Common Sense Building equals ‘Green Building’ ~ Darien, New Canaan, Rowayton, Ct.
Doubling the size of the house but not the heating bill!!!!
Before becoming involved with LEED and “Green Building” we practiced common sense building. That is the use of high grade materials, quality craftsmanship and sound building techniques. For a small percentage increase of the cost of the addition we were able to keep our heating bill almost the same from the before and after the addition. That is from going from approximately 1400 sq. ft of living space to approximately 3200 sq. ft.
The original house was built in 1928; hollow 2 by 4 walls with plaster. We blew in fiberglass insulation into all the cavities and added an additional 5 ½ of cotton insulation in the attic. Just doing this made the house fell warmer because it stopped a lot of cool air drafts. Stopping the cool drafts made it possible to lower the thermostat a few degree’s for the same comfort level. We all know that on a windy day outside we feel chillier than on a day that is not windy.
For the addition we used 5 ½ inches of cellulose insulation with 12 inches up in the attic. The windows and doors are high quality energy saving double pane units. Using sound building practices and quality workmanship these few steps helped to save on the heating bill.
The existing house is hydro air heated with a phase three hot water tank. We added to the existing system to heat the first and second floor of the addition. The basement addition was finished with hot water radiate heat in the cement floor which is a very economical, comfortable and even heat delivery system. With this we went from a two zone heating system to a five zone heating system. Along with this we added a propane gas fire place to the family room/eat-in kitchen, our main living area. We use this as supplemental heat since this is where we spend most of our time.
A few other energy saving items and techniques that were added are programmable thermostats, ceiling fans, quality window treatments, large windows on the south facing side of the house for passive solar heating that are covered in the summer by an awning.
- So the numbers to support this are:-
- •- Original house 1400 sq. ft. to with adding the addition 3200 sq ft.
- •- Average yearly oil use between 2004 to 2006 was 1121 gallons before addition.
- •- Yearly oil use after addition and insulation was 978 gallons in 2009/2010.
- •- Before addition used about 70 gallons of propane for cooking and clothes dryer.
- •- After addition used 345 gallons of propane for cook top, dryer, 2 fireplaces & BBQ.
In conclusion oil consumption went down 143 gallons at an average cost of $3.00 = $429.
Propane consumption went up 275 gallons but we added 3 addition appliances. Total additional cost of propane was 345 – 70 = 275 gallons at cost of $2.50/gallon = $688.
So going from 1400 sq ft to 3200 sq ft our increase heat cost for a year was approximately $259.
Our comparison will have to be carried out for more years to see the true average, with yearly weather changes, cost of fuels, life style adjustments …… but this is a nice outcome.
Any questions please contact me. David Popoff has 30 years of home improvement and renovation experience, member of USGBC & CTGBC, LEED GA accredited, License Ct. Realtor with William Raveis in Darien, Ct.
House before addition approx. 1400 sq ft. House after addition approx 3200 sq. ft.