Prioritzing Efficiency in a New Old Home
This 3000 sq. ft. home in Rockland was built in 1895 and historically used 1000 gallons of oil, six cords of wood and 4,800 kWh of electricity annually.
When Jay and Rebecca bought their first house, they knew it was a fixer-upper but “energy efficiency wasn’t anywhere near the top of a long list of projects.” A statewide incentive program that helped homeowners finance weatherization projects in 2010 and 2011 convinced them to call Evergreen Home Performance.
Energy Advisor Brian Robinson used a blower door test to evaluate air leakage and infrared analysis to identify areas of heat loss. After finding that air moved through Rebecca and Jay’s home at double the recommended standard, Brian proposed an energy efficiency project that would reduce air loss, improve ventilation, increase comfort – and save energy. “Having Brian lay out the energy savings over the long run made it clear that we had to start here,” said Rebecca.
Strategic air sealing in the attic - especially around the chimney - eliminated escape routes for warm air, and insulating the foundation with spray-foam insulation to one-foot below grade prevented cold air from seeping in. Rebecca and Jay also replaced their ancient boiler – then tied in a new hot water heater when the old electric one burst a few weeks later – and installed low-flow showerheads and ventilation fans in both bathrooms to eliminate a major moisture problem. The project required an investment of almost $10,000, some of which they had accounted for when they purchased their home, and the rest financed through state and federal rebates.
Jay and Rebecca cut their home’s energy consumption in half, and they didn’t have to wear three sweaters to do it.
“It’s easy to spend a fortune getting the house painted – which we did – because people drive by and say, ‘Oh, the house looks so nice,’” Jay says. “It’s harder to explain why we’re spending the money to insulate the basement, which no one ever sees. But, having gone through a winter, it was unquestionably worth it.”