Saturday, May 7, 2011

Historic Home Produces More Energy Than it Consumes
Matt and Kelly Grocoff just received the March/April utility bill for their 110-year-old Folk-Victorian home in Ann Arbor, Michigan's Old West Side Historic District. It was -$68.44 -- and yes, that's a minus sign before the dollar sign. Matt and Kelly's home -- America's oldest net-zero energy restoration and Michigan's first net-zero house -- has been retrofitted so that it produces more energy than it consumes.

Matt and Kelly use less than 10,000 kilowatt hours of total energy per year. Their 8.1 kW SunPower solar panels (which cost them $19,000 -- less than an SUV -- after a tax credit and utility incentive) supply that and more -- enough to earn them money back from the local utility. In addition to eliminating their energy bill, Kelly and Matt expect to earn an additional $1,100 per year by selling renewable energy credits back to the utility company.

...Their 2,200-square-foot home -- complete with drafty old windows, lead paint, zero insulation, a 50-year-old furnace, asbestos siding, a gas-powered mower in the shed and even a few pieces of coal scattered around the back yard -- was a dream come true. Their goal was to turn the historic home from an energy hog into an energy producer.

In addition to installing solar panels, the Grocoffs improved their home's windows, added weatherstripping and installed a geothermal heating and cooling system. All those fixes, plus careful living, have reduced the home's energy load by 70 percent--and all the while the Grocoffs have kept the National Trust for Historic Preservation folks happy. 'This is not a gut rehab or a pre-recession large-scale remodel,' Matt says. 'This is an affordable and practical restoration that we hope is an example for others to follow.'...
Matt estimates they will eliminate $83,210 in energy costs over 20 years and receive more than $23,000 in renewable energy credits from their utility company. 'That's a $106,000 return that we will keep in our community in Michigan to help restore our economy,' Matt points out. Because energy efficiency and renewables have a guaranteed return, 'Kelly and I believe it's the safest place to put our money,' Matt says.
Did we mention that our house is also the most comfortable house in the neighborhood?' Matt adds. 'We want to show everyone how cozy saving civilization can be.'
Matt and Kelly Grocoff's Total Energy InvestmentInsulation: $3,600 (not including tax credits or incentives)

UltimateAir ERV (Energy Recovery Ventilator) :$3,000

Window restoration: $6,000 (restored 110-year-old windows)
Wattstopper motion sensor light switches: $500
Smart Strip:
CFL and LED light bulbs:
Energy monitor:
Storm windows with low-E glass:
$1,600 (including 30 percent federal tax credit)
Geothermal heating/AC and hot water (3 ton):
$13,000 (with 30 percent federal tax credit)
Solar/PV system:
$19,000 (after utility incentive and federal tax credit)
TOTAL: $47,130

By Robin Griggs Lawrence
Huffington Post
April 2, 2011

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