Blogs > Tom Miller > January 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year


2010 was a good year, especially in terms of getting our home a bit more “buttoned up” in terms of fixing the building envelope issues, adding geothermal and landscaping in a more water-efficient manner.
The home certainly feels much more comfortable. All through a hot and humid summer, the thermostat was set at 78 and 76 degrees for the two different zones, and was much more comfortable than the previous 70-degree setting, which was cool but damp.
And along with the hot weather was a prolonged dry spell that tested the ability of the landscaping to survive without watering. Things looked pretty good going into winter, but we’ll see how the plants look this spring.
December 2010 was 20% colder than the previous December, yet our gas bill was significantly lower – 32 therms vs. 254 therms.
Now, the planning begins for 2011 projects:
First up is to contact the water, gas and electric utilities and have them run a usage report for 2009 and 2010. Then I will plot these in a spreadsheet so I can track the difference. I am interested in seeing just how much of a savings these improvements have netted out. Calculating an ROI is an important way to measure the wisdom of all this.
Next, is to conduct another blower door test to see how much tighter the building envelope is, and if it is within a reasonable range for a home built in the 1950s. After this, 2011 projects include:
Testing LED screw-in lights to see if they are of sufficient brightness and color temperature to replace indoor CFLs and decorative lights. We have already replaced outdoor floodlights with LEDs, and are quite pleased with the results.
Quote having a protective cover installed over the entire crawlspace floor to keep dust etc. from entering the living space. Also will update the radon removal system at the same time (central Indiana is a high radon area).
Replace and old wood patio door that is decayed, and leaking quite a bit of both water and air.
Finally, we’ll work on a few lifestyle issues to further reduce our energy consumption (like turning out lights when we’re not in the room), and try out composting vegetable waste rather than adding to the solid waste stream. These are little steps, but changing habits is generally a difficult chore, so it will be good to start with smaller steps.

Posted: 1/8/2011 5:27:32 AM by Heather Wallace | with 0 comments

About Me

Tom Miller is not a building scientist, green guru or even a halfway decent DIYer. However, he is passionate about making a difference, ecologically speaking.

The purpose of Tom’s blog is to share experiences and observations from a homeowner’s perspective in the hopes that it will help building professionals spot unmet needs and dramatically increase the velocity of green building adoption across the country.


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