About Energy Co-op of Vermont Members
The Energy Co-op has more than 2,200 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.
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.
Berthum St. Marie
When he heated his home with oil, Berthum used an average of 1,500 gallons a year. In the spring of 2008, he began looking into alternatives, and in May placed his order for a Harman pellet boiler. It was delivered that August and installed soon after for a total cost of $8,000. The boiler has automatic temperature controls and easy access to the burn pot for maintenance and cleaning. It is plumbed into Berthum’s existing oil fired hydronic system so that he can easily switch from pellets to oil and back again. When he’s away for extended periods, the oil boiler kicks in. For the rest of the time, Berthum’s heat and hot water are provided by wood pellets stored nearby in his basement. During the winter of 2009/10, Berthum burned eight tons of wood pellets and was very pleased with his boiler’s performance. He used no oil at all!
Jeff and Aimee Loiter
After checking with Efficiency Vermont in the summer of 2008, Co-op members Jeff and Aimee Loiter arranged for John Ashton to conduct an energy audit of their Shelburne home. The audit identified several opportunities to save energy and Jeff and Aimee hired John to make several improvements. He installed Typar, a plastic barrier, in several attic crawl spaces adjacent to dormers, sealed the edges and then blew in cellulose insulation behind the Typar. Next, John sealed all gaps around pipes, ceiling fixtures and electric outlets, with particular attention to penetrations into the attic and basement. He sprayed foam around the rim joist on top of the foundation wall and finally improved the weather-stripping on two exterior doors.
With these measures complete, John's blower door test showed that air leakage had been reduced by 40%! Before improvements, the Loiters used 730 gallons of oil a year; now they are on track to use only 500 gallons. The Loiters also installed a wood stove, which has reduced oil consumption, despite a colder winter, and kept the house cozier.
In 2007, Dick began researching pellet furnaces. He purchased a Magnum 7500 and installed it himself with an assist on the duct work from Richie LaFond, our lead service technician. Now, Dick can run either his oil furnace or his pellet furnace and, no surprise, he’s been burning lots of pellets and much less oil. For the 2007/08 winter he used 800 gallons of oil; the next year he used about half as much – and his home was just as warm and comfortable!
Bernard and Mary Smith
In September 2007, Co-op members Bernard and Mary Smith from Colchester asked us to replace their 80 year-old furnace, which was using about 840 gallons of oil a year. We installed a new Armstrong hot air furnace in mid-October and the results were quite amazing. The new heating system uses about 580 gallons of oil a year – saving 260 gallons a year. For those of you with an eye to payback and return on investment, this new heating system pays for itself in four years which is like a 24% return on investment. If financed with a five-year loan from VSECU, monthly payments (after allowing for oil savings) would be only $4! As Bernard said, “I should have replaced that old thing years ago!”
Russell and Vicki McLaughlin
In the winter of 2006/07, Russell and Vicki used about 550 gallons of oil to heat their 1,600 square foot home. The next winter, they used less than 300 gallons because their primary heat source was a pellet stove. With help from a couple of ceiling fans, the stove keeps their whole house warm. Russell fills the stove with pellets once a day, and cleans out the ash every couple of weeks. He estimates they used about 3 ½ tons of pellets from October 2007 through April 2008, for a total cost of $730. Although the pellet stove is a bit less convenient than oil heat, and doesn’t keep their bedrooms quite as warm, Russell and Vicky are quite pleased with its performance.
Beth and Tracy Truzansky
When we called Beth in mid-February, 2009 to schedule an oil delivery, we were surprised to learn that their tank was more than three quarters full – but not according to our computer! The explanation? The previous October, Beth and Tracy had us install a Magnum Baby Countryside pellet stove in their Burlington home and they have been running it ever since. Oil use has been cut in half! But we have new wood pellets customers, since Beth and Tracy now purchase Vermont Wood Pellets from the Energy Co-op.