Greetings to my fellow home energy professionals...


I have been thinking about ways to work on one's garage to make it energy efficient and ways to use the space for more than just resting a car and storage items.


Garage Doors for instance qualify for Home Owner Tax Credits - Ref:


So there could be more ways to add to these tax credits and increase energy efficiency. Perhaps, installing a localized solar device on garage roof or energy efficient (biological) lightning inside the garage

Would you like to share your thoughts on ways to make a garage more useful in decreasing one's energy footprint.

Tags: efficiency, energy, home

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What I find funny is that so many people install insulated garage doors, but yet the walls & attic space above them aren't.

The best system IMO is a detached garage with a covered walkway, which will not only help eliminate numerous screwups, but worries & issues with CO poisioning

Solatube (and others) are great for garage lighting

Hi Meni and Sean,

I agree with Sean in that detached does resolve some important issues, but in the rest of the world, those garages can end up under or beside our homes where shared walls and attics need to be carefully addressed.  A garage is most often an intermediate zone, neither house nor the extreme outdoors.  As such, improvements will provide more of a comfort improvement as opposed to an actual savings, comfort being when you have to be out there.  If one is going to make it into a workshop, then for sure, turn it into conditioned space, but be very careful about sharing that (now tight space) with your car/s.  Just driving in, turning off the car, and closing the roll-up will deposit enough CO to trip a detector.

Mein, I was unaware that garage doors could qualify for a tax credit so reviewed your link.  Even though it looks like the date has passed I have to say "THAT WAS STUPID".  Sorry, but I hate the round table approach where 70 experts collaborate in an effort to identify every last little credit possible for some reason probably totally unrelated to what we think.  Insulated garage doors as an energy efficiency improvement, ya, really a high priority, Argh!

To get off my mean wagon and try to be constructive, the shared walls and ceilings can often use some improvement, both in insulation and air sealing, the latter is extremely important.  Doors or attic hatches between living space and that garage need to meet modern fire codes, no exceptions.  The rest will depend upon your climate and the under or beside location.  One area that is often lacking is the ceiling of a garage located under the home.

As for additional tax credits, I'd vote for a well equipped workshop without the tax credits, as home repairs in a DIY fashion will save much more than an insulated garage doors.


Hm, "ways to make a garage more useful in decreasing one's energy footprint"... well, at risk of being really snarky, put the family car(s) inside and wall up the garage door.  Maybe drain the gas tanks just to be on the safe side.

I'm not just talking out my hind end here... I lived without a car for most of my adult life -- 7 years in Minneapolis and St. Paul, 6 years in small Iowa towns, and a year on the road.  (Not the roads of Europe, either, I'm talking USA and Canada.)  There are some very persuasive and solid reasons for having cars, but most of them do not apply to most of the people who have cars.  If we're serious about decreasing people's energy footprint, the worst feature of the garage is that it opens to let the cars out.

What we have found over the years is that these "Insulated" garage/ roll up metal doors have very little of what you would call an effective amount of insulation.  Even the military have installed these expensive insulated roll up metaL doors that have 3/8" of polyfoam sandwiched between the 2 sides of the 'slat'.. They still describe stabding within 10 feet of them on the inside is like "Standing next to a blast furnace"  so much heat comes through.


We apply our coating to it, inside or outside, problem solved. 


Before and after






                                          Miliary base, Washington DC



ResidentiL Garage door, Sacramento, CA. 










Anheuser - Busch, Las Vegas. West facing heavy gauge meatal roll up doors on loading dock that would reach 220 degrees and had sebt enployees to the ER with burns.  Now it gets to 5 degrees above ambient and they save energy.




























Iam very new here so please excuse me. Important question really, very tricky, many variables. By "localized solar device on the roof" I hope you dont mean a solar powered attic fan because they are far from cost effective.


Hal, is that a radiant barrier paint you are claiming to solve the energy problems of those garage doors?

Hi Brian and welcome.


Yes it is an Energy Star 'Cool Roof' roof coating,  Radiant Barrier Coating, that can also be used as paint.


Reflectivity .830

Emissivity  .90


A thermal barrier that is extremely versatile.

@Brian: By Solar Device on the Roof I mean a solar cell panel which can power the fan, vent exhaust, lightning etc. For that matter, may be the lightning on the house exterior as well. My point is, how do we make the space altogether more useful in saving energy and ways to reduce energy footprint of the household where the garage is.

We at Run Local Garage Door Company want to give more credibility to a Garage when it comes to energy tax credits...

Any thoughts on this?

All I can say is that Ive never seen any credible third party giving value to using PV to power attic vent fans. Lighting is entirely different. Iam not sure how you could tie your garage door business to a PV installation business..


The most cost-effective way to make household footprint where the garage is more energy efficient is to focus on the building envelope and bring the ducts into the conditioned space. The healthiest thing you can do is separate the building envelope from the garage space. I would tend to think there would be more business opportunity in this area ... CO2 detection connected or working with motion sensor to power fans to vent the garage air. 

Hello Brian,

Fans are also getting highly energy efficient day by day.

I recently came across a fan called atomberg which just consumes 28W at full RPM. And also the efficiency of the Solar cells have gone up making this entirely possible, cost effective and environment friendly.

@Hal: Thanks for introducing this solution into this discussion thread. So far I have only seen this coating to be a potential add-on to a garage.
@Hal: Thanks for introducing this solution into this discussion thread. So far I have only seen this coating to be a potential add-on to a garage.

If it's a hot garage and it happens to share an attic with the house, as is the common occurrence with attached garages in many post 80s homes around Baltimore, then you can bet the attic catches a pile of  heat and holds all that heat and stresses all our systems up there with residual 'from the garage being closed up' heat from not venting/insulating garages. Venting the garage space seems the least expensive option. Venting the daylights out of the garage roof system seems to make sense in hot weather and little difference the rest of the year.

Summer strategy: Park it in the drive when arriving home in Summer until the road heat has dissipated. Give it an hour and pull it into the garage cool and there'll be five to ten degrees difference inside, more if it's insulated and relatively tight along with a more massive vehicle. Opposite in Winter.

Of all the rooms in my house, I miss the garage the most. The shower was nice, the wood-stove in the brick fireplace and oak floors was nice too, but that garage was a guy's playroom. It had projects there, projects on hold. Or waiting just for the weather to change a bit. The garage was the pre- and post-mud room. Tools and stuff lived there, their temporary home until they sprang into action when spring rains or fall colors drifted through, like so many projects du jour.


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