Thursday, November 4

Sustainable

Earlier this week the TYPros Sustainability crew held a short lesson on Winterizing Your Home. I’ve been a member of TYPros for almost three years, but I have actually attended very few of their events. This one, however, appealed to me because it was relevant and I thought it would make a good blog post.

Short Rabbit Trail
Before I talk about what I learned let me talk a minute about the location. The meeting was held in 119 Downtown, a building that will eventually be home to those with a desire for downtown living and a budget allowing for posh apartment space. While there we got to tour one of the units.

Now, I love the design and the open feel. The kitchen might be a little small, but did you see the size of that pantry/laundry room?! It continues around the corner to the left. Wish I had one of those in my house! Plus two bathrooms, huge closets and good-size bedrooms. Awesome.

Of course, I’m not looking for an apartment. Even if I was I don’t think I would live downtown, just not my style. I hate trying to park there and I hate the one-way streets and corner traffic lights. It’s ok if I'm just coming through for a couple hours, but I can’t imagine dealing with that on a daily basis. That said, the employee at the parking garage across from 119 Downtown is awesome. Super friendly and very helpful. If you’re ever needing to park near 6th and Cincinnati I highly recommend going there.
 
Back to the Topic at Hand
There were two speakers at the meeting and to be honest neither really spoke about winterizing your home, though I felt the topics they did cover pretty interesting. They mainly spoke about ways to make your home energy efficient. While there are several steps to this process the main thing I came away with is making sure your insulation is 100% effective. In the video below, Jason Fisher with ICF International covers a few common insulation problems. There are a lot more ways to mess up insulation installation than I realized.

video

Jason and the second speaker, Lisa Puyear, also spoke about the programs PSO offers homeowners to help make their home more energy efficient. Among those is a rebate on a new A/C unit if you replace your old one with a new energy-efficient one, the Cool Saver program and Home Performance and Quest Audits.


What I Learned
I feel like I should probably do more research about updating old A/C units. I think mine is about 10 years old, and I know this summer it struggled to cool the house when the temperatures got really high. 

I'm also curious about the Home Performance Audit. Jason said the difference between the two audits is that the Quest Audit is just a walk through where the auditor will go through your house and point out obvious problem areas. Windows, poorly sealed doors, etc. Things that for the most part are already on my to-do list. The Home Performance Audit is where they bring the equipment that he refers to in the video and really help you fix any leaking ducts, poorly insulated walls and so on. 

The problem is that everything costs money. It saves money too, but I don't have a lot of cash to put down on the front end.

Have any of you had a home efficiency audit? What are some ways you make your home more energy efficient?

2 comments:

  1. We had a home energy audit back in about 1985. What they did back then was put some sort of timer thing on your air conditioner so it cycled off every so often. We hated it because it meant that the house was hot a lot.

    I imagine they are probably worth the money, but if you don't have it, some of the contractors with whom you might eventually do business (insulation companies, etc.) can give you excellent advice and recommendations. They know the codes and have the expertise to do the job.

    It sounds like you are on the right track with planning to seal windows, etc. You can also buy some little foam outlet insulators at a hardware store that help cut down drafts from that source. That was another thing that PSO did when you had one of their energy audits--but it was free way back then, I didn't know they cost now. They also brought "free" weather stripping to put around your doors.

    The best plan is each time you do any sort of home improvement, get the most energy efficient product you can afford. We have done that in the house we are in now. We had new windows put in first. That helped A LOT! You just can't believe how those drafts cost you! We also noticed a big difference when we added attic insulation, but the biggest change was with the windows.

    Good luck with your attempts at greening up! :)
    tm

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  2. The PSO guy made it sound like they would be using the equipment to find places where the insulation wasn't sufficient or the vents leaked so it could be repaired. I would hate having something decide when my AC or heat should turn off!

    My windows were new when I moved in, but I do need to work on the doors. Thanks for the tips!

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