I’ve been working in residential design for more than 12 years (previously at Coldham&Hartman Architects), focusing on Deep Energy Retrofits – retrofits of existing homes designed to reduce energy consumption by 70-90%.
These projects are involved – requiring careful planning, detailed evaluations of the existing building, and a commitment to investing money in the home you already own. The paybacks are enormous: reduced energy consumption, reduced energy bills, and a home that reflects your values for the long run.
One of the projects I lead is showcased here, in Building Science Corporation’s Designs That Work section. It was a complex retrofit with new addition completed by Kent Hicks Construction over the course of a snowy winter..
I remember the first conversation I had over the phone with one of the owners. “Can we get this house off fossil fuels?” (It was the year of the oil spill from the Deep Water Horizon, and “Energy From Hell” seemed a good description of burning fossil fuels.) I told her “Yes.” and we started to design a solution for the home they loved in the neighborhood they’d raised their kids in.
The first year after completion, this family’s total energy bill was 100kwh. About $18 for the year. No fossil fuels on site.