Department of Energy

Charlotte Green Supply Chain: Residential Retrofitting

July 30, 2010

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Charlotte, N.C. resident Ron Martin heard he could save some money by having his home retrofitted, making small — but important — changes to increase energy efficiency.  The ideal was intriguing.

Martin called local retrofitter Energy Tight in May to come perform an energy audit on his home. The company performed a blower door test and checked his duct work, attic and crawlspace for areas where energy might be leaking out.

“They used an infrared camera to show me places in the walls where there was no insulation or it had settled,” Martin says. “Then, they showed me the recessed lighting, and it was amazing how much cooling I was losing there.”

Four-year ROI on energy retrofits

Energy Tight came back a few days later with an extensive report on Martin’s home, detailing what his options were for upgrades, complete with cost estimates. Additionally, he’ll receive a 30-percent credit on the 2010 tax year on all certified materials used.

“I sat down and did the math, and I determined that for the cost of retrofitting my house, the changes would pay for themselves in about four years,” Martin says. “I figured that was a pretty good investment.”

Martin decided to act, having his home insulated and sealed up better than ever before. Original estimates were that he would save about 20 percent on his energy bills, but for his first bill since his home had programmable thermostats and other improvements installed by Energy Tight, he saw an 18 percent savings — that bill only included about three weeks with the retrofits in place, so Martin could potentially save even more on his next bill.

“I was very pleased to see that I saved that much,” he says. “I thought I would save some money, but I never expected it to be this good.”

Martin says he primarily went through the retrofit process because of the substantial cost savings, but that he also likes to do the right thing when it comes to saving energy.

“I want to do what I can to be green and reduce my footprint,” he says. “My home also stays cooler longer, and the air conditioning has to run less often because I’m not losing energy like I once was — I immediately noticed an increase in my comfort level.”

Energy Tight owner Matt Coapman says that while it takes a bit of getting dirty to make his customers’ homes energy-efficient, having an experience with customers where he “can give them a combination of comfort and value in their homes” makes it all worthwhile.