Why should you care if your garage is energy efficient? For starters, most garages are connected to our homes with a shared wall or more.
What defines an energy efficient garage? Air sealed, specifically between the living spaces and the garage. Low energy fixtures, like light bulbs and appliances. A well designed and efficient garage should be a buffer from the extremes outside and the comfort of the home.
A garage that is air sealed to the home means air will not exchange with the home. That is great for temperature and humidity, but even better VOCs and CO from cars, gas tools, paints, chemicals and all the other things we don’t allow in our homes but have in our garages. Caulk or foam at the base of the garage wall can make a huge impact on air flow into the house. Sealing duct work in garages is huge as well, especially the return duct that is pulling air back to the HVAC unit.
Low energy fixtures like LED bulbs with motion sensors and Energy Star appliances are another way to have an efficient garage. Garages are a great place for motion or occupancy sensors as we use these spaces so rarely, yet when we do we are hauling something in or out. Having lights on only when you need them as a great way to double the efficiency of LED bulbs. (disclaimer, some garage door openers experience interference from some LED bulbs) Energy Star appliances is another good way to make your garage more efficient. A typical fridge of 20 years old or more can be replaced with a new Energy Star model and the investment will pay for itself in three years.
To make your garage a buffer space, you should limit air leakage to the outside to just enough to get rid of all of the bad fumes. Insulated garage door panels, door seals and window blinds are great ways to impact the major heat gain areas around the garage. Another space to check is above, many attached garages don’t have insulated ceilings. In the South most garages are an oven during the Summer, with some of these tips you should be able to make your garage much more comfortable.