Where I'm at. Home reno completed. Almost.

toppertopper Solar Expert Posts: 113 ✭✭✭✭
This all started a year ago in february of 2009 with a simple add a bedroom in the basement.
I ended up gutting the basement completely due to very bad previous workmanship. After some research I found ENERGUIDE for HOUSES was paying $$ for energy retrofits.
Starting point:
960 sq ft 1974 bungalow. (24X40)
exterior walls= R-7
Basement= R-0 No insulation in walls at all.
Ceiling= R-10 without attic ventilation. Soffit vents were there for looks only I guess.
HVAC: Nat. gas furnace and A/C was 30+ yrs old
Hot water heater was due for replacement.

Post Retrofit:
Exterior, well I had to open every wall and reinsulate. All the R-7 got pulled.
Installed Roxul R-14 inside walls thren added an R-10 Rigid foam. Vinyl sideing after that. Oh and house was wrapped.
Basement ended up getting R-28 interior wall insulation. 2 layers of R-14 Roxul. Floor got an r-10 RIGID foam. I couldn't go any more due to min ceiling height requirements.
EDIT: Rim joist got R-14 X3 layers=R-42
Cieling got upgarded to an R-50 with blow in cellulose.
HVAC: Upgraded furnace to a 97% efficient condensing type by YORK
Upgraded the A/C unit to a seer 14.5 unit.(20 amp instead of 40)
The water heater well it is power vent type with a 60-70% efficiency.
Everyone I talked to steered me away from an "on demand" unit due to their lack of longetivity and service issues.

Every light bulb in the house is a CFL except the bathroom. On/Off was burning them out early.

Upcoming :
External foundation: Will be adding R-10 rigid foam down to the footings.
Will be adding a 8 ft X 16 ft front addition/sunroom to house a solar hot water tank, batt bank, inverter etc. as well it'll double as a greenhouse. This will give me a 16X10 south exposure.
If I build it right it will increase my winter solar heat gain area by 120 sq ft. Still doing the math to minimize summer gain and maximize winter gain and a balance of thermal mass.

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,090 admin
    Re: Where I'm at. Home reno completed. Almost.

    Cool--Or should I say Warm!

    Pretty much what I did with my home--70 year old home with no insulation/energy saving stuff, except some blown in ceiling insulation.

    I did not add as much as you did (probably should have--but I was younger back then and not a smart. :roll: But, we also live in a much milder climate.

    If you have a before and after energy bill--it would be interesting to compare.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Where I'm at. Home reno completed. Almost.

    wow, that's almost like getting a new house. you say this was a government program for canada? there isn't much here to help in comparison for if we the home owner don't do it it won't be done. bb did his and mine has been a long slow work in progress.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Where I'm at. Home reno completed. Almost.

    Nicely done! I agree with everything (except possibly the demand water heat, but if you are going to solar pre-heat it won't make that much difference).

    What you have done, is show, by example how much energy we really waste, (or can save if you wish to look at it positively!). R-10 in the ceiling in Sask. is just plain crazy. the scary thing is how much energy your neighbours are using!

    I would guess you total energy consumption on an annual basis is under 1/2 of what it was, more likely 1/4. Good work, and nice to lead by example. At some point a cost of the up grade and the reduction in fuel demonstration would be illustrative.

    Tony
  • toppertopper Solar Expert Posts: 113 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Where I'm at. Home reno completed. Almost.

    Well the way I have it figured as far as gov't coverage will be about $6000.00
    for the $18,000 I spent in E upgardes. My time out anyway. The rest of the reno was somewhere near $60,000. Like I've said in a previouse post, An 80K investment = 110K of equity.
    So the way I figured it, 30% gov't grant, why not do it. After all it HAD to be done eventually.

    Solar hot water. I am considering a drain back system with a 1-2 cubic meter storage(underground). Still sizing for our needs. It looks like I'll need 32 sq ft just to preheat DHW in the winter so I'm leaning toward 64 sq ft of collector. This should preheat 70% of our usage when in high demand, and when demand is low, may even supply some home heat via a simple convection radiator using natural thermo syphon.
  • toppertopper Solar Expert Posts: 113 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Where I'm at. Home reno completed. Almost.

