Green Living is the Life For Me!
This past week, I had an e-conservation home retrofit. This retrofit was a follow up to the class I attended on home energy conservation at NC State. The visit normally would cost around $700, but as part of the e-conservation program, I only paid $100 (difference was subsidized by the NC Department of Energy). The entire process took about three hours and included following:
- A quick tour of my home with discussion about my concerns
- Sealing exterior wall outlets and switches
Wall switch before insulation
|Wall switch that has been caulked for insulation|
|Wall switch with insulation added|
|Sealing exterior wall electrical outlet with insulation|
- Installing a low flow shower head
|Low flow shower head|
- Insulating pipes
|Pipes before insulation|
|Pipes after insulation|
- Sealing gaps in the floor register vents
|Floor vent before insulation|
|Floor vent after insulation|
|Duct Sealant used on vents|
- Craw space inspection
- Dryer vent cleaning
- HVAC and duct work inspection
- Attic insulation inspection
|Checking insulation in attic|
- Ceiling hatch gap sealing
|Ceiling hatch to attic before sealing|
|Ceiling hatch with insulating foam|
|Ceiling hatch with insulation|
|Weather stripping to create better seal|
|Insulation foam sealant|
- Exterior door trim installation
|Adding trim on exterior door|
- Cleaning of refrigerator system
|Cleaning off dust and lint under the refrigerator|
- Turning off pilot light on our gas fireplace
|Gas insert fireplace|
|Gas line and pilot light ignitor|
The insulation in the attic is R20 and the current standard for insulation is R38. Adding more insulation would add to efficiency, but it isn't something we have to do.
I asked about putting a blanket around the water heater in the garage to save energy. Because there is an open flame, ERS does not recommend doing this.
One of the small things Matt and Tracey mentioned to me was that they learned child electrical outlet safety covers help reduce air leakage / energy loss. So I need to go out and buy quite a few now.
During the craw space inspection, it was noted that we need to create a vapor barrier to trap moisture and create a better seal under our house. Matt recommended a black 6 mm plastic with taped seams using Typar tape. Cost should be around $100.
Finally, I have signed up for an online program call Resispeak that will track and analyze my gas and electric usage both before the retrofit and for at least the next two years. Hopefully the data gathered will both demonstrate the success of this retrofit as well show how we are saving money.
|Screen shot from Resispeak of gas usage|
While it's too soon to know whether the e-conservation home retrofit will pay for itself in savings, it already feels like our HVAC is working more efficiently. Additionally, I feel like I know my home and it's features better. For example, I now know where the gas line / pilot light for my fireplace is located. I recommend having these improvements done in every home that is at least 10 years old and await the data to justify my assumptions.
Many thanks to Matt and Tracey from Energy Reduction Specialists of NC!
|Matt and Tracey from Energy Reduction Specialists of NC|
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