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Home Retrofits Achieve 40% Savings on Heating and Cooling

August 8, 2013

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:
RFA table
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?

Scales

What weighs more? A home’s excess emissions for heating and cooling over a year, or a Toyota Prius?

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!

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