Creating a more sustainable world - one project at a time

Pheasant Run Energy Efficiency Upgrades

Single Family Home – Energy Efficiency Upgrades

                                                                                                                               Construction Cost:             $25,000

                                                                                                                                         Electrical Savings:             50%

                                                                                                                                          Natural Gas Savings:        40%

A family of four, living in this beautiful 5,000 square foot 13-year old home, had natural gas and electricity bills totaling over $9,000 annually.  MHA completed an energy audit and recommended a number of low or no cost changes to increase energy efficiency and comfort, as well as Tier 2 enhancements that would require more significant investments and have a longer payback.  We analyzed the building envelope and determined the most significant areas of air leakage and lack of insulation.  We completed a blower door test on the entire home and duct blasting tests on both basement and attic ductwork.  This led to sealing and re-insulating the attic ductwork to reduce leakage from over 40% to under 8%. We also researched every light bulb type in the house to allow us to upgrade every type of fixture to more efficient CFL or LED lamp types.  We calculated energy savings and payback on new more efficient heating and air conditioning equipment.  The project achieved 50% reduction in electrical usage and 40% in natural gas usage, all with an average payback of less than 6 years.    

The client accepted most of our proposed upgrades and ultimately adopted 18 different efficiency strategies ranging from replacing broken door sweeps and incandescent light bulbs to a super-insulated attic and replacing a failing air conditioning condenser with one that was over 100% more efficient.  In addition we also reviewed with the family many behavioral changes they could make that do not require any significant additional equipment but can lead to very significant energy reductions: using fans and allowing the air conditioning set point to increase by 4 degrees, programming set-back thermostats, using power strips at entertainment centers to turn off all background loads when no one is watching TV, adding auto-sleep settings to computers, etc. 

After coordinating the free energy audit and replacement work that could be completed through MassSave at no cost to the owner we then completed bid specifications, bid additional work to multiple contractors, made recommendations to the owner on which contractors to work with, and reviewed the contractor's work in detail when complete.   

Although not as glamorous as designing new net zero energy homes, this type of work can save as much energy at a fraction of the cost.  In New England the majority of us live in older homes so we hope that more of our clients will adopt some of these strategies to reduce their carbon footprint as well as simply saving money each year on their utility costs.