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My energy audit report.......

Post in 'The Green Room' started by woodgeek, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Lots of talk here about energy audits and reports lately.

    I had an audit done in March '13, and thought I would post my report (pdf below) for curious folks to check out.

    Over the summer, I had a company do a bunch of energy eff improvements, with a a tab of $6k. I also had all the aluminum 3-track storm windows in my house replaced with new 2-track low-e storm windows, for another $6k. The old storms were literally falling out, so I see the latter charge as a home maintenance cost, rather than an energy upgrade cost.

    My estimates, based on logged HVAC data, are that my heating and cooling are reduced by ~25-30%, or about $500/year. If I factor in reduced wear on my HP, I can argue that is worth $700/year.

    Ignoring the windows, this is ~9-10 year simple payback. It is poor because I have cheap electricity ($0.135/kWh), a high efficiency heating and AC system, and I had previously gotten a lot of low hanging fruit DIY. Given the long payback, I would not have done this out of pocket (due to opportunity cost). The state (PA) is offering the equivalent of a 0% 10yr loan for the whole $12k that made it appealing, so I pulled the trigger.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
    stayfitz likes this.

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  2. stayfitz

    stayfitz Feeling the Heat

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    Thank you very much for sharing!
  3. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    I should say that relative to when I moved in in 2005, my DIY airsealing and insulation, and switching the HP from oil, were saving me ~$2500/year before I did this work.
  4. jeffesonm

    jeffesonm Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks for sharing... always wanted to get one of these done but I am a cheap bastard.
  5. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    When they were $500 I waited for YEARS. I only pulled the trigger because of the incentives. I am jealous of the deals in some of the NE states.
  6. mass_burner

    mass_burner Minister of Fire

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    >>Over the summer, I had a company do a bunch of energy eff improvements, with a a tab of $6k.

    What exactly did they end up doing for 6K?
  7. ailanthus

    ailanthus Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks for posting. It's nice to see some hard numbers. I had a blower door test done for $300, then spent another ~$800-1000 on DIY projects (attic insulation, duct sealing/insulation, etc. etc.) and then switched to wood heat - so I have no idea how effective it all was. The purpose of doing it all was that I didn't think we could comfortably heat the whole house with wood without some improvements. We had been paying ~$2000 annually on heating oil, but now we're using wood heat 99% of the time.. I had to install a new chimney and stove, so some money was definitely spent, but the payback will be relatively short.
    woodgeek likes this.
  8. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    They did....

    1) a lot of hard to reach airsealing in my attic with spray foam, mostly exterior top plates that were along the eaves on my 5/12 roof. They also airsealed and foam-boarded a dropped soffit above my kitchen, did some airsealing along a kneewall and put tanamat covers over 4 not AT/IC recessed light cans.
    2) Then they blew enough cellulose into the attic to bring the whole thing up to R-50+ (over maybe R-20 loose and batt FG that had largely collapsed.
    3) All the rimjoists in my house (160' long) are finished with drywall...no access....and both uninsulated and leaky. For those rim/sills that are parallel to the joists, there is a single 14" wide (16" OC) cavity that runs the length of the sill. They ended up densepacking about ~105' of such cavities with cellulose, insulating and airsealing. (through about 5 3" holes).
    4) They did some scattered caulking in the interior, and improvements to the exterior door weatherstripping, with the blower door running.

    I forget how it was all itemized, but in round numbers the #2 was maybe $2500 (~$2/sq ft, including labor) which was a competitive rate for my area. #3 was $1500 or so, and #1+4 (airsealing) came to about $2k.

    They said that for the (considerable) attic airsealing+foamboarding I had done DIY, they would have charged an additional $1.5-2k. I would say that took me ~50 hours over the last 4 years.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  9. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    The energy contractors did their own walk through and had a slightly different assessment from the auditor (who was independent). The original auditor (who wrote the report) figured the rim/sills were un-doable, but the actual pros ended up densepacking them. The auditor was very concerned about my finished basement walls which are masonry, a 1.5" airspace/furring and drywall, and thought it would be easy to fill the 1.5" cavity with foam. The energy pros he referred me to all thought the 1.5" cavity was un-fillable, either with foam or cellulose.

    So the sills got done, but not the basement wall cavities.

    Pour-in cavity fill insulation options ARE a big technical issue, and not great in such a thin cavity. I am now thinking of calling a **brand new** icynene guy that popped up in my area, to get a quote on ~100 sq ft of cavity fill, that might save me another $60-80/year.
  10. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Blower door in the report was 2660 for CFM50 (cfm at 50 Pa pressure) initially. At project test out (final blower door), they got CFM50 of 2000, a ~20% improvement. As it happens they did the test out before project completion to begin processing the program paperwork that was approaching the deadline. They then did a good bit more airsealing after the final blower door, and also the windows weather stripping was not 'winterized' during the test. I think my CFM50 might be closer to 1500-1700 at this point, which is ACH50 of 5-6, right on the edge of where mech ventilation is recommended. I did crack some windows during the mild weather to get some fresh air.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  11. My Oslo heats my home

    My Oslo heats my home Minister of Fire

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    Good read for sure, glad you got some good results for what looks like good money spent. And you read my mind before I was about to ask some questions regarding your tests.

