Domestic harmony through energy upgrade

Domestic harmony through energy upgrade

The Bessler-Rutledges have only seen a slight change on their energy bill since their 1956 Lake City home was upgraded as a part of the Community Power Works Program in May. This is of little concern for them, though, because they have already experienced many tangible benefits from the upgrade. The house temperature stays more even overall from the new insulation and sealing. In addition, they found the new heat pump has doubled effectively as an air conditioner on Seattle’s few hot days.

More importantly, the upgrade has contributed to greater domestic harmony overall. Jen Bessler said, “The Community Power Works upgrades have improved our family harmony.” She said, “Our kids, four and seven, used to argue over who got the ‘heater spot’ at the breakfast table. Now every spot at the table is comfortable, so mealtime is way more peaceful.”

From left: Jen Bessler, Maggie Rutledge, Amina Mussa, Heidi Rutledge and Max Rutledge

The Bessler-Rutledges were spurred to make changes to their energy use after a Seattle City Light neighborhood energy consumption comparison identified their home as an “energy hog.” After an energy audit with Dusty Hoerler, the family solicited multiple bids from both inside and outside of the Community Power Works program. According to Bessler, “We found that Community Power Works had access to lots of rebates that lowered the costs significantly. Coupled with the fact that we had a project manager from SustainableWorks and long-term financing, there was really no comparison.”

The Bessler-Rutledges know that the greatest benefits of their upgrade are yet to come. As a part of the project, the family had their oil furnace removed, allowing them to switch to cleaner energy and reduce their overall carbon output. The energy savings will follow. The family is estimated to save 50% on energy consumption annually, which will work out to over $1260 each year.

Bessler said, “We might be the biggest cheerleaders for the Community Power Works program! It was really a no-brainer in our situation. We kept thinking it was ‘too good to be true’ because there really isn’t a downside. We are spending less, using less, and our home is way more comfortable.”

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Community Power Works is a Seattle neighborhood-based building retrofit program that will achieve deep energy savings and create green jobs.