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Vermont families save money and stay warm with weatherization
Weatherization is a great way to save money and stay more comfortable in your home in summer and winter. By air sealing your home to prevent air leaks and insulating to help keep warm air inside the house, you can reduce the cost to heat your home. You can also cut down on drafts and regulate your home’s temperature better, no matter the season.
We’ve compiled a few stories from Vermonters who completed comprehensive weatherization projects and are now feeling the benefits.
When first-time house buyer Kelsey Burns decided to convert a one-room schoolhouse in Guilford into a home, she knew she was stepping into a piece of local history. What she didn’t know was that the century-old school’s lack of insulation would mean a host of problems. It was expensive to keep the house warm, because the building lost heat faster than Kelsey could load the woodstove. Warm air that escaped the house was causing ice to build up on the roof, and cold outdoor air that seeped in through basement walls was bringing a damp smell into the house. With the health and comfort of her four-year-old son in mind, Kelsey contacted Efficiency Vermont for advice.
“I am totally in love with my ‘new’ home! It holds heat even during the coldest winter nights, it has great air quality, and feels cozier than before. I’m amazed by all the ways Efficiency Vermont supports homeowners in their quest to save money and create an efficient home. As my son says when we come in the house, Home Sweet Home!”
Kelsey hired the Efficiency Excellence Network contractors at Vermont Foam Insulation in nearby Chester. The crew air sealed and insulated the entire structure, resulting in fresher indoor air and comfortable temperatures year-round. Ice buildups are now a thing of the past, and Kelsey is estimated to save $400 each year on heating costs.
“As a new homeowner in need of guidance, I found incredible value in what Efficiency Vermont provided,” said Kelsey. “I am so grateful to them for helping me repeatedly in this process, including telling me about Efficiency Excellence Network contractors, and about a low-interest Heat Saver loan available through a Vermont credit union so I could be able to do this project.”
Jessica Gulley-Ward and Kevin Ward’s Bennington ranch had some issues. Attic spaces weren’t properly sealed and the dirt-floor basement, which extended into a crawl space underneath the bedrooms, was poorly insulated. The result was a winter home temperature regularly 15 degrees cooler than the thermostat setting.
The couple heard about the benefits of energy efficiency through a local radio show, and contacted Shaping Energies in Rutland. After a home energy assessment, they came up with an energy investment plan that included:
- Adding insulation to the open attic spaces above the main living quarters and bedrooms
- Air-sealing throughout the home, focusing on key areas like the attic and along floor and ceiling moldings
- Upgrading insulation in the basement, crawl space, and rim joists
“Our home now tends to stay at a livable 65 degrees, even with the heat way down. Kevin and I feel that our place is truly buttoned up. This project is one of the best gifts we have given to each other.”
The couple got help from Efficiency Vermont incentives to bring down the upfront cost of the project. The result? The home’s air leakage has been reduced by 61%—saving the couple an estimated $600 per year in energy costs, and keeping them far more comfortable.
Lynn and Buddy Behrendt’s 1860s farmhouse used to require six to seven cords of wood to heat each winter, and it was still drafty and cold.
After hearing from his neighbor about efficiency work she did on her home, Behrendt called Efficiency Vermont customer support to explore his options. After a quick phone assessment, staff connected Behrendt to a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® contractor.
“The difference is incredible. Now the whole home is toasty, and we use much less wood to achieve that. At my age, it just makes sense to plan ahead.”
Working with Vermont Foam Insulation, Inc., of Chester, the Behrendts added insulation to their attic and knee walls, spray-foamed their basement walls, and air-sealed throughout. The project took one day, and the results were immediate. The Behrendts are now saving an average of 1.5 cords of wood annually, and they are far more comfortable in summer and winter.
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The case for air sealing
Air sealing is one of the least expensive and most cost-effective actions you can take to improve the comfort and energy-efficiency of your home or small business.
How to tighten up your home for better cold weather comfort (video)
Watch this video for professional tips on air-sealing your home. Locate common problem areas and learn how to seal them.