    I will add a little about what we deal with in new home construction. As the code changes (what seems to be all to frequently) the homes become so much tighter that they become
    almost dangerous without makeup air. It is found that in the winter months the air becomes so stale and unhealthy that sickness of the occupants becomes all too frequent.
    woodstoves would starve for air with OAK's. Hot air systems need the circulator to run in order to bring in some fresh air.
  12. mass_burner

    mass_burner Minister of Fire

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    Wow, they pretty much the same stuff in my attic/basement. We also have 24 recessed cans they had to individually dam, plus a good area on both sides of the chimney to cover in sheet metal. Attic is 2000 sq ft. Open area. Total cost was a little over 1k. I guess our taxes finally came in handy.
  13. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, you guys in MA are getting a crackin' deal. :mad:

    And frankly, I think a national program on the level of MassSave is what is needed to really affect significant change, i.e. reduce residential energy usage. The participation rate really needs to be up to 5-10% of houses per year...it needs to be almost free and the sort of thing you do b/c your neighbor does it. MassSave might get there.

    A comparable national program (HomeStar) has become a political football and is dead. I was watching/hoping for that, before this (much weaker) incentive came along.

    My 0% financing deal in PA IS backed up by the Feds (DOE), but is pretty cheap to Uncle Sam as it is only a loan guarantee, basically. Last time I checked the PA program has only done <1000 houses total in the state over the last couple years.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
  14. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, I just learned....

    1) that the energy work deals folks are getting in several NE states are paid for my a 0.3 to 0.6 cent/kWh surcharge on all electricity users in those states.
    2) that my sister designed and set up the low interest loan for energy retrofit program in CT. She explained it all to me. ;em
  15. mass_burner

    mass_burner Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, no free lunches anywhere. I figure I'm paying for everything in some way.
  16. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Oh yeah, and I remembered I had the pros do some window trim carpentry while they were doing the storms. So I am about $5k just for some very extensive energy retrofits...think 2-4 guys over 4 days. I'm saving 25-30% on heating and cooling energy, maybe $500 per year + $200 year 'wear and tear' on my HP, maybe a 7 year simple feedback (at current rates), financed by the state at 0% for 10 yrs.
  17. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    You're lucky to live in a more progressive state - at least the government is.
  18. mass_burner

    mass_burner Minister of Fire

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    Speaking of Mass save, I have an area at the base of the stairs going down to the garage. It is really the only area of the basement that is not behind the double 2" aluminum doors separating the garage from the inner basement. In this area is the oil tank, and in the space behind stairs I put my wood rack. The re is also a double 2" aluminum door separating this area from the garage. Anyway, this area gets cold and its directly under the kitchen, guest bathroom. I mentioned to the MS guy about putting 2" poly styrene panels on the walls and spray foaming the ceiling in this area. He said they didn't recommend 2" poly styrene panels due to mold. I thought mold wasn't an issue with poly styrene panels?
  19. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Expanded PS, EPS is highly vapor permeable (bead-type styrofoam). eXtruded PS, XPS, is much less so, but still some (pink/blue board).

    I don't get the mold concern here, but I don't get the layout either.
  20. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Could you just install some XPS boards on the bottom of the kitchen, guest bath floors? Doesn't sound like the are is large enough to make sense having it sprayed.
  21. mass_burner

    mass_burner Minister of Fire

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    Mass save does not do spray foam yet. The MS guy said they may start this year, April timeframe. For the area I mentioned above, the guy recommended spray foam of the entire joist bays since its a small area. He did not recommend anything on the walls. For the inner basement, he recommended spray foam of the joist bays to about 18-24" in from the outside walls all along the perimeter. Again, these recommendations are out of program, at least until spring.
  22. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    After crunching a lot of data, my estimate of a 25% reduction in heating BTU demand is holding up. The ol' 4 ton ASHP can carry the 2250 sq ft place down to about 22°F now rather than 28°F. Average daily temps in coldest week of the year (third week of Jan) around here are 29-30°F, so this improvement in 'balance point' should reduce spendy auxiliary usage a lot.

    Of course, the weather around here is running 4-5° colder than previous years and with lots of excursions into the single digits. Looks like I picked a good year to to get the old joint retrofitted.

    During the '12-'13 season I used ~10 MWh, and $1350 of wind power to keep the place heated. With the colder weather this year and the non-linear costs of running a HP in very cold weather, I am slated to run 10 MWh this year again (Even Steven), but my wind power got a little cheaper, maybe $1250 this year. FWIW, conventional elec power was flat in price over the last year here, and is now about 10% more expensive than my wind contract.

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