The most noticeable benefits the Florey Family is experiencing from their Energy Upgrade California™ Home Upgrade project are consistent temperatures and clean air throughout the house.
Energy-Efficiency Improvements Completed
- Whole House Air Sealing
- Attic Insulation includes Knee Walls
- Duct System with Return Vents and Fresh Supply Air (Integrated with Heat Recovery Ventilation)
- Heat Recovery Ventilation with Kitchen and Bathroom Air Exhausts (Booster Switches in Bathrooms)
- High-efficiency Furnace (Two-stage, Variable-speed)
- High-efficiency Air Conditioner (16 SEER)
- Remote Access Programmable Thermostat
- Tankless Hot Water Heater
- Safety Repairs
Skip and Sandy made other improvements to increase comfort and energy efficiency including a solar system to generate electricity.
- Solar PV System to Generate Electricity
- Dual-pane Windows and Doors
- LED Lights
- Tubular Skylight
- ENERGY STAR Kitchen Appliances
- High-efficiency Clothes Washer and Gas Dryer
- High-efficiency Ceiling Fans
- Attic Fan
- Low-Flow Toilets, Faucets and Showerheads
Skip and Sandy Florey moved into their Mira Mesa home in 1993, a single-story track home constructed in 1979 to the building standards of that era. Over the years, they found their house to be quite uncomfortable — too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter.
In October 2012, the Floreys attended an energy-efficiency demonstration home tour in their neighborhood hosted by the Center for Sustainable Energy. The featured home was upgraded through the Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade™ program that focuses on whole house air sealing, insulation, sealed and insulated ducts and other measures that improve overall comfort and indoor air quality.
"We care about the environment and over the years we installed some energy-efficient appliances and put in dual-pane windows but we wanted to find out what else we could do to save energy and make our home more comfortable," Sandy said.
The next step involved having an energy assessment of their home. The assessment results and recommendations offered by the contractor showed the Floreys what they could do to address stale air and inconsistent temperatures throughout their house, safety concerns with their furnace and moisture issues in the bathrooms while saving energy.
What the assessment found
Some of the old ducts were disconnected, leaking 30 percent of the heated air. The attic was dirty and droppings from mice were present, and there was an insufficient amount of insulation. When they turned on the furnace, the air quality suffered because more dust was present in the air. Also, the old water heater was improperly vented, creating unsafe levels of carbon monoxide. Skip noted that the assessment process gave them the insight needed to make informed decisions.
Under the Home Upgrade program, their contractor removed the old insulation and ducts and cleaned and sealed the attic. New ducts, a heat recovery ventilation system and a high-efficiency furnace and air conditioner were installed. Blown-in insulation to a depth of 17 inches was placed in the attic. The knee walls in the attic were also insulated.
To further enhance air quality, exhaust fans were installed in the kitchen and bathrooms to remove stale and moisture-laden air. The heat recovery ventilation system, integrated into the ducts, provides a fresh supply of filtered air throughout the house and evens out the temperature. A remote access, programmable thermostat controllable via the Internet with a computer tablet or smartphone was installed. A more efficient tankless water heater replaced the original water heater.
Benefits of the energy upgrade
"The biggest benefit of installing the upgrades has been the increased comfort throughout the house and there are no more temperature swings," said Skip. "Before the upgrades, the family room had no venting at all and it was either too hot or too cold. During the winter, two of the bedrooms were always too cold while during the summer the living room was too hot in the morning."
In regard to safety concerns with the old furnace Skip said, "Having a new state-of-the-art furnace provides peace of mind."
Sandy noted there is much less dust in the house now and it feels healthier. Also, the ventilation system has eliminated condensation problems in the bathrooms. "It used to take up to 30 minutes to get rid of the moisture," said Sandy. "The fans are so quiet you do not even notice they are on."
Skip installed numerous energy-saving LED lights throughout the house. He noted with the LED lights and the addition of a solar system to generate electricity have provided a significant cost savings. The Floreys also installed a tubular skylight in a windowless bathroom to bring in natural light.
"Overall, with the upgrades we don't have to think about the house anymore; it is self-regulating and there are no hassles," Skip said.
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.