The Journey to Energy Efficiency Has a Roadmap!
There’s a mystery around energy efficiency, but there doesn’t need to be. You can make your home as energy efficient as possible by following our Energy Efficiency Roadmap! Molly Jones, the president of Jones Design Studio, has been going through the journey of creating an energy efficient home and we want to take you along for the ride!
Do you have a Roadmap to Energy Efficiency?
Our Energy Efficiency Roadmap has three parts to it:
Reduce consumption of the amount of energy you need in your home. Look at your home’s envelope (the walls, windows, doors, roofs, foundations, and chimneys) and make sure that they are insulated, tight, and energy efficient.
Look for on-site renewables, or renewable energy sources that you can put on your property.
Offset your energy consumption while you work on future projects that will move toward elimination of consumption.
You can make your home more energy efficient!
Several years ago, Molly bought a home that was originally build in 1968. This three bedroom, two bathroom house has an almost full brick veneer, and a mixture of energy sources. The furnace, water heater, and fireplace are currently fueled by natural gas. However, the home came with energy-efficient windows already installed.
Reducing and offsetting consumption
The first thing that Molly did after moving into her new house was replace the original 1968-era patio door with an energy-efficient sliding door. She also changed the lamping in the home to LED lighting and replaced the ceiling fans so that they are also energy efficient and have LED lights within the fans.
Finally, Molly replaced the mechanical system and the ductwork because the existing ductwork didn’t allow one wing of the house to heat and cool properly. Like most homes, this home has a split system. It has an outside condensing unit to cool the home and an inside furnace and air-handling fan-motor system in the attic. Molly replaced that with a system that is even higher than the typical Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER), because she added a variable speed drive into the system. That allows the system to turn on the motor only to 30% of its power and then modulate up and down to provide what’s needed most. A variable speed drive causes a lot less wear and tear on the motors and is key to getting the energy efficiency to where Molly wanted it.
In one year, Molly saw a 25% reduction in natural gas consumption and a 32% reduction in electricity use! Just by replacing the mechanical system. It was a big investment, but it’s paying off with immediate reductions in energy consumption.
The next steps will be installing additional blown-in insulation in the attic. Molly is planning on doing that while the on-site renewables are being installed. The house will get 97% of its electric usage through a solar-panel array that will be mounted on the roof (helped out by the extra insulation).
Molly reduced her electrical energy by 32% by changing her mechanical system. The insulation will reduce that by another 15%. And the solar panels will reduce it by another 47%.
A future goal is to replace and decommission natural gas items in the home. As she makes changes to become less reliant on natural gas and convert items that are currently gas-fired to electrically-powered, she’ll revisit and modify the solar panel array.
Molly will also add a battery backup system in the near future. That will allow the ability to access stored energy from the solar panels and reduce dependence on the electric grid.
We’ll continue to share updates on Molly’s home project. We’ll show you how the solar-panel installation is going, the attributes of other system components, and how financing works. What changes can you make to your home? Are you ready to begin your energy-efficiency journey? We can help you along the way!