    HEY I'VE GRADUATED TO NOT SO NEW GUY. To what do I owe this title.;)
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Where I'm at. Home reno completed. Almost.

    So $18k to save how much energy? If my guess is correct and you have reduced your total energy consumption by ~1/2 I suspect the payback will be (even with no increase going forward in energy costs) very quick!

    IMHO, the 1/3 granted by the government is just good public policy, that has direct benefit to the community as a whole,, all at a fairly small cost. Using less energy as a society is all good going forward, given the realities of energy. (costs/environmental costs etc).

    Tony
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,963 ✭✭✭
    Re: Where I'm at. Home reno completed. Almost.
    topper wrote: »
    Well the way I have it figured as far as gov't coverage will be about $6000.00
    for the $18,000 I spent in E upgardes. .

    Not sure what your looking at, but I thought I would mention the tax credits while are 30% of energy efficiency improvements, they are capped at $1500.00 maximum credit. Solar electric and some other things don't have the cap, but by your post it seemed most of your work was insulation related.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,090 admin
    Re: Where I'm at. Home reno completed. Almost.

    Topper is out of Saskatchewan--So their limits will probably be different than in the states...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,963 ✭✭✭
    Re: Where I'm at. Home reno completed. Almost.

    OK, missed that ..
  • CaptTurboCaptTurbo Solar Expert Posts: 66 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Where I'm at. Home reno completed. Almost.

    Yes Solar guppy. While we are not yet a full blown Socialist State though we are well on our way, I wonder what our state of Florida will be doing soon?

    I had a cousin tell me today that he saw on the news last night that our RE rebate program just got new funds. That would sure be good news to me since I just found out last week that Solar Source had forgotten to get me on the list. I figured that I was not going to get a rebate anyway since we were out of money but now I have new hope.

    I plan to do something about an efficient hot water system for sure if I can get some money back as a rebate on what I have already done. I know that the state cap is 20,000.00 but the Federal 30% credit is still there and calling me.

    I will feel guilty about taking other people's money but I guess you must do what you must when thrown under a bus? What the heck? The 30% tax credit is being stolen from others too. Sadly, it is becoming a dog eat dog world.

    A note of interest: My system has been up and running from the last 11 days of April (though lots of off and on during mid day tests in April) through today. My last bill shows a credit of $257.00 and no kwh used. They billed me an estimated 133.00 though and I hate to pay it since I know that I don't owe it.

    Anyone else run into this? I have FPL here. I suppose that I should call them and ask them what to do. They have not put a new digital meter on the house yet even though all paper work was submitted well more then a month ago.
    OK, missed that ..
  • toppertopper Solar Expert Posts: 113 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Where I'm at. Home reno completed. Almost.

    Ok. I live in Saskatchewan Canada Eh!!
    Total rebates and grants:
    Federal government for 2009 tax year were handing out a tax rebate of up to $1450.00 for 10,000 worth of renovations of any kind.

    A totally different grant was introduced a couple years ago called the Energuide for Houses. It is a combined grant from the federal and provincial governments.
    The way it is set up is for every energy upgrade to point X=$xx.xx.
    97% efficient furnace = $1000.00
    Outside insulation addition of>R-9=$3000.00
    attic insulation, A/C system etc are all set out in the same way.
    They pay XX amount per XX upgrade to a set limit.
    A very good deal for us and it happened to stimulate some spending during the economic downturn. Smart move on the part of our gov't. Give us a deal and yes we will spend.

    Our energy consumption according to our E-audit.
    before upgrades: 130 Gigajoules/ yr
    After upgrades: < 40 Gigajoules /yr or a 71% decrease in energy consumtion
    .
    I have to wait and calculate my own numbers before I believe a 71% decrease.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Where I'm at. Home reno completed. Almost.

