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Home in New Haven with two Cold Climate Heat Pumps

Building Energy takes a holistic approach to home energy efficiency and is able to deliver a comprehensive solution to your home’s energy usage. For Matt and his family, having several stages to the process made the total cost of the projects more viable. Taking this multi-step approach is a great way to increase equity in your home. This customer had solar, heat pumps, windows, and insulation work done over several years.

Findings from the Energy Audit:

Energy audits are a key first step to assess a home’s energy consumption and determining which measures will make a home more energy-efficient. After completing an energy audit, our team came back to the homeowner with a number of findings and work recommendations to best address concerns. A primary concern was the attic above the original portion of the home was under-insulated and not air-sealed properly. Along the same line, the knee walls along the front of the home were under-insulated and a major source of air infiltration and heat loss due to a lack of proper air sealing. With regards to the basement, the door was a major source of air infiltration and should be replaced. Additionally, the stone foundation walls in the basement were a source of heat loss and air infiltration. The crawlspace needed some air sealing, so that was also addressed. Furthermore, the dirt floor in the crawlspace needed a vapor barrier installed to stop moisture from infiltrating from the ground. Lastly, to address these talking points our team implemented attic R-59 insulation loose-fill and air sealing, crawlspace, and basement insulation.

The Farmhouse:

Prior to the insulation work, the homeowners reported that the house “leaked like a sieve”. Matt and his family were able to get the entire Efficiency Vermont incentive and met the 10% reduction in their heating expenses as a result of our insulating the attic, basement, and some of the knee walls around the house. Despite this being a new house for these customers they already report a noticeable improvement in the comfort of their home. The previous homeowner had to move the furniture in the living and dining rooms into the kitchen for the winter to be near the wood cookstove. In order to heat the home, they would average going through four cords of wood. Now, they can comfortably move about the entire house without needing to worry about the draftiness. This was a quick process for the homeowner, as it took two days for the insulation to be installed. 

Specifications of the solar array, heat pumps, windows, and insulation work:

The home is an old farmhouse from 1840 and has had multiple renovations. The windows needed to be replaced, and the insulation needed a major overhaul. Matt initially reached out in 2016 to get an energy audit conducted. From there, Building Energy was able to recommend a scope of work that would optimize the heating efficiency of the home in addition to a solar array.  

The family signed on for a solar array in December of 2016 after consulting with Nik Ponzio, our lead solar engineer, and co-founder. By August of 2017, our team had installed a 35 panel, 9.625 kW solar system. The total production estimate for this system is 30 Years and 319,825 kWH over the lifespan of the system or 11,454 kWh / year. As part of this investment, our customer was able to take advantage of the 30% Federal tax credit at the time. 

The heat pump system process was initiated in June 2017 with a site visit. After some consideration, it was determined that six single-zone units would be most effective for this house. As part of this project the client was able to take advantage of the Efficiency Vermont instant rebate for $2,100, and the Green Mountain Power instant rebate for $2,400. 

Advice from Matt and the family following their experience:

Know that the increased equity in your house will make this a worthwhile investment. The family was methodical about how they planned this project, and encourage others to not be deterred even if their project would be a multi-staged improvement over several years. Reflecting on the experience, they are pleased with their decision to have their solar array accommodate their heat pump energy usage despite the fact that they didn’t get solar and the heat pumps installed simultaneously.  They are pleased with the outcome of their plan and would highly recommend working with Building Energy. Consequently, their neighbor, Margaret, called Joel regarding heat pumps upon seeing the completion of their project. 

If you’re interested in solar, heat pumps, or weatherization call us at 802-859-3384, or email [email protected]. We look forward to working with you!

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