Ithaca, New York
Field Evaluation: Cold Weather Energy Retrofit
A small, one-story, two-bedroom ranch with a conditioned basement, built circa 1950 in Ithaca, New York, has been earmarked for an energy retrofit/remodel by its owners. They are committed to reducing energy usage in their home and seeking recommendations on optimizing their project.
Preliminary analysis shows considerable room for improvement in both gas and electric usage. All major energy-consuming equipment is in need of replacement, including the furnace, water heater, refrigerator, and washer/dryer.
The thermal envelope could also be improved. Currently, the attic has R-19 insulation (R-38 is recommended), and the conditioned basement has uninsulated walls. In addition, upgrading the windows, doors, and whole house air sealing will also provide substantial energy savings and improved comfort.
The duration of the project is expected to cover two heating seasons. The first season is for monitoring the "before" house, and the second for the post-retrofit, "after" house. Monitoring equipment was installed in November 2002. Monitoring points include the gas furnace, water heater, major electrical loads, and both indoor and outdoor temperatures.
The energy retrofit and remodel began in June 2003. A 400 square foot addition was positioned on the front of the house, complete with basement. The new foundation walls are prefabricated insulated concrete. Other scheduled improvements include a tankless water heater, low-e insulated windows, energy-efficient appliances, additional attic insulation, insulated existing basement walls, and a high efficiency gas furnace. Construction is expected to be complete by early fall.
Content updated on 10/4/2004