Monday, November 30, 2009

2009 Green Built Home Makeover


A South side Madison family is thankful for the best early Christmas gift ever this year!

2009 Green Built Home Makeover kicks off!

Terry and Tammy Moss, with their four boys ages 18 months to 12 years, were chosen for the 2009 Green Built Home Makeover project—now in its third year. Degnan Design Builders with 40+ member volunteers from the Madison Area Builders Association went to work remodeling and upgrading the inside and exterior of this home with energy efficient materials, products, and practices following a September 25, 2009 kickoff. The Moss family was chosen for the Green Built Home Makeover by the Madison Area Builders Association because of their need, their efforts to help themselves, and the ability to significantly transform the home. The family had previously replaced windows and doors and added a garage and driveway. They were trying to do what they could. Terry Moss says that the improvements by the Green Built Home Makeover volunteers will help them financially and to get ahead.

Siding in need of repair ................Work in progress

The Moss' home was built during the post World War 2 era. Homes of that era were small and some were built on a concrete slab. Such is the case with this 800 square foot home. GDS Associates began the Project with Home Performance with ENERGY STAR™ testing to determine the location of air leaks, moisture problems and overall energy inefficiencies. The report allowed Project Managers, Abe Degnan of Degnan Design Builders, Inc. and AnneMarie Dresen of AnneMarie Design LLC to determine what improvements would make the most difference. Without a basement, the floors are very cold, even—with carpeting. Volunteers from Sierra Concepts dug down about two feet around the foundation and installed insulation to warm the floors by preventing heat loss through the slab. New siding was added after 1” thick foam sheathing was installed, to prevent thermal bridging through wall studs and provide additional insulation and air sealing. This, along with R-38 Bio-based spray-foam insulation in the ceiling, provided the Moss family with a snug and quiet interior.

Tyler from Maly Ceramic Tile Company
volunteers for this year's project

A closet area that housed the old furnace, water heater and washer/dryer was completely remodeled. There were no heat ducts, so the furnace blew only into the living room and not to any of the bedrooms! As long as the kids can remember, they have woken in frigid bedrooms. Now, new ductwork from a new high efficiency Hybrid Heat Pump furnace and air conditioner installed by volunteers from Cardinal Heating and Brown Heating comfortably heats the entire house including the three bedrooms. Terry and Tammy will no longer have to turn on space heaters two hours before their kids go to bed to warm their rooms. For the first time since they have lived in this house, they will all wake up to warm rooms in the morning and dress in comfort.

Thanks to Closet Tailors for
the new closet systems

A tankless water heater and a water softener are now in a small portion of the hallway closet. The water heater provides a continuous supply of hot water for showers and laundry at a fraction of the cost of the old tank – it runs about 38% more efficiently than a tank heater and has no standby heat loss! A new ENERGY STAR stacked washer and dryer donated by American TV sits alongside a cabinet/counter system donated by Closet Tailors. The unit will give Tammy a place to fold clothes and needed storage space. Closet Tailors also installed a closet system in the master bedroom and shelving in other closets.

The bathroom was depressing with a low ceiling and visible mold around a rotting window and on bathtub walls. Volunteers completely gutted the bathroom to remove the damaged materials. Spray foam insulation in the bathroom walls will prevent condensation on cold surfaces, and a cement board substrate for the tile shower walls will never become moldy. A new tub from Renew It was installed along with new plumbing fixtures and an acrylic block window. An air-to-air exchanger provides ventilation for the bathroom and the rest of the home to remove excess humidity and provide fresh air. A colorful shower curtain and new light fixtures chosen by AnneMarie Design set off the new, bright look. Tammy just loves her new bathroom.

A colorful shower curtain
chosen by AnneMarie Design
brightens the new bathroom

In the kitchen, an ENERGY STAR refrigerator was installed, and a new over-the-range microwave has its vent run outside the house to remove steam and cooking odors. The range, cabinets and countertop were in good condition and reused. Tammy will totally enjoy making and serving scrumptious meals with her new energy efficient appliances for her family and guests and snacks for all the neighborhood kids who congregate at their house

Materials that could not be reused were taken by Royal Container Service to their recycling facility in Madison for sorting and recycling. Degnan Design Builders has always reused and recycled materials in their home remodeling projects. This practice will become the standard for all contractors in 2010 when a new Madison City Ordinance goes into effect. The Ordinance will require homeowners and contractors to reuse and recycle all construction materials for 1-, 2- and 3-family dwellings among other types of projects.

While this project was valued at about $50,000, the story is not necessarily about payback on energy efficiency alone. The improvements did result in air infiltration reduction of 24% and estimated energy savings of 15%. But the bottom line is that the home just didn’t work! The furnace and water heater needed replacement. The house is finally set up with proper distribution of heat, and the systems will improve indoor air quality by providing the proper amount of fresh air and preventing mold in the future. The home will be comfortable and safe since space heaters will no longer be used to supplement the bedrooms. When so many maintenance issues exist, it is important to go the extra mile and make the house work properly to be prepared for the next 50 years of its life. Now, that is green!

Watch for the "REVEAL" in our next post.

To see a list of this year's Green Built Home Makeover donors, click here.

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