July 19, 2013
by Gordon Platt
The Greeley House has come a long way since it was heated by fireplaces and cooled by open windows. The historic house and onetime residence of Horace Greeley and his family ushered in summer with a 21st Century energy assessment conducted by Healthy Home of Somers and Bedford, New York.
Armed with thermal imaging equipment and other cutting-edge technology, a team from the nationally certified home energy efficiency company combed through the house looking for sources of potential energy leakage and inefficiencies.
The goal of an energy assessment is to identify possible opportunities to reduce inefficiencies while also improving comfort. Kevin Brenner, the CEO of Healthy Home and its sister company, Brenner Builders, was happy to apply the process at no charge.
“It’s important to preserve the heritage of Westchester County, said Brenner, “to make our historic buildings less expensive to operate and in the process to show current residents how they can save money in their own homes.“
Energy assessments are available to most New York homeowners free of charge. By filing a simple form, most residents qualify for a full State subsidy. The test is conducted by a state-certified provider like Healthy Home and results in a comprehensive report. Homeowners are under no obligation to undergo any repairs or remediation. If they choose to proceed with the recommendations, they can work with the contractor of their choice.
The overall assessment is comprised of four basic tests: 1) Blower Door Test – A very slight pressure difference is created between the interior and exterior of the house, enabling the testers to identify leakage; 2) Air Current Testing – A small smoke gun is used to pinpoint the source of leaks; 3) Pressure Pan Testing – A suction device is placed around light fixtures to see if there is leakage; 4) Infrared Thermography – An infrared camera pointed at walls detects temperature differences due to lack of insulation.
The assessment also includes combustion safety testing. Since any remediation would make a house tighter, the testers want to ensure that the home’s heating systems are working properly and also not leaking carbon monoxide. The non-invasive testing process did not damage the Greeley House in any way.
The final report reads like a “road map” to energy efficiency, according to Healthy Home’s Brenner. “We conduct an energy model based on various improvements using NYSERDA (NYS Energy, Research and Development Authority) energy standards,” Brenner explained. “We want to show how much any money any given repair would save in the short, medium and long terms.”
The New Castle Historical Society, which runs the Greeley House, will have the report within the next couple of weeks. Healthy Home will then review the findings with Society and explain any recommendations. We also have the option of inviting—free of charge—a third-party consultant, an “energy coach” from Energize NY, to listen in to the report and discuss what the Society’s next moves should be. And any work the Historical Society decides to have done will be checked by a third party to see that the changes have been effective.
Visit New Castle’s own “Energize” site, “EnergizeNewCastle.org,” where you’ll find information on how to:
Save money. Be more comfortable. Eliminate energy waste.
Get your free home energy assessment and see where your energy goes.
• Apply for the New York State Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment
• Locate an energy efficiency professional near you.
• Identify your home’s unique energy issues and ways to eliminate energy waste
• Complete the energy improvements.
• Get pricing and savings for each suggested measure.
• Choose your energy improvements.
• Ask about our low interest financing.
• Complete your home’s energy improvements.
• Be secure in the knowledge your work was done right by receiving a free 3rd party Quality Assurance visit.
Gordon Platt is the President of Gotham Media, a Chappaqua based content marketing and strategic communications company focused on innovation in media, technology, sustainability, finance and law.
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