– Easy and Affordable
Melissa Elander, J. Myers Builders, Inc.
At this time of year we New Englanders take stock of our winter preparations. Like the squirrel who has cached nuts for months in preparation, we check the carefully stacked rows of firewood, order pellets, and check oil and propane levels. Insulating and sealing air leaks in the home can help our home heating fuels go further.
New Hampshire homeowners may qualify for a 50% incentive, up to $4,000, to help pay for energy efficiency improvements including lighting upgrades, water conservation measures, air sealing, and insulation through the Home Performance with Energy Star program. Homeowners can find out more about the Home Performance with Energy Star program by going to www.nhsaves/save-home/, or by contacting their utility company.
J. Myers Builders, Inc., an insulating company in Lisbon, NH, has been a contractor for the Home Performance with Energy Star program since 2009. Working with the utility companies, they help reduce energy use with audits, improvements, and rebates.
One person who benefited is Debra, of Milan, NH. She enrolled her home in the Home Performance with Energy Star program through Public Service of New Hampshire. The home is heated with an oil boiler, a pellet stove, and a propane fireplace. The home is a single level ranch with a heated basement, and a family room that is built on piers. It was the coldest room in the house.
The floor of the family room was insulated with fiberglass installed below two inches of rigid foam board. The rigid foam board was not sealed to provide a complete air barrier. J. Myers Builders, Inc. air-sealed at the perimeter of the floor system and all seams in the rigid foam board using spray foam. In the heated basement, the rim joists and above-ground concrete foundation were insulated with three inches of closed-cell spray foam.
The existing attic insulation was a mixture of cellulose and fiberglass, and was less than the recommended insulation value of R49. The attic was air-sealed and additional cellulose insulation was added to bring the attic to above R49. Air sealing an attic prior to adding insulation is important to stop heat loss from around lighting fixtures, wiring, fans, plumbing vents, chimneys, and any other penetrations.
Ventilation is a very important component of an energy efficient home, in order to control moisture and provide air exchange within the building. During the energy audit the existing bathroom fan was found to have a low exhaust rate. The weatherization project included the installation of a high exhaust rate bathroom fan to more effectively remove moisture from the home.
The original blower door test measured 2,507 cubic feet per minute (CFM at 50 pascals pressure) of air flow. After air sealing and insulation improvements were completed, the final blower door measured 1,463 CFM, which represents a substantial reduction in the heat loss in this home.
The total project cost was $6,831.83, reduced to $3,038.50 by the rebates available through the Home Performance with Energy Star program. The projected annual savings are anticipated to be 170 gallons of No. 2 heating oil. The improvements will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 4,319 pounds per year and save Debra $754.87 annually.
Following the energy efficiency work, Debra noticed that the basement was less drafty and the house held heat better than before. “I am really glad this program was available and I would recommend others to take advantage of it.”