We performed a weatherization job on a 5,000 sq. foot house near Winchester, VA this past week. The initial energy audit produced the homeowner with several low-cost options for lowering their energy bills. This was a large home in Front Royal, which is about a half hour south of Winchester, VA and about an hour west of Washington D.C. The home was built in 2004 by the owner and an above average job had been done as far as construction was concerned. The big plus was that the home was all brick. This is expensive these days, but the cost of brick veneer has a payback when it comes to maintenance and energy efficiency. So many homes with vinyl siding leak horribly, due to the fact that vinyl provides little protection from the wind and elements.
Positive attributes of the home were:
- Variable speed air handlers
- Brick veneer
- 2′ roof overhangs for shading in the summer
- spray foam insulation in several areas of the home
- recirculating hot water pipes that were not insulated
- voids to the building cavity in the combustion appliance zone located in the basement
- poor air sealing in the attic
- lack of programmable thermostats
- lack of duct sealing throughout all zones
- poorly insulated attic accesses
All of the above problems were remedied to the satisfaction of the homeowner and the building scientists at Sustainable Home Energy Solutions. Over a case of spray foam cans were used during this installation, so the air sealing that took place was greatly needed. Particularly in the attic, there were many bypasses that allowed for the escape of hot air from the home. Remember, hot air rises and plugging these holes in the attic is an economical way to lower energy bills. Some homes lose 50% of their heat from air movement and low-cost air sealing will stop this from taking place.