Energy Efficiency, One House at a Time

The Zegre Project is located in Morgantown, WV (see their entertaining blog).  This project began as a kitchen remodel being done by Chris Bailey of Rising Sun Construction, LLC.  Chris also happened to have recently attended our SIPs 202 class.  He recognized the Zegres’ 1948 home as an ideal candidate for a deep energy retrofit and asked SIPschool if we’d like to be involved. Yes!

In order to establish a baseline of energy efficiency, we had HERS rater Randy Schwartz of Home Efficiency Solutions  come in to perform a blower door test and energy evaluation.  To no one’s surprise, the 64 year-old home leaked air at a whopping rate of almost 15 air changes per hour (@ 50 pascals), pretty much on par with a tree house built by 11 year olds.

Never know what you’ll find when you start taking an old house apart! Luckily the grenade wasn’t live.

Rising Sun Construction began the remodel by expanding the front corner of the house with a 4′ x 20′ addition.  This added space greatly improved the functionality of the house, especially in the cramped kitchen.  This bumpout was achieved with structural insulated panels (SIPs) .  The two new walls and one new roof plane needed to be structural.  The remainder of the house is being wrapped with nailbase panels.  These panels have 5 1/2″ of foam on the roof and 3 1/2″ of foam on the walls.  Due to the generosity of local manufacturer Mid-Atlantic Foams, most of the panels were donated.

Nailbase panels can often be installed over existing finishes in a retrofit project.

After a structural inspection of the roof, the roof panels went on without removing the old shingles.  (Note: If the structure will handle the load, retrofit panels can cover or sequester older building material that might otherwise become problematic when removing and disposing of materials like lead-based painted siding or certain types of shingles.)

The project is about 80% wrapped and the Zegres are reporting “unbelievable differences”.  The combination of sound and temperature control are proof that a good air-tight insulated wrap on an old house could be a wise investment.

SIPschool will be in Morgantown, WV to provide a Hands-On Deep Energy Retrofit Workshop on the Zegres’ project on two dates – July 20 and July 21.  If your career or your house is a candidate for using SIPs or Retrofit Panels, make plans to join us for one of these sessions.


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