Meet Happy Homeowners: Renee and Alex

Meet Happy Homeowners: Renee and Alex

When Renee and Alex moved into their 1912 Lakewood-Seward Park craftsman home seven years ago, they knew there was a lot of work to be done. “But we thought it was a happy house,” Renee said, “with great ‘bones’ and in a great location.”

With drafty floors and windows, patchy insulation, and an inefficient oil furnace, an energy upgrade was high on the wish list of home improvements. But with so many considerations involved in completing an upgrade; between finding a good auditor and reliable contractors whose work is guaranteed, it was daunting to start the project. “When I stumbled across the Community Power Works website, I was excited about the chance to do this work in a supported way, with accountability for contractors and auditors around energy saving outcomes,” said Renee.

With the help of Community Power Works’ approved contractors Batt + Lear, Renee and Alex were able to replace their oil furnace with a ductless heat pump, install a heat pump water heater, add insulation to the attic, air seal the floor, install weather stripping and storm windows, and replace single-pane windows with energy efficient ones.

The results? “There is a noticeable difference already in the comfort level of the house – it is warm and not drafty,” said Renee. Even better, the upgrade is projected to reduce energy use by 60%!

“It feels like an investment into the right stuff – investing in systems and approaches that will save money and energy over the long run,” said Renee. “It gives a sense of doing the right thing for our house and the world.”

Read more about Renee and Alex’s project below:

Name: Renee and Alex
Neighborhood: Lakewood (Seward Park)
Year House Built: 1912
Auditor: Dean Martinson (ACME Home Performance)
Contractor: Batt + Lear

How did you hear about Community Power Works? Through the Climate Co-op website

What motivated you to explore an energy upgrade for your home?
The house was a definite “fixer-upper” with lots of needs — one of those being an energy upgrade!  It was something we had been thinking about for a long time and this seemed like the perfect chance to do it!  When I stumbled across the CPW website, I was excited about the chance to do this work in a supported way with accountability for contractors and auditors around the energy saving outcomes.

Getting the energy and systems issues of the house addressed seemed like the right approach and the right place to invest resources into the house.  The idea of investing in energy upgrades now to make the biggest impact over the life of the house was very appealing.  This program provided the resources to make it possible.

What were any specific problems or issues with your home that are addressed through your home energy upgrade?
Inefficient heating system—old oil furnace that blew hot air out of a giant hallway grate without working ductwork; drafty floor, doors, and windows; musty areas of the basement;  lack of insulation in certain areas.

What was the most surprising thing you learned about your house through the energy audit?
That energy upgrades could have significant impact on energy usage – an estimated 60%!  Also that small fixes (like storm windows, fireplace balloon, etc…) can have a big impact.

We also learned a lot about the idea of the “envelope” — air sealing and insulating space that is used for living and then leaving other space as unconditioned space.

What specific work did you have done?
Converted from an oil furnace to a ductless heat pump; installed a heat pump water heater; added insulation to the attic; air sealed the floor; weather stripping; air sealing; installed storm windows; replaced single pane windows with energy efficient ones

How do you feel about having your home upgraded?
It feels like an investment into the right stuff – investing in systems and approaches that will save money and energy over the long run…so it gives a sense of doing the right thing for our house and the world.    There is a noticeable difference already in the comfort level of the house – it is warm and not drafty.

What would you like to share with others who are considering joining the Community Power Works program?
Community Power Works offers an incredible opportunity to do energy work in a supported way.  Everyone in the program has been great to work with and has offered expertise and information.  The incentives and rebates make doing this work now a smart move.

From our first meeting with Dean (ACME Home Performance), we knew we were in good hands.   He spent hours analyzing our home’s energy usage and his enthusiasm was contagious!  There were so many issues to assess and he made sure to address them all.

We chose Batt
Batt+ Lear as our contractor and have been 100% satisfied!  They invested time and energy into finding the best options for our house and then worked with us to understand the choices available.  They were fabulous and I highly recommend them for your project!  They helped us achieve the lofty goal of 60% energy savings!

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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.