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A Second Bite at the Apple

Written by Dan McBrien, Energy Advisor 

Energize Delaware and Franklin Energy would like to recognize the quality of workmanship displayed by North East Home Energy Savers at a recent project they completed in Wilmington. The homeowners, husband and wife, had recently downsized from a larger home in Wilmington where they first discovered Delaware’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program. With the house on the market, they decided to move forward with an initial energy assessment to gain a better understanding of the home’s energy usage and identify opportunities to increase the value of the home. Using their customized report as a guide, they had two of our Home Performance contractors transform the residence and its market value, taking advantage of program incentives along the way. Hillside Heating & Cooling converted the home from oil to natural gas, and North East Home Energy Savers performed extensive weatherization measures on the shell of the home. When the time came to sell, these homeowners were able to provide their buyer with a comprehensive report of the home and a certificate of completion for the work they had performed through the program! 

Soon after the move, these Wilmington residents decided to see what else the program had to offer. Brian Scanlan with B.G. Scanlan Industries, a long-standing auditing company with the program, performed a deep dive into how their new home was operating. Brian’s on-site photos and detailed recommendations provided these homeowners with a cost-effective approach to second story comfort issues and outdated heating and cooling equipment. His initial blower door reading landed well north of an acceptable range for the 2,100 sq foot property. Brian found the unsheathed knee walls along the front and back of the home to be the culprit. With nothing blocking between floor joists, air traveled freely between floors into and out of the home. With a two-car garage sharing a connection to the front-facing knee wall space, and the master bedroom sharing an adjacent wall, sealing off these sections of the home became a priority to ensure healthy indoor air quality.    

North East Home Energy Savers visited the client once more to help solve the comfort issues they were experiencing in their new home. The master bedroom and guest rooms on the second floor had been struggling to stay cool with the summer heat penetrating through the adjacent knee wall spaces and upper attic overhead. The home’s front-facing knee wall space ran from over top the attached garage along the entire length of the home behind a front overhang. An additional knee wall space ran along the back side of the home, which the crew accessed by cutting through a section of drywall. The crew sheathed 360 sq feet of vertical knee wall section with rigid foam board and one-part foam. Their workmanship was clean and precise as they blocked each bay between floor joists and rafters overhead leading to the upper attic. The sections of knee wall flats sitting on top of first floor living space were strategically dammed and insulated. The upper attic flat was sealed, and insulation levels were brought up to code with insulation markers confirming final R-values of R-49 or higher throughout all attic spaces.  They were able to effectively encapsulate the living space from these hot knee wall spaces, eliminating heat transfer and air exchange to the second floor. A final blower door test confirmed a 61% CFM reduction!  

Hillside Heating & Cooling was brought in once more to replace the home’s aging furnace and central AC system with high-efficiency units. The homeowners recalled Hillside’s customer service to be top notch, communicating with them every step of the way and over-delivering on their promises. With a dramatic upgrade to the efficiency of their systems, coupled with the retrofits to the building shell, the client has seen operating costs drop and can feel a significant improvement in the comfort levels throughout the home. All said and done, this family received $7,325 in HPwES incentives for the work they had performed on their two Wilmington homes!    

Hats off to all our trade allies involved with this project. Check out some before and after photos below!

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