    Topper,

    I think your project is a great example of what we have been saying about conservation first, followed by some more conservation, and followed by still moret conservation. It illustrates a (relatively) few dollars on conservation has huge up side benefits Your ~70% reduction in net energy use demonstrates the fact that we waste tremendous amounts of energy. We know we can reduce our use in transport quite simply with smart choices, and you have demonstrated that we can do the same in our houses.

    Congrats.

    Tony
  • toppertopper Solar Expert Posts: 113 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Where I'm at. Home reno completed. Almost.

    Haven't been around much lately. Work has been insanely busy.
    So far we have not had to pay a gas bill for 3 months. The wife has come on side and started cold water washing without my knowledge..
    Our Equalized gas bills used to be $90.00/month for the year. That is a 25% reduction in nat gas consumption so far, and we are still in the plus according to the utility's estimated usage.
    Power usage has not changed much. $200.00/ month vs. $250.00/month last year for July. But still just the A/C = a 20% decrease in power usage.
    I still have not gotten around to doing anything else on the house. So far the E-upgrades appear to be assisting in E-reduction.
    When I get some time I will post all the actual numbers. I'm going off the top of my head right now.
  • toppertopper Solar Expert Posts: 113 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Where I'm at. Home reno completed. Almost.

    Thank-you for all the positive reinforcement guys and gals alike. Thank-you ALL. This forum has been a very valuble asset to me.
    Gives me a warm fuzzy feeling evertime I re-read this post. Just in knowing that the users of this forum appreciate the work that has been done and sees it for what it is and what it will be worth in the future.
    Thanks again.
    Topper.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,090 admin
    Re: Where I'm at. Home reno completed. Almost.

    Sound great!

    Have you noticed a reduction in drafts/noise around the home?

    What are your windows (double pane? Wood/Aluminum/Vinyl?). Are you going to do anything with them?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Where I'm at. Home reno completed. Almost.

    good point bb as we don't know your window situation. windows and even doors to the outside can have a big impact on your energy usage. i like the idea of triple pane windows as it offers real good sound as well as thermal insulation. do not use any heat reflective coatings on windows that can potentially add winter solar gains to the interior of the house. as to argon gas, i have read that it dissipates over a few years so long term i don't see argon gas as a benefit. good windows, i am assuming, will last decades and not just a few years and is the basis for my thoughts on the argon gas being unreliable. if it doesn't cost you more for that gas then, ok use it.
    now when will the pvs be going in?:confused:;):D
  • toppertopper Solar Expert Posts: 113 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Where I'm at. Home reno completed. Almost.

    Windows were all done in the past 3-5 years. Triple pane low E*2 pvc frame.
    Noise and draft reduction is quite noticable.
    I have noticed that low frequency seems louder in a way. Especially when the train rolls trough for whatever the reason.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Where I'm at. Home reno completed. Almost.

    "I have noticed that low frequency seems louder in a way. Especially when the train rolls trough for whatever the reason."

    that is an illusion as the higher frequencies were attenuated more leaving lower ones nearly the same. the lower frequencies are louder, but only in comparison to the rest of the audio range.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Where I'm at. Home reno completed. Almost.

    Personally, I am not a huge fan of triple glazed windows, except in extreme climates. In general, the amount of energy saved relative to the cost is quite small, and one can very well get way more ban for your buck by adding extra insulation in your attic for example. I know we have had this conversation here more than once, so I won't reinvent the wheel, but for those that are contemplating triple glazing, calculate the cost, then calculate the energy savings, then look at what other energy efficiency changes you might make for the same money and see which wins.

    One other (and more energy efficient) solution for heat loss through glazing, is adding insulated night shades, like warm windows, window quilts, insulated duets etc. Possible the best energy solution is add a R-5 1" styrofoam pop in panel at night. Cover with some nice fabric and store under the bed during the day, and it saves a ton of energy at a very cheap cost.

    Tony
  • n3qikn3qik Solar Expert Posts: 741 ✭✭
    Re: Where I'm at. Home reno completed. Almost.
    icarus wrote: »
    Possible the best energy solution is add a R-5 1" styrofoam pop in panel at night. Cover with some nice fabric and store under the bed during the day, and it saves a ton of energy at a very cheap cost.

