Energy upgrades net big savings | SteamboatToday.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Energy upgrades net big savings

Steamboat Springs residents Paul Hebert and Mayling Simpson have worked to improve the comfort and energy efficiency of their 1938 house in Old Town
simpson-hebert_home

Energy efficiency work completed on Simpson/Hebert home

• Can lights were capped and sealed or removed and replaced with surface-mounted fixtures.

• Closed-cell insulation and moisture barrier were installed in crawl space.

• Exterior wall electrical plugs and light switches were insulated.

• Hot water pipes were insulated.

• Attic staircase access was air-sealed and insulated

• Spray foam insulation and additional eight inches of blown-in cellulous insulation were added in the attic.

• Honeycomb shades and new double-paned windows were installed in living room

• A new, highly insulated “cold” roof was added on the top roof of a 1976 addition on the house.

For years, Steamboat Springs residents Mayling Simpson and Paul Hebert maintained their house in the Old Town neighborhood as home base during their busy careers in international health and humanitarian aid work in Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa.

Energy efficiency work completed on Simpson/Hebert home

• Can lights were capped and sealed or removed and replaced with surface-mounted fixtures.

• Closed-cell insulation and moisture barrier were installed in crawl space.



• Exterior wall electrical plugs and light switches were insulated.

• Hot water pipes were insulated.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.



• Attic staircase access was air-sealed and insulated

• Spray foam insulation and additional eight inches of blown-in cellulous insulation were added in the attic.

• Honeycomb shades and new double-paned windows were installed in living room

• A new, highly insulated “cold” roof was added on the top roof of a 1976 addition on the house.

When they retired and returned to Steamboat full time in 2010, they knew they needed to upgrade their house to be warmer and more comfortable during the mountain winters. The old-school construction model of the 1938 house, with a drafty, open basement and a leaky attic, was not working.

“We knew that we could do better in terms of making this house more energy efficient and comfortable,” Simpson said.

Their first step was hiring certified energy auditor Ivars Mikelsons, of Greenleaf Building Performance in Oak Creek. Although Hebert has a Ph.D. in environmental engineering, the home energy performance still provided plenty of “wow” findings, he said.

“It was enlightening, because we were able to see from infrared photos where we were losing the most heat — in the attic, basement and master bedroom,” Hebert said.

For example, the master bedroom floor had no insulation underneath to keep the cold from seeping in from the basement underneath. Old, recessed can lights in the kitchen and living room and poor attic insulation in older parts of the home were also causing great heat loss through the ceiling.

The couple had completed a variety of upgrades in the old home in the past, such as converting wood-burning fireplaces to more-efficient natural gas fireplaces. They added an expansion with a cold roof, which utilizes intense insulation and air sealing to keep the heated air inside the house and out of the attic. But after the audit, they had clear direction for improvements for work the summers of 2011 and 2012.

“This audit is the only way you can know what to fix, and we did learn a lot,” said Simpson, who has a Ph.D. in medical anthropology. “When you see the infrared, you can see where the heat is escaping from the house.”

Both spray foam and additional baton insulation were added in the attic, the basement crawlspace, under floors and in a new roof structure over the living room. Water pipes in the basement were heavily insulated. Lights throughout the house were upgraded to more efficient CFL or LED bulbs.

With the lighting upgrades, the couple’s electricity usage decreased by 46 percent, and their electricity bill costs decreased by 34 percent for a savings of $719 in the first two years. As the heated living spaces became more airtight and poorly insulated roof areas were addressed, roof-damaging ice dams disappeared. A follow-up blower door test, which measures air circulation exchanges, showed a 40 percent decrease in air leakage after the energy efficiency upgrades.

Added home comfort was a key improvement.

“Now, our house stays a steady temperature more easily. We don’t have the really big dips in winter, and floors over the crawlspace are now warm,” Simpson said. “Before the energy audit, we really had no idea how and where to make the improvements that we knew we needed to make. You only see the effects, but you don’t see the causes.”

Work completed at the Old Town home, such as LED lights, air sealing and the energy audit, now are eligible for Cen$ible Energy rebates for all Yampa Valley Electric Association customers. Learn more at censibleenergy.org.


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.

 

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


News

The Longevity Project’s live event goes virtual

The Longevity Project event, sponsored by Steamboat Pilot & Today, has shifted from in-person to virtual. The keynote speaker Kevin Hines contracted COVID-19, and he will now be presenting his talk remotely.



See more