Colchester, Vermont

If there was a poster child for home efficiency improvements, it could be Chris Bendel. Since purchasing his Colchester townhome in 2020, he's made aesthetic and energy upgrades that are a notable example of how to bring an inefficient 1984 home into the 21st century.

After getting an energy audit from the Co-op, his first improvement was adding insulation and air sealing throughout the house. His three-story duplex condo with the living area over the garage made it particularly important to insulate the floors, walls, and ceiling. The Energy Co-op's Efficiency Manager, Paul Fleckenstein said, "I knew air sealing and insulating the attic and basement were going to make a big comfort and energy savings difference for Chris. We always recommend weatherization first, as it prepares the house to benefit from other improvements like heat pumps, window and door upgrades and solar installations."

The home had been heated by a large Monitor heater on the first floor. Chris says, "The previous owners cut floor grates in the upstairs rooms to gain heat from the space heater. Besides for taking up much needed floor space, there was no sound insulation between the second and third level." Chris sold the Monitor and purchased a heat pump with two indoor wall units which now heat and cool the whole house. The space heater removal also allowed him to remove a 300-gallon fuel tank from the basement.

After the first cold snap of the winter, Chris reports that the heat pumps are performing well even in very low temperatures.

With the additional space created by the removal of the fuel tank, Chris had room to install a new heat pump hot water heater. The increased efficiency of the new hot water heater keeps his energy costs down and provides an added benefit of reducing humidity in the basement.

Now that his home's energy needs are 100% from electricity, what is Chris' next step? "I've signed a contract for rooftop solar with Green Mountain Solar which should be completed in February," said Chris. He hopes to generate 100% of the power his home needs from the solar array.

While he didn't set out to make his home "net zero," the smart choices Chris made for improvements and new installations may well lead him to that lofty goal. A side-by-side photo of his side of the duplex after the heat pump install clearly shows how improvements to a small home can make a big difference.

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Heat Pump is a Game Changer!

Thank you to the entire team for installing three heat pumps throughout our house. It's a game changer! Everything from the initial consultation, scheduling, and installation went smoothly and was well organized. This team really knows their stuff and were happy to share their knowledge with us. Through Burlington Electric's Energy Engage dashboard, we are able to experiment and see what the most cost efficient combo is with the heat pumps, pellet stove, and radiant floors. Thank you!

Kate M
Burlington, VT