Developed by Central Vermont Community Action Council In partnership with Efficiency Vermont
What will we learn today? Why should we Button Up Vermont? What are the energy conservation and efficiency opportunities? How can we improve buildings? What can you do? Resources to help you Button Up.
The building – Your building itself wastes energy! The equipment – You can switch equipment to get more bang for your buck with efficient technologies. The people – How you manage your consumption affects how much energy you use. The Big Three
Invest in improving your building – and you’ll see permanent changes in your energy use When it’s time to switch appliances and heating systems, look for more efficient models Train yourself (and use the right tools) to reduce your daily consumption Opportunities
You have to start where it works for your life Changing behaviors (thermostat, sweaters, using the fan) Changing equipment Doing home improvements –Yourself or with a contractor Adding new technology It’s all about you
Warm air pushes upward through holes at the top of house, creating negative pressure that sucks in cold air through holes at the bottom Air leaks drive heat loss
Improving the building Find the leaks Seal the leaks Improve the insulation Improve ventilation Address health & safety
Common leaks in Vermont homes Image courtesy of US EPA
Effects of air leakage Air leaking into the attic wastes heat, melts snow, and causes roof ice. Moisture condenses and promotes mold growth.
Blower door to detect air leakage An energy audit will: Find where air is leaking –Using a blower door test to help quantify air leakage Prioritize air sealing –Start with the worst leaks Image courtesy Energy Conservatory.
Air sealing creates an air barrier Stops air leaks that are coming through the attic and basement – “The Shell” or “Windbreaker” Photo courtesy of GoAbout Photography
Air sealing priorities Attic – you can stop warm air leaking out Basement – you can stop cold air being sucked in Center level of house – can be tough to work on and costly
Thermal imaging Can be used to look for areas of heat loss. –Using Infrared (IR) Thermography can provide an accurate picture of temperature differences in your building
Insulation creates a thermal barrier Insulation helps your home resist conductive heat loss. “The Sweater” – but is less effective if air flows through it Photo courtesy of GoAbout Photography
Conduction and R-Values R-values measure a material’s resistance to conductive heat transfer Materials with higher resistance to heat transfer have higher R-values (commonly called “insulation”) Materials with lower resistance to heat transfer have low R-values, such as glass, steel, concrete, wood, and wallboard
Add insulation After air sealing, add insulation to achieve recommended R-values, where feasible The thermal barrier (“Sweater”) should always be in contact with air barrier (“Windbreaker”) Photo courtesy of GoAbout Photography
Why health and safety matter Your house is a system! A professional will test and correct any issues with: –Carbon monoxide caused by incomplete burning –Moisture and mold which can cause health and building problems. –Backdrafting: combustion gases coming back in your house –Other health and safety issues
Plan the work, work the plan 1. Get an energy assessment Understand what’s happening in YOUR house Make the plan that works for you 2: Make changes as they make sense for you Change what you can now (thermostat, light bulbs) Switch when you have to replace or fix Save for or finance your building upgrades Do it yourself or hire a contractor to do it all 3: Save and invest – As you make improvements, put your energy savings aside for the next step on your plan
It all starts with getting an energy assessment An energy assessment is a comprehensive evaluation of your home’s: –Air leakage –Insulation levels –Heating system safety –Appliance efficiency and safety An energy report includes: –Professional advice on ways to improve the comfort and durability of your home with cost estimates –Assistance in prioritizing energy efficiency improvements to fit your budget
What does it cost? Saving 20-30% on heating can cost anywhere from $5,000-$10,000 Vermont’s Weatherization Assistance Program provides free energy improvements for income- eligible households. Efficiency Vermont’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR ® program provides access to incentives: –Professional Contractor –Do-It-Yourself Home energy audits average approximately $400/home
How do you pay for improvements? Incentives from Efficiency Vermont & Federal tax credits provide some money back. PACE program (in participating towns) Use savings or home equity line of credit NeighborWorks Alliance of Vermont: low interest loans for income-qualified homeowners
What about renewable energy? Efficiency first, then renewable energy Solar energy: includes passive solar design for space heating, hot water, and electrical needs Biomass – wood pellets and cordwood Small-scale wind – limited applications Incentives available on renewables as well
Understand what’s happening with your house: invest in an energy assessment Practice no-cost energy conservation Invest in low-cost efficiency options Make a plan for reducing your home energy use Choose the path that’s right for you Button Up to do list