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Deep Energy Retrofit of 110 year old Victorian Home

What You Need to Know


Welcome! We are in the final stages of a Deep Energy Retrofit! In our case this meant removing the siding, adding 4" of board insulation, some new windows and doors, then putting it all back together again. Also part of the project was the installation of a super-efficient (SEER 26), affordable Air Source Heat Pump. We did not need the gas furnace last winter! Earlier upgrades include: about 4200 watts of grid-tied PV with battery backup, a shower-drain-water heat exchanger, solar hot water with tankless backup and solar hot air. Our passive solar addition (added in 2000) features super-insulation, super windows, thermal mass, tubular skylights, insulated window curtains and a large root cellar. The home also includes many Energy Star rated lights and appliances. For transportation, we've got two turbodiesel cars running on home-brewed Biodiesel, a Hybrid Escape and a couple of very fun and efficient scooters, including a Vectrix electric scooter - for when walking or biking won't do. We have been incorporating permaculture gardening techniques to our small fruit orchard and raised bed vegetable gardens. We also have a 750 gallon rainwater collection system. This 110 year old Victorian with a new addition on the back shows the best of renovation and new building features. Over the years we have reduced our natural gas usage from 1,300 to under 85 therms per year. We now make most of our hot water and most of our (non-heating) electricity. Ours was the first net metered PV system in Niagara Mohawk (now National Grid) territory.

Other Benefits:

A super insulated house is not only comfortable and affordable to heat and cool, it is also quiet and durable. We have also nearly eliminated our natural gas usage, so no Fracking required for us. Also see maintenance below.

Maintenance Requirements:

One great thing about insulation and good air sealing is that they don't need any maintenance. In fact, they should reduce maintenance in several ways. For instance, your furnace will run less often, reducing its wear and tear. We are also expecting the paint to stay on the house for many years because the siding was installed over firring strips. Better windows mean less fading of stuff inside the house.

Efficiency or Sustainability Improvements:

See other listings, plus: Alt Fuel Vehicles, Daylighting, Energy Star Appliances, Local and Recycled Materials, Passive Solar, Rain Barrels

My Motivation:

At today's energy prices, some of my projects may not have a "payback". But I expect that energy prices will rise significantly in my lifetime (and beyond). So our low energy home is our insurance against energy inflation. We think it is a great retirement strategy.


A Deep Energy Retrofit (DER) is about the best long-term energy investment you can make. It is also the most significant single action a home owner can make to reduce energy consumption and green house gas emissions. If you care about the future, you should be looking into doing a DER on your home.

Experience with Installer:

I'm biased! I work for Airtight Services, Inc. and think our crews are the best!

Open House Info:

Sat. Oct. 13 2012 from 10-4. From I-390 (about 10 miles south of Rochester) take Rts 5 & 20 west to Avon's circle park (about 2.5 miles). Go south at the circle onto Genesee Street. Our (yellow) house is on the left (east) side of the street about 0.5 miles from the circle park. Street parking, Stair climbing required, there is much to see, so plan to spend at least an hour for a complete tour.

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