Google+ House Revivals: Remember When We Got That Energy Audit?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Remember When We Got That Energy Audit?

Last year we had an energy audit done at the beach house. Best. Idea. Ever! Around that same time we were buying another property and renovating it and dealing with the sudden loss of my husband's mother, so I didn't share too much about the improvements we made afterward. While I shared a little about the audit here...

and here,...

I haven't shared much about our progress making the beach house more energy efficient and more comfortable. If you haven't followed our beach house renovation story, you can read a little about it here.

Our house originally had steel Anderson casement windows.... and the mechanism on every single window had disintegrated in the damp salt air, making it nearly impossible to get them cranked all the way closed. Unfortunately, during the earlier stages of the renovations we had to focus on this wing of the house:

And we were distracted with lifting the house:

The windows on the ocean side of the house were just going to have to wait, but boy was that side of the house cold in the winter! After the energy audit, we realized just how bad the windows were and arranged to have them replaced before another winter had passed.

The original windows were about four feet wide, divided into two two foot sections. It's so windy on the beach, and we have so many windows, that we chose not to replace all the windows with operable windows -- less opportunity for future leaks this way.... and better views! We wanted to replace each pair of windows with an eight foot wide picture window, but our structural engineer advised against it, so we installed four foot wide picture windows across the ocean side of the house.

Do you see that haze on all the windows -- including the new picture window? That is the reality of beach life. It takes about one day for windows to develop a salt haze! Some folks wash their windows every day. We're too lazy for that and only wash them if company is coming.

We also replaced all the floor insulation and repaired some insulation in the knee walls. All these improvements made a huge difference! Because of the audit, we knew exactly where to focus our efforts. We are by no means finished with our energy upgrades, but in the first winter after those energy improvements, we saw a savings of about 25% on our heating bill, and the house was much more comfortable. If your heating bills are really high, or your house just feels cold or drafty, I would encourage you to have an energy audit done -- you won't regret it!

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