Your Quality Of Life Is Our Business

Daniel and Jaime go green: Part I

Daniel and Jaime take the first step towards a more comfortable, affordable, and green lifestyle

by Daniel Walfield

daniel jaime

My wife Jaime Theilen, and I, moved in to our first house in March. It is a huge milestone for us to buy a home, and to us this investment is more than financial–it’s an emotional investment as well. We love our charming mid-century home in the Daniels Park neighborhood of College Park. But like most homes similar to mine, it came with little insulation and leaks air in and out like a sieve.
Being an energy efficiency building analyst myself, I know a thing or two about building performance. My wife and I discussed getting the home professionally evaluated for energy efficiency and investing in making the home more comfortable, less drafty, and more energy efficient.
Jim, a certified building analyst, inspects a wiring penetration in the attic. Further diagnostics will show how this hole–which is common in many homes–is affecting the comfort, health, and efficiency of the house.

As a first step, we decided to schedule a comprehensive home energy audit.

Our main objectives were: make our bedroom warmer in the winter, keep the living room cool in the summer, and control our utility bills year round.  As many homeowners know quite well, home improvement work is almost never always as simple as it seems.

Although the windows and doors seemed the most obvious source of drafts, we knew that air was leaking through the walls and hidden crevasses that lead directly to the attic.

These sources of air loss were, as we found out with our energy audit, the main cause of drafts in our home.  Reuven, the certified building analyst who completed our energy audit, told us that this is very common in homes.  He said that air leakage in attics, crawl spaces, and basements can cause all sorts of additional problems in homes, such as ice dams in the winter, hot second floor bedrooms in the summer, and even, over time, can cause moisture damage such as mold and mildew.

Daniels Park
“We love our charming mid-century home in the Daniels Park neighborhood of College Park. But like most homes of this style and age, it came with little insulation and leaks air in and out like a sieve.”

Like any new homeowner, we have a long list of things to fix, upgrade, or eventually even replace. Picking out the drapes is hard enough, but identifying how much insulation I need in my attic is something all together different. Having a professional energy auditor walk us through the process was the only way to go. And the improvements we plan to make in our home such as adding insulation in the attic and sealing leakage sources in the attic will start saving us money immediately. Jaime and I even discussed using the modeled energy savings from the energy savings work to pay for other investments in the home.

The choice was clear: making energy improvements to our home is the smart thing to do!

And good thing we got our energy audit! The safety tests that were completed determined out that our old water heater needs to be replaced, along with a few other safety measures.  We were hoping to delay replacing our gas water heater, even though we knew it was past it’s useful life, but decided it was well worth the investment. Ultimately, I want our home to be a comfortable, safe, and healthy environment.

Daniel and Jaime’s
Daniel and Jaime’s home will benefit from added insulation and sealing plumbing and electrical penetrations in their crawlspace.

Once we’re done replacing our water heater in the next month or so, which will give us the green light to proceed with additional work on our home.  We are very happy that our audit report clearly identifies our home’s sources of energy loss. It spells out all the steps we need to take, and provides an estimated cost of recommended measures, and how much we can expect to save  by following through with the recommended work.

With accurate and verifiable information at our fingertips, Jaime and I feel empowered and confident as we take the next steps in making our home more comfortable, healthy, and affordable!

Because of generous state rebate programs, we only paid $100 for our energy audit. We expect even more savings with additional rebates from the improvement work starting soon.  Our energy auditor walked us through all the steps and even submitted all our rebates applications on our behalf.  Jaime and I are very happy with the entire process!

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