Access Energy Cooperative received grant money from our power supply cooperative, Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc. (AECI), as part of the Take Control and Save program, for an energy efficiency home make over. The project was chosen through the cooperative’s energy audit program, where candidates were identified who were in need of extensive energy saving improvements. A home owned by Frank and Susan Conrad near Donnellson was chosen, and the benefits have already been evident.
The initial energy audit conducted by Access Energy Cooperative Energy Advisor Alan Raymer, disclosed a variety of areas where significant energy could be saved. He conducted a blower door test as a routine part of our free energy audit program, and revealed an air change rate of 10.24 which shows significant air leakage in the home. A blower door test removes air from the home using a large fan placed inside a door as shown below. By removing air, negative pressure is placed on the house. When air from the outside begins to filter in to replace the air that is removed, energy auditors can determine where the house is leaking. Infrared cameras also play a role in determining air leaks during our energy audits.
The Conrad house, as it existed, was void of any insulation throughout the house. Foam insulation was installed in the basement, the attic and in other large openings that needed to be filled. Since this was done in February, an instant improvement in the comfort of their home was noticed.
Some of the entry doors revealed significant air leakage and were replaced with more energy efficient models, which will provide even more comfort this next winter.
The heating system was nearly inoperable, resulting in a dependence on the use of several space heaters to heat their home. A ground source heat pump was installed to offer a much more energy efficient solution. We are anxious to monitor their responses to their new heating and cooling system as they experience various weather situations.
After all the improvements were made, a new blower door test was conducted. The air exchange went from a 10.24 to a 3.99 for outstanding results, and the Conrads report a far more comfortable environment to live in. We will continue to monitor their electric usage to evaluate the benefits of this program. This data will assist us and AECI in the evaluation of our rebate programs to determine where your dollars are best spent for the benefit of all cooperative members; they are designed to encourage a reduction in energy usage. The programs must benefit the cooperative as a whole, as well as offer each member incentives to reduce their energy consumption and save money.
Access Energy Cooperative is excited to be a part of this program and help the Conrad family find ways to save on their energy bills and make their lives more comfortable. The Conrads are extremely appreciative of all the improvements made to their home, and were excited to be a part of this program as well.
As a token of their appreciation, they donated two quarters of beef that were given away at the end of the business meeting at the annual meeting on August 3.