Sustainable Westport thanks Westporter Jenine Suchanec and family for sharing their recent home energy audit experience with us and inspiring the launch of our Profiles in Sustainability series. Jenine had nothing but positive news to share about the outcome of the audit and remediation work conducted by a certified HES contractor during the pandemic. We encourage everyone to schedule a free home energy audit to reduce energy use, save money, live more comfortably and lower your carbon footprint. Contact email@example.com if you’d like to share your personal sustainability experience for this series.
Being both financially and environmentally conscious, when I saw fellow Westporters talking about having a home energy audit on the Westport Front Porch Facebook group, I was interested. My husband and I live in a recently renovated home, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t a chance for us to improve our energy usage. Even so, I was a bit skeptical about both paying the fee and having someone in our house with the pandemic in full swing. When I called to have to schedule through the Energize CT Home Energy Solutions program, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the home energy assessement would be completely free and they had excellent COVID protocols.
I didn’t really know what they would do and if they’d do anything that was worthwhile, but we decided to take a shot and schedule them to come in and do the audit. After all, even if they fixed the one door where it felt a bit drafty in the winter, it’d probably be worth it. Before they came in they asked us to send some pictures and talk about points of interest in our house (our attic, our basement, our HVAC, etc). Even just talking to them about these provided useful information about the energy usage in our home.
The crew that came in to do the audit was excellent. We have a huge number of can lights in our ceiling and the builder had put in incandescent light bulbs. We had already been replacing them with LEDs as they burned out, but part of the audit process was to replace a large number of our old, energy inefficient incandescent bulbs. Even before any of the other more substantial improvements, replacing bulbs with LEDs made them coming in worth it.
The major part of the work involved them putting a frame with a fan over our front door to conduct a blower door test measuring how much air our house leaked. They then went through looking for places where air could or was leaking and sealing that. That meant using a clear caulk around the baseboards, adding spray foam in some places, adding door sweeps in our basement, and other various minor improvements. There were no major changes, just simple common sense things. They also told us more major changes we could consider like adding insulation to our crawlspace area under our master suite.
On-the-spot energy fixes they did:
- replaced 16 light bulbs with LEDs
- did clear caulk around floor baseboards
- foamed around the interior water lines (in our bathrooms, ones going to the outside spigots)
- insulated the attic hatch in upstairs bedroom
- wrapped the ducting in the floor vent in the kitchen
- adjusted the door plate on the patio door to make it more air tight
- did more insulation (foam) gaps in the attic
- put door sweeps on the basement doors
We were sent a full report on the same day. Now, all we had left to do was decide whether to do additional recommendations they gave us. The number of improvements they had made to our home in a single day for free was unbelievable!
Since having the audit our utility bills have gone down and we are reducing our family’s carbon footprint. So it’s truly a win-win both for our finances and the environment. I’d say to everyone, there is no reason to not take advantage of this service. Even if there are not as many improvements to make in your house as we had, you will at a minimum be better informed about your home and feel better about your carbon footprint.
This article is the first in our Profiles in Sustainability series and we welcome submission ideas from all Westport residents.
End note: Sustainable Westport encourages everyone to schedule a free home energy audit to reduce energy use, save money, live more comfortably and lower your carbon footprint. Visit EnergizeCT to learn more about the HES program and receive a list of certified contractors.