Mountain Territory Home

“Last year my house was cold after work and I needed to start a fire everynight to keep warm. Because of the control panel, my home is already warm when I get home and I don’t have to burn wood anymore!”

Mountain Territory Home

  • 1,250 sq. ft.
  • Bi-level home with crawlspace
  • Built in 1976
  • BEFORE: All-electric home with baseboard heat and wood stove
  • AFTER: All-electric home heated with electric thermal storage on automated control panel and United Power’s Time-of-Day rate

STEP 1: Pinpointing Air Leaks

The first step in making the most cost effective energy upgrades to your home is knowing the efficiency of the structure. Both homes were given Blower Door Tests to find and measure air leaks that can exist through walls, windows, doors and even electrical outlets.

A Blower Door Test places a home under a known pressure and then measures how much airflow is required to maintain that pressure. The tighter a house, the less air the blower door must move to maintain a given pressure.

Besides measuring the air tightness of the house, it also helps to pinpoint specific air leaks. Knowing a home’s problem areas means investments into energy upgrades can be better targeted and will have a greater impact on reducing a home’s energy expenses.

Energy Engineer David Petroy conducts a Blower Door Test on one of the homes selected for the Home Energy Makeover. This large fan pulls air through the house and measures the air flow. The more air flowing through the home, the more air leaks the home has.

Air being pulled through a home during a Blower Door Test reveals the many places air can be leaking. This candle was nearly extinguished by the pull of air through this electrical outlet.

Blower Door Tests conducted by:

Blue Sky Energy Solutions
David Petroy, MA

STEP 2: Scope of Work

Every home is very different, which is why our Energy Experts conduct free Home Energy Audits to help our customers find custom solutions to meet their energy needs. After reviewing the results of the Blower Door Test on our Mountain Territory home, our Energy Management Team determined that the following upgrades would make the greatest impact on the home’s energy bill:

  • Cellulose insulation in the attic and crawlspace
  • Insulation on exposed water pipe and ducts
  • Insulators on all switch plates and outlets on outside walls
  • New storm doors and metal insulated front and back doors
  • New Energy STAR rated refrigerator
  • New Marathon electric water heater
  • New Electric Thermal Storage heating system and automated control panel

STEP 3: Installation

Insulation keeps your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. There are several common types of insulation — fiberglass (in both batt and blown forms), cellulose, rigid foam board, and spray foam. Reflective insulation (or radiant barrier) is another insulating product which can help save energy in hot, sunny climates.

When correctly installed with air sealing, each type of insulation can deliver comfort and lower energy bills during the hottest and coldest times of the year.

Insulation performance is measured by R-value — its ability to resist heat flow. Higher R-values mean more insulating power. Different R-values are recommended for walls, attics, basements and crawlspaces, depending on your area of the country. Insulation works best when air is not moving through or around it. So it is very important to seal air leaks before installing insulation to ensure that you get the best performance from the insulation.

Having a refrigerator in the garage can come in handy when you want a cold drink in the middle of a project. But while you’re saving steps to the kitchen, you might be wasting cold hard cash. Many refrigerators in garages and basements are older models that once stood in the kitchen. Most of these units are also placed in poorly insulated locations, causing the appliance to work overtime to keep food and beverages cold. According to the Energy Department, the annual electric bill to keep an extra fridge running could be as much as $125.

Officials suggest giving up the spare fridge and enjoying not only the financial savings, but also the extra space. Families using a second fridge to store large amounts of food should consider buying a new model with the ENERGY STAR label.

STEP 4: Energy Savings

Prior to being selected for the Home Energy Makeover, this homeowner signed up for our Time-of-Day rate, but controlled her electric heat manually. Through the Home Energy Makeover, her home was equipped with a control panel which helps her take full advantage of the time-of-day rates and has completely eliminated her need to burn wood.

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