Energy Efficiency - Forsgren Home Case Study

The most noticeable benefits Rosalie and Bryant are experiencing from their Energy Upgrade California™ Home Upgrade project are consistent temperatures and clean air throughout the house.

Energy-Efficiency Improvements Completed

  1. Whole House Air Sealing
  2. New Sealed, Insulated Ducts
  3. Attic Insulation
  4. Attic Ventilation
  5. Dual-pane Sliding Windows and French Doors
  6. Recirculating Hot Water Pumps

Additional Improvements

Other energy-saving improvements included:

  • ENERGY STAR Kitchen Appliances
  • High-efficiency Clothes Washer
  • CFL Lights
  • Indoor Air Quality UV Light
  • Window Coverings
  • Programmable Thermostat
  • Low-flow Toilets
  • Programmable Sprinklers
The energy efficiency upgrades included temporarily removing existing insulation from the attic followed by air sealing. The removed insulation was placed back into the attic and supplemented with additional rolled insulation to achieve a proper thermal barrier.

Bryant and Rosalie Forsgren moved into their 1973-constructed Poway tract home in July 2012. As new homeowners, they were excited to do some upgrades to make their home more comfortable. During the escrow process they learned from their home inspector about the Energy Upgrade California™ Home Upgrade program. He told them their house would be a great fit for the program and that rebates would help cover project costs.

"When it was hot outside, we could not bear the heat upstairs," Bryant said. "And, the rooms on the east side of the house would get hot in the morning and stay hot all day."

Rosalie said, "In our bedroom we could not feel the air conditioner. Basically, there was no airflow upstairs while the downstairs family room was the coolest room and got most of the airflow. We couldn't control the temperature in our house."

What they found

The energy assessment revealed the attic ducts were made of cardboard and profusely leaking air. There were also air leaks between the living space and the attic and an inadequate amount of attic insulation. The single-pane aluminum sliding windows and doors leaked significantly letting in a lot hot air in the summer and cold air in the winter. Some of the windows couldn't be opened, making it even harder to vent the house during the summer.

The drafty conditions were also affecting Rosalie's health. She could not get relief from her allergies and hay fever while indoors.

The old cardboard ducts were replaced with properly sized, sealed and insulated ducts.

Help on the way

The key energy efficiency measures installed included whole-house and attic air sealing, replacing the leaky ducts in the attic with sealed and insulated ducts, adding insulation in the attic, installing attic ventilation and replacing all the old windows and doors with dual-pane vinyl windows and French doors. Installation of the upgrades was completed in April 2013.

The Forsgrens had an ultraviolet light installed within the ductwork to help reduce cooking odors and germs and prevent mold. Along with the other measures, this helps eliminate indoor air problems associated with dust, odors from pets and pollens associated with allergies.

They also had recirculating hot water pumps installed so they can have near-instant hot water in their master bathroom and kitchen.

What a relief

Recirculating hot water pumps were installed in the bathroom and kitchen for near-instant hot water.
"After installation of the upgrades, the airflow is consistent throughout the house," said Rosalie. "The upstairs and downstairs are nearly the same temperature. There is also much less dust in the house and the pollen is not getting inside the house anymore." As a homemaker who is home every day, these upgrades have made a tremendous difference for Rosalie.

Bryant and Rosalie are quite pleased that the new windows and doors have been a big part of eliminating the draftiness of their home and noted that they are aesthetically pleasing, updated and modern.

"Overall, our home is much more comfortable," said Rosalie. "We are experiencing the benefits of the energy efficiency upgrades and our quality of life is much improved," added Bryant.

No endorsement for any companies or services is intended or implied. Energy Upgrade California™ Home Upgrade provides assistance and incentives for home improvement projects that can reduce energy use and make homes more comfortable. This statewide program is managed locally by utilities and regional energy networks and directed by the California Public Utilities Commission in collaboration with the California Energy Commission. Funding comes from utility customers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. Incentives are offered on a first-come, first-served basis and are effective until funding is expended or the program is discontinued. Programs may be modified or terminated without prior notice. © 2013 Energy Upgrade California. Trademarks are property of their respective owners. All rights reserved.