innovation, Creating Jobs and Enhancing Safety

How can chemistry help keep you warm and save you money this winter?

New Year’s Day has come and gone, and for many Americans, the coldest months of winter are still ahead. But don’t crank up the heat just yet! There are other ways to stay warm and keep those seasonal energy costs down. And they have a lot to do with chemistry.

Comfortable at home

A typical American family spends nearly $2,000/year, or 56 percent of their total household energy costs, in order to be comfortably warm or cool in their own home, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Air leaks and drafts in our roofs, attics and walls, however, make this an uphill battle — so how can we regain the upper hand in the fight against energy loss?

In the home, replace old insulation with highly efficient polyurethane foam or polystyrene insulation, enabled by chemistry, which saves up to 40 times the energy used to create it and helps prevent energy from escaping through the walls, roofs and windows.

Other products made with chemistry, like plastic roofing, weatherization products and composite vinyl windows, also help to prevent heat from leaving your home.

Improved household energy efficiency isn’t just good for our wallet, it’s good for the manufacturers that make the products that make our homes more energy efficient, DOE says:

By bringing new, affordable energy efficient products to the market, we can help families save money by saving energy, while strengthening U.S. manufacturing leadership in technologies that are increasingly in demand worldwide.

Comfortable at play

It’s not only inside the home that you need to stay warm in the winter — it’s outside as well. Outdoor activities like sledding, skiing and even mountaineering can leave you feeling cold and wet — IF you aren’t wearing the right gear.

One type of chemistry product called fluoro-technology is used to enhance the outdoor apparel that helps you and your family stay warm and dry.

Fluoro-technology products offer long-lasting water repellency, which can help you stay dry even in extreme conditions. Outdoor apparel enhanced with fluoro-technology also offer breathability, oil repellency and stain resistance, making garments not only more comfortable, but longer lasting, too.

Because fluoro-technology gives clothing a longer useful life — meaning fewer washing and less replacements — it helps reduce energy and water use.

That’s welcome news for everyone who is keeping an eye on the utility bills this winter!

Photo via energy.gov

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