Energy-efficient home saves 22 percent on natural gas billWritten by Paige Shermis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The house at 3304 River Road in Toledo has seen some significant changes in the past two years.
The owner of the 116-year-old home, Jim Zawodny, got married to wife Rachel, and the two had a baby daughter.
The focus of a news conference at the Zawodny home June 17, however, was the changes in energy efficiency that have occurred at the home since an energy audit was made two years ago and subsequent improvements were done.
“What we did two years ago was a complete energy audit, from basement to attic. We looked at the amount of insulation the home had, we looked at the efficiency and effectiveness of appliances, and we looked at the air leakage that occurs around the home,” said Chris Kozak, communications and community relations manager with Columbia Gas of Ohio.
The improvements to the home were a part of the Home Performance Solutions program, a joint venture between Columbia Gas and Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.
Kevin Moyer, executive director of Better Buildings Northwest Ohio at Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, said that the initial home audit for the Home Performance Solutions program costs $50. If the homeowners decide to make the recommended changes, the $50 goes toward those costs.
“You get a computerized printout air leakage number, and also pulls your energy data, and shows recommended improvements along with the associated energy savings. There’s a whole packet of information that the homeowner gets that shows how to fill out the forms and how to call and arrange for the improvements to be made,” Moyer said.
The Zawodny home received the recommended changes, Kozak said.
“The owners had 2,050 feet insulation added to walls, 930 feet of insulation added to the attic, 217 feet added to the crawlspace and 15 hours of air-sealing work done. After rebates and program incentives, the homeowners spent just under $500 to have this work done,” Kozak said.
Since the improvements, the Zawodny family has had an annual average decrease of their natural gas consumption of 22 percent, and they have seen their natural gas bill decrease by 22 percent, totaling at a decrease of $232 a year, Rachel Zawodny said.
The Zawodny home is one of 1,700 homes that have had an energy audit done since 2009. Out of this number, 964 homeowners have made the recommended improvements to their homes.
About 250,000 cubic feet of natural gas has been saved through this program, Kozak said.
The decreases in the gas bill and in gas consumption are not the only benefits to the program, Rachel said.
“For sure, it’s definitely not as drafty,” she said.
The overall decrease in gas usage in the past two years is especially shocking when the house’s occupancy is taken into account, Kozak said.
“The original number is based on the homeowner, Jim, living there [alone]. [The home] went from one occupant to two parents and a baby,” he said.
Additionally, the home’s resale value has increased, Kozak said.
“A study from the University of North Carolina shows that people that live in energy efficient homes are 32 percent less likely to default on their mortgages. A study from UCLA found that having a “green” house adds an average of 9 percent to its selling value. [The Zawodnys] have maximized the value of their home,” he said.
Moyer said that the purpose of the news conference on Monday at the Zawodny home was to demonstrate the energy savings.
“The point was to follow up with our first project example to see how the project did, and to make sure the home was getting energy improvements,” he said.
The Home Performance Solutions program is open and available for anyone who wants to get the work done, Kozak said. The number for anyone interested in an energy audit at Columbia Gas is (877) 644-6674.
“Especially since we’ve had a baby last year, we wanted to get the changes done before she came. We were happy with the whole program,” Rachel said.