January 27, 2013

phased DER: introduction

a slow and steady deep energy retrofit
making your home super energy-efficient doesn’t have to be super expensive

For me, one of the most exciting parts about buying a house is getting to make energy improvements to it. I'll be writing a series of posts documenting our process of making this 1950s house super energy-efficient, in the most cost-effective way possible (hopefully). It will be a phased retrofit, in that we'll do it in stages, as equipment fails or as we have time and money.

As an introduction, here is the house and some of its energy characteristics:

Floor area:989 ft2 (exterior dimensions)
Attic insulation:~R-16 (~7” blown fiberglass added in 1995)
Wall insulation:none
Crawlspace insulation:none
Air tightness:1649 cfm @ 50 Pa, 8.83 ACH50, 0.48 nACH
(including crawlspace volume)
Windows:double-pane clear, vinyl frame, sliders
Heating:80% efficient natural gas boiler, baseboard radiators
Water Heating:0.59 EF atmospheric combustion natural gas water heater
Cooling:Whole-house fan

Some of the topics I'll be touching on in this series include:
  • Overall Vision
  • Financing/Rebates
  • Energy Audit
  • Utility bill analysis
  • Air sealing
  • Radon mitigation
  • Wall insulation
  • Ventilation/Bathroom Exhaust Fan
  • Whole-House Fan
  • Attic bypass sealing
  • Attic insulation
  • Crawlspace insulation plans
  • Space and Water Heating System Plans
  • Windows
I hope you follow along and maybe learn something along the way--I know I will!

Click to see all posts in this series:
a slow and steady deep energy retrofit


  1. Wait, you guys live in Colorado, don't you? And no insulation in the walls?? YIKES.

    Did you know that the $30/week guys are doing something a lot like this with their new house blog, minnisingh.com?

  2. Yes, and sadly, most homes built before the 1970s have no wall insulation, regardless of climate.

    Thanks for mentioning minnisingh...another food sustainability blogger making expanding to include shelter, energy, etc.!