November 18, 2010
NYSERDA-Sponsored Project in Oneida County Finds Extreme Ways to Dramatically Cut Energy Use in Older Homes
“Deep Retrofit” program inspires local contractors to explore new home insulation techniques
ROME, NY (November 18, 2010) — In an environmentally-friendly version of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has partnered with local contractors to transform some turn-of-the-century Oneida County homes into laboratories for testing new models of energy efficiency.
Under a demonstration program funded by NYSERDA and the Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency, contractors have installed state-of-the-art measures on four houses in Rome and Utica in hopes of finding cost-effective ways to dramatically reduce energy consumption by retrofitting older homes that make up a large portion of our housing stock.
“Applying new techniques to older buildings can not only help New Yorkers save money and cut energy use, but also help create green jobs in upstate New York,” said Francis J. Murray, Jr., NYSERDA President and CEO.
In typical home energy efficiency retrofits, owners will take steps like adding insulation to the attic, blowing cellulose into the walls, sealing around doors and changing sash windows for double-panes, among other standard practices.
In contrast, a “Deep Retrofit” project can include many more significant measures, including:
- Sealing the attic/roof connection or removing the roof and building it up with rigid insulation and installing a metal roof.
- Removing the house siding and installing a foil-backed material to air-seal the walls, and adding 4-inch thick foam insulation on top.
- Sealing basement walls and floor with foam and a rubber mat that allows water to drain, while leaving the basement accessible for laundry and storage.
- Adding a more efficient heating and hot-water system.
Absolute measurements of the improvements in the Oneida County homes won't be available until this winter's heating bills can be compared to last year's. However, blower-door tests – basically a giant vacuum that tests air leakage – showed significant reductions in drafts in the house.
By working on owner-occupied buildings, the project is both training workers in advanced techniques while providing insights into methods to reduce costs and result in more retrofit business for contractors and greater energy savings for society.
Kalex Energy Co. of Utica, now in the midst of putting the finishing touches on a house in Rome, is one of two contractors that conducted the “deep retrofit.” Tag Mechanical Systems Inc. of Syracuse is also completing its second home in Utica as part of this overall project.
For examples from the pilot, visit Advanced Residential Buildings Deep Retrofit.
NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect our environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York since 1975.
(518) 862-1090, ext. 3561
Last Updated: 05/14/2013