About Energy Co-op of Vermont Members
The Energy Co-op has more than 2,000 members and over the years we’ve got to know many of them as they made improvements to their heating systems, called to schedule fuel deliveries, or asked us to repair their furnaces. Here’s a sampling.
David and Susan White
David and Susan White heat their Jericho home with oil and wood - and once used oil for all their hot water. In 2012, the Whites signed up for a free Co-op Solar site assessment and then purchased a solar hot water system for their south-facing roof. The result? Not only have they saved an average of 400 gallons of oil a year, they have also seen their behavior change. "You might think that having the solar hot water would encourage you to use more hot water," says David. "In fact, during the summer, we find ourselves making an extra effort to do laundry during the peak solar production time whenever possible."
David and Susan's kids moved out to go to college soon after their solar hot water heater was installed. That certainly has had an impact. But overall, our Co-op Solar customers have cut their oil bills by an average of 19%, just by installing solar hot water heaters.
Elizabeth Bassett and John Pane
Elizabeth Bassett and John Pane live in a 200 year-old Vermont farmhouse, with a solar electric system on their south-facing barn roof. Keeping a leaky old Vermont house warm without burning money is difficult. So, in 2011, the Energy Co-op replaced their old boiler with a new super-efficient Weil McLain unit. In July 2013, the Energy Co-op recommended a complete energy audit for their home. In September, they sealed air leaks, added cellulose insulation, and repaired a section of roof. In the "new," 1980's section, they added 24 inches of cellulose in the attic. The basement got air sealing and rigid foam insulation around the rim joists.
It's a bit soon to see the full impact of these improvements. But Elizabeth and John say that their home is much warmer and more comfortable this winter - and they expect the extra insulation will keep them cool and comfortable in the summer.
In 2011, David Lansky decided to make his Burlington home more energy efficient. He hired Vermont Works for Women to remove the central air conditioning unit from the attic, seal air leaks and insulate the attic and basement rim joists. What was the impact? David's oil use went down by 200 gallons.David didn't stop there. Last November he installed two Mitsubishi heat pumps, which work as heaters in the winter and air conditioners in the summer. His oil use went down by another 400 gallons. Not only that but David's heat pumps will pay for themselves in less than ten years. David is a Burlington Electric customer - and their electricity is about 50% renewable.
By installing heat pumps David has reduced his carbon emissions by about 60%. Next on David's list? A heat pump water heater.
In 2010, Rob Apple used 1,200 gallons of oil a year to heat his 150 year-old Montpelier home. His neighbor used 600 gallons. Armed with this news, Rob scheduled an energy audit which found that Rob's home was leaking like a sieve, so his contractors focused on sealing air leaks and adding insulation.
They insulated the basement walls and sills with closed cell foam, and sprayed foam under a sunroom addition and roof overhang. In the attic, they sealed around the internal chimney and foamed along the attic wall plates while adding 12 inches of loosefill cellulose. Total cost was $8,000; projected energy savings were 37%. The next year, we checked Rob's oil use. He's now burning 820 gallons - 33% less. He's saving about $1,600 a year in oil bills, earning a 20% return on his investment - and has a more comfortable home. Rob's happy with the savings. His only regret is that he didn't make the investment years ago.
Over the past four years, Connie Norona and her son, Charlie, have cut their oil use from 650 to 400 gallons. They are saving about $850 a year. Here's how they did it.
First, we replaced the old, inefficient and unsafe furnace in their manufactured home with a new Miller unit. Next, Charlie and Connie got an energy audit from Efficiency Vermont and Building Energy. Then they made several improvements:
- Foam sprayed underneath the floor and on the inside of the foundation.
- Loose-fill cellulose and air sealing in the attic.
- New, efficient double-glazed windows to replace all the old single pane units.
- An annual furnace tune-up from our service technicians, including a full safety check and an efficiency test.
Using less energy saves money, reduces emissions, creates jobs and makes us more secure. Your Energy Co-op celebrates Charlie and Connie Norona - and dozens of our members - for making their homes more energy efficient. Thank you all.
Three years ago, Julie used 1,700 gallons of oil for heat and hot water for her old, brick Westford farmhouse. Her electricity bills averaged $300 a month. Julie hired Scott Gardner of Building Energy in Williston to do an energy audit and substantial renovations. Scott and his crew added foam insulation in the basement and cellulose insulation in the attic. They ripped out, insulated and rebuilt a couple of interior walls. Julie had her old boiler replaced, the zone heating re-wired and got rid of her electric hot water heater.
In March 2009, Julie joined the Energy Co-op. The next year we delivered 990 gallons of oil. After allowing for the warmer winter, Julie’s oil use had dropped 600 gallons! Her electricity bill was halved and her house was warm and comfortable for the first time. Next up? Perhaps a pellet stove fireplace insert or a solar system.
Back in the fall of 2008, Patty McMahon knew her house needed more insulation and other work, but she didn’t know where to start. So, she hired an energy auditor to learn how to get the best return for her money. She was thinking new windows and extra insulation.
The auditor agreed on the extra roof insulation but advised against replacing windows. He also recommended insulation for the basement walls. Patty agreed to the extra roof insulation, to air sealing some major leaks and to installing a programmable thermostat.
Soon, Patty will look into replacing the old cedar siding and adding insulation under new low maintenance siding. Basement insulation is also still on the list. For now, she’s happy with the results. Her home is more comfortable – especially upstairs – and she’s saving about 200 gallons of oil a year.