Retrofit America completed its 500th home energy audit – this one for the Joe and Carol Vivona in Midtown Atlanta!
“It’s a very comprehensive process,” Carol says.
The home energy audit covers complete diagnostics on everything related to heating and cooling the home:
– evaluating insulation levels in the attic and basement or crawlspace
– a blower door test to measure air leakage
– pressure pan tests to determine if the ductwork is properly sealed
– combustion safety testing for natural gas-fired furnaces and water heaters
Retrofit America estimates a Home Efficiency Score™ to get an objective measure of the home’s efficiency for heating and cooling. Using our proprietary software model, we analyze 12 months of utility bills to estimate BTU per square foot per degree-day – how much energy it takes to heat or cool one square foot of the home by one degree Fahrenheit.
We’re then able to sit down with the homeowner right when we’re done to provide a complete home retrofit proposal – including a detailed cost proposal for each improvement.
The result? Our customers are saving an average of 40% on the energy they use to heat and cool their homes, with just about everyone in the range of 30% to 55% savings… and living in perfect comfort.
Retrofit America has launched a special 0%-interest financing program with a home energy efficiency retrofit for Peg Wyse of Avondale Estates.
“It’s a great program,” Peg says. “I’ve got 12 months to pay for my energy efficiency improvements, and there’s no financing charge!”
Retrofit America now includes the loan as a standard part of our pricing proposals, with no cost to the customer. The financing is offered by Spruce Finance, a San Francisco-based company that focuses on financing home energy efficiency improvements and solar PV installations. Homeowners just submit a loan application online and find out in a few minutes if they qualify.
“There were so many hot and cold spots in our home,” Scott Kelsey says. “When we moved in two summers ago, we had no idea how uncomfortable our master bedroom would be in the winter.”
It turned out that there was no insulation above the master bathroom, which his wife Jenn complained was always cold. With no insulation at all in the crawlspace, that extension to the home was completely exposed to the elements above and below.
Retrofit America achieved our 100th home retrofit at the Kelsey’s home in Decatur – and made everything right for them. This included:
• Blowing fiberglass foam insulation in the attic extension area
• Spray foaming the second floor storage area and crawlspaces
• Encapsulating the basement crawlspaces with a Duraskrim liner on the floor and closed-cell foam insulation on the walls
• Sealing leaky ductwork in the basement and attic
• Wrapping the water heater
• Replacing incandescent light bulbs with CFLs
“I really liked the process,” Scott says, “where first you come in and figure out what needs to be done and then implement. It was reassuring to know that the energy auditors would be back to reinspect and test out when it’s all done. It’s nice to know that you are motivated by the end result.”
Check out the interview with Retrofit America CEO Geoff Berlin on BlogTalkRadio’s “Speaking of Green” show:
“I paid off my house last year,” Ted Cashin explains, “and thought now that I have some spare money, I’ll invest some back in my house.”
So Ted called in Retrofit America. We started with a complete home energy audit for Ted’s home in Avondale Estates.
“It’s a good opportunity to look at how the whole house works,” Ted says. “You analyze the whole house. You’re not just looking at one piece. You’re looking at the whole system – how to make it all work together.”
Retrofit America improved the insulation in Ted’s attic, and he installed a new HVAC system.
For his attic space, Ted had two options: Adding more blown fiberglass insulation to the attic plane or spray foaming under the roof deck and gable walls.
“I don’t really need the attic for storage, and I don’t have HVAC equipment up there,”he says. “so improving the blown insulation is much cheaper.”
To get Ted’s attic right, first sealing air leakage is key. We covered the whole-house fan with a foam board box and installed an attic insulation tent. Then we blew another 10″ of fiberglass insulation to bring the insulation value to R-38.
What was the impact?
“The next day I left my home at noon and moved my thermostat setting up from 75º to 79º,” Ted says. “It was in the 80s all afternoon. When I got back home that evening, the temperature in my home was only 77º. My home had stayed cool on its own. What great efficiency!”
Read Retrofit America CEO Geoff Berlin’s letter-to-the-editor in The New York Times:
Re “A Republican Case for Climate Action,” by William D. Ruckelshaus, Lee M. Thomas, William K. Reilly and Christine Todd Whitman (Op-Ed, Aug. 2):
“Americans don’t need to wait for partisan consensus to start ‘dealing’ with climate change. They can start by taking action in their own homes….”
Retrofit America’s Atlanta customers are achieving average energy savings on heating and cooling of 40% – with nearly everyone in the range of 30% to 55% savings.
How do we measure these savings? Based on actual utility bills, we estimate the home’s energy consumption before and after the home retrofit in BTU per square foot per degree-day (BTU/SqFt-DD) – that’s the amount of energy it takes to heat or cool one square foot of the home by one degree Fahrenheit over 24 hours.
As a benchmark, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory considers an energy-efficient home to consume 5.0 BTU/SqFt-DD for heating and cooling.
Here is how the results line up for a sampling of 14 homes that we retrofit from 2010 to 2012 in the Atlanta metro area, for customers who provided us with access to their utility bill data post-retrofit:
What did these homeowners do to achieve these savings?
Their homes now have adequate insulation in their attics and basements or crawlspaces, duct work that is properly sealed and lower overall air leakage. Some also include HVAC upgrades to more efficient equipment.
Based on these customers’ pre-retrofit electricity and natural gas prices that they were paying before we implemented their home retrofits, their average savings is $580 a year. They also benefit from improvements in the health and comfort of living in their homes – no more drafty rooms, cold floors, musty odors and air from attics and crawlspace.
How would these improvements impact America’s energy consumption and carbon emissions if homeowners across the country were to make their homes energy efficient?
21% of U.S. energy consumption and 22% of carbon dioxide emissions are from heating, cooling and powering our homes. Based on data provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Energy, Retrofit America estimates that the average single-family home emits 4,250 kilograms of CO2 a year from heating and cooling. Making a home energy efficient and reducing this energy use by 40% in turn reduces a home’s CO2 emissions by an average of 1,700 kilograms a year.
Is that a lot of carbon dioxide? Imagine collecting all of a home’s excess CO2 emissions in a box. After a year, that box would weigh more than a Prius!