With the recent economic downturn, and subsequent drop in home values, many homeowners are deciding to stay put and renovate their existing homes, and recent reports show that this trend will continue. And as you might guess, the process of providing the tight thermal envelope needed for an energy efficient home becomes a little more challenging with a renovation project.
We are just beginning an interesting home renovation in Olivette, Missouri-an older community about 15 miles west of downtown St. Louis. We are working with a wonderful young family to turn a 60-year-old ranch into a story and a half, “new” home. Part of the project will include removing the existing roof and adding attic trusses for a three bedroom, two bath second floor with a loft.
As they say, this is a perfect home for the project because it has good “bones.” But, as our energy audit found, this home does not have a good thermal envelop. A home energy audit helps assess how much energy your home consumes and evaluates what you can do to make it more energy efficient. Part of that process is a blower door test which showed an air exchange rate of 11. That means the air inside the house is replaced 11 times in one hour which is not efficient. We are currently building new homes with air exchange rates below 3, and our goal with this renovation project is to cut the air exchange rate to less than two-which will save the homeowner substantially on their utility bills, make the home more comfortable, and improve the indoor air quality.
As the demo process began, we quickly found what was causing the problem – no wall insulation and there wasn’t any kind of sealing package. This is not unusual as many older homes have been built with little or no insulation. This retrofit will include a very thorough caulk/seal and insulation package. The home will also be Energy Star rated and verified green through the National Association of Home Builder’s National Green Building Program.
The entire renovation should take about 3-4 months and we invite you to follow the process on our blog. We’ll let you know what we’re doing and why as we work through the project. This is a terrific “old” home, and we look forward to making it “new” again.