On Saturday morning 20 people enjoyed a house tour on Irish Settlement Rd where Stuart and Zoe have had their wet cold basement transformed.
The house, more than 100 years old, has balloon framing and a dug basement with field stone walls. The first winter Stuart and family spent in the house they spent more than $2500 on electricity. They installed a wood stove and used the baseboard heaters as supplement, however the stack effect of heat leaving through the attic and pulling cold air in through the basement left the house drafty and never quite warm enough.
Last summer they asked Snug Planet to come in, do a blower door energy audit (that part is free), and then analyze the results. After carefully considering all options, they decided to hire Snug Planet to seal the basement (lined walls and floor with industrial strength plastic sheeting and sealed at the rim joist with spray foam), insulate the attic (capping those balloon framed walls with rigid foam insulation sealed carefully to the framing), install a heat-exchanger water heater, and change out old appliances for energy star rated appliances.
An expensive project, you say? Well, yes, but Stuart and Zoe have spent 2/3 less on energy this year than they did last winter, they are more comfortable, the wood stove now heats the house comfortably on all but the coldest days, and they enjoy more efficient appliances.
They made the choice to borrow the money for the changes, and they signed up for the on-bill system through NYSERDA and NYSE&G. They have a 15 year loan @ 3% that will stay with the house if they decide to sell before the 15 years have passed. They pay monthly through their utility bill, which, even including the loan payments, is only 1/3 of what they had been paying.
All of us in attendance learned a lot, and I got to meet a bunch of new folks interested in energy efficiency. Out of those 20 who came, 13 were people I met for the first time.
I hope to see you at the April open house! April 17th, starting at 6:30 pm at 23 Lewis St in Dryden village. The Wakemans have installed solar panels on the barn behind the house on their village lot, and Dan has all the production numbers to show how that has effected their bottom line.
Remember to visit SolarizeTompkinsSE.org to complete the interest survey if you think you would like to have more information about getting solar power for your house. Look for announcements of Solarize public meetings coming up at the end of April.