    That is what I am planning to do.

    Just did 7 windows, Home Depot double pane specials, added 2" of the styrofoam on the outer walls, 1" of the stuff to the ceiling plus a drop ceiling.

    These rooms are now 10 degrees cooler the the rest of the house.
  • sub3marathonmansub3marathonman Solar Expert Posts: 300 ✭✭✭
    Re: Where I'm at. Home reno completed. Almost.
    CaptTurbo wrote: »

    I had a cousin tell me today that he saw on the news last night that our RE rebate program just got new funds. That would sure be good news to me since I just found out last week that Solar Source had forgotten to get me on the list. I figured that I was not going to get a rebate anyway since we were out of money but now I have new hope.

    I guess Solar Source lived up to their usual "forgetful" tactics. My 3/23/2010 post ( http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?t=7399&highlight=solar+source ):

    But it reminds me about another good story about my dealings with Solar Source. I had them install a solar pool heater. The heater was supposed to be entitled to a rebate from Florida. The rebate in Florida needs information about the contractor filled in before it can be submitted. They promised to send the form, so I waited and waited for the form with the information. I finally called. And this is what they said, I'm not making this up, "We don't as a rule send customers the information because we're not sure they are going to apply for the rebate." YES, they aren't sure people want the rebate from Florida that they're entitled to. I did finally get the rebate, no thanks to them.
  • toppertopper Solar Expert Posts: 113 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Where I'm at. Home reno completed. Almost.

    Well have some actual numbers to post.
    Actual energy upgrades came at a cost of $18,000 +/-.
    Government rebates amounted to $6,947.
    My total out of pocket = $11,053.
    Government covered 38.6%. Thank goodness I work for cheap.
  • toppertopper Solar Expert Posts: 113 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Where I'm at. Home reno completed. Almost.

    Actual numbers for Nov '09 to Present
    Nat Gas Previous usage 3.22 Ft3/Day
    Nov '09 to present 1.34 Ft3/day
    Power:
    Something has gone astray here.. I have to do some investigating..
    Power consumption back up to 24Kw/day.. I HAVE TO GET ON TOP OF THIS ASAP>...
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,090 admin
    Re: Where I'm at. Home reno completed. Almost.

    I don't know what units your gas bill is in... In the US it is Therms (100,000 BTUs) or 100 ft^3 (around $1-$1.20 per unit).

    You might be paying in M^3 (around 35.3 cuft) instead of cuft...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • toppertopper Solar Expert Posts: 113 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Where I'm at. Home reno completed. Almost.

    I'm going by gas meter which is in ft^3.
    Our billing is in M^3
    EDIT: gas meter is in 100ft^3 which means move my decimal points in previouse post. Only took me a few months to catch my typo.
  • toppertopper Solar Expert Posts: 113 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Where I'm at. Home reno completed. Almost.

    Finally I have had the time to do some actual calculations and have them infront of me.

    Oct to Dec of 2008 Power consumption was 2832 KW (32 KW per day)
    Gas usage was 36660 Ft^3 (407 ft^3 / day)

    Oct to Dec of 2009 Power Consumption was 2532 KW ( 28 KW per day)
    Gas usage was 33000 ft^3 ( 366 ft^3 per day)

    Oct to Dec of 2010 Power consumption was 2205 KW (24 KW per day)
    Gas usage was 18500 ft^3 (208 ft^3 per day)

    So as a whole right now Power has not really changed, but it is slowly tapering off to 77% of what it was in '08...
    Natural gas consumption on the other hand is down to 50% of what it was. All I can say is WOW.. A little insulation goes a long way.
    A HUGE THANK-YOU TO EVERYONE ON THIS FORUM. It has been an invaluble asset to me.
    Ken
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Where I'm at. Home reno completed. Almost.

    glad it's going well for you. conservation does work unless you ask my other half to do so.;)
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