By Melissa Elander, J. Myers Builders, Inc.
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, we help reduce energy use with energy audits, energy efficiency improvements, and rebates. Here is an example:
Nigel Manley purchased a 145-year-old post and beam Cape Cod in Bethlehem, N.H., in 2013 and with the help of the previous homeowners in obtaining heating fuel records, enrolled in the Home Performance with Energy Star program through PSNH. The home is heated with two wood stoves and an oil-fired furnace. Domestic hot water is heated by a 40 gallon electric water heater. There is a small basement and the majority of the home is built over crawl spaces. The home has retained many of the characteristics of a classic New England Cape.
On the second floor, the home has dead spaces behind the knee walls, which is very typical of Cape-style homes. These dead spaces are above the interior heated living area on the firstfloor, so the goal was to insulate the roof, from the top of the knee wall to the soffit, in order to bring the crawl spaces within the insulated boundary of the home. To gain access to these crawl spaces J. Myers Builders, Inc. cut access hatches in the knee walls, and once inside we installed closed cell spray foam on the underside of the roof and on the gable end walls.
The basement and crawl spaces contained the water heater, furnace and ductwork, so the best approach was to insulate the exterior foundation walls, thereby including the basement and crawl spaces in the heated envelope of the house.We installed a vapor barrier over the dirt floor in the crawl spaces, and installed closed cell spray foam on the exterior walls and sealed the insulation to the vapor barrier on the floor. The vapor barrier will prevent moisture from entering the home. While insulating the crawl spaces, the ductwork was sealed to prevent warm air from leaving the duct work in the crawl spaces.
A digital thermostat, which can more accurately detect the temperature of the room, was installed to replace a mercury dial thermostat. A low-flow shower head was installed in order to reduce the amount of hot water drawn off the water heater.
The original blower door test measured 5,293 cubic feet per minute (CFM50) of air flow. After air sealing and insulation improvements were completed, the final blower door measured 4,070 CFM50. The reduction in the blower door number represents a projected annual savings of $310.34.
The total project cost was $6,511.96. After a rebate of $3,570.83 through the Home Performance with Energy Star program, the homeowners were responsible for $2,841.13. The projected annual savings are 138 gallons of #2 heating oil and one cord of wood. This is also projected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 4,426 pounds per year and save the homeowners $796.13 annually.