Chicago, IL (PRWEB) August 31, 2011
Two years ago, Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley was only able to supply six houses a year for at-risk families in Washtenaw County, MI. Today, by renovating vacant, foreclosed homes, instead of building new ones, this hard-working group of volunteers has been able to offer home ownership to more than 15 families since the beginning of the year, while creating safe neighborhoods out of run-down areas. By conducting comprehensive home energy audits and whole house energy efficiency retrofits the homes were able to achieve Energy Star certification. Each house is thoroughly tested for energy performance by a HERs Rater under Priority Energy's RESNET Providership.
Habitat for Humanity has made a commitment to themselves; that each of their houses will be as energy efficient as possible and adhere to and pass the Energy Star certification. Using state of the art equipment and construction practices, each house has been renovated with energy saving features, such as exterior rigid foam insulation, dense pack cellulose wall insulation, spray foam roof decking, insulated foundations, extreme airduct sealing and energy efficient HVAC systems and appliances. This combination of energy efficiency retrofit work, in these 1100 – 1300 sq ft houses, guarantees the homeowner’s annual utilities to be only $800-$1000 per year; less than $80 a month.
‘In July, however, we had a particularly difficult house to fix,’ said Rob Nissly, Housing Director at Habitat. ‘When, after 3–4 days of repeated testing, patching and wasting man power and this one house would still not pass the Energy Star test the group contacted Priority Energy of Chicago.
Priority Energy is an energy solutions company that provides home energy audits, training and Aeroseal services throughout the Midwest. As soon as Mr. Nissly discussed the air leakage and testing results with them, it was agreed that Aeroseal was the best solution. With the Aeroseal technology the ductwork was sealed in just one day. The process did not disrupt the family and was not destructive to their home. The comfort, air quality and efficiency was immediately improved. The house went from an unacceptable air leakage rate of 690 cfm to a total leakage of 104 cfm, an 85% reduction in heating and cooling loss.
Rob Schildgen, owner and founder of Priority Energy says, "Habitat of Huron Valley is doing an amazing job; all of the homes we've reviewed so far have been extremely well insulated and air sealed and have high efficiency furnaces. And now, by virtually eliminating duct leakage with the use of Aeroseal, these houses are some of the most efficient homes we've seen. We applaud them for their efforts in making energy costs as low as possible for these families!"
If every homeowner sealed their leaky ductwork consumers across the U.S. would save over $5 billion in energy costs each year. Duct leaks can be difficult and costly to find with ductwork hidden between the walls, floors, and ceilings. The older, traditional use of mastic (a messy caulk-like substance) or taping of leaks not only is less effective than Aeroseal, but also can be very labor-intensive and expensive and can only be applied to ducts through physical access. The Aeroseal process is quick, non-destructive, non-toxic and has a ten year warranty. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has rated the Aeroseal duct sealing process as one of the 23 most beneficial technologies available to American consumers today.
About Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley Affiliate
Established in 1989, Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley has built or renovated almost 100 homes in Washtenaw County, MI. Habitat homeowners qualify for an interest-free mortgage from Habitat, make a $500 down payment, and put in at least 300 hours (per adult household member) of “sweat equity” building their home. In 2006, Huron Valley opened a 15,000 square foot home improvement outlet called the ReStore to sell donated building materials, furniture, and appliances to the public. All proceeds from the ReStore support Habitat’s mission of building and renovating more homes for low-income families. For more information, visit http://www.h4h.org.