Very leaky

The house that's also a nifty wind tunnel...

>>Very Leaky

energystarred-leakyhouse

“The recommended amount of air leakage for your home is 2,060 CFM50. The actual amount of air leakage tested to be 6093 CFM50. The results of this test show your home is 196% above the recommended level of air leakage. This classifies your home as Very Leaky and puts air leakage reduction as a high priority for energy savings and air quality improvement.”

I am very leaky. Or rather, my house is.

Not a huge surprise, since Jesse-the-greenguy turned my upstairs hallway into a wind tunnel simply by closing the windows and sticking a huge fan in my front door, blowing out. Air sucked in through all the leaky windows and literally whoooooshed my hair into an updo as I stood there. 

It felt kinda nice since he’d also turned off the air conditioner and it was a cool 91 degrees in the house. As he explained the whole CFM thing, I envisioned all that hot air whizzing past us in near-visible streaks as my house communed with the outdoors. (apparently which, thanks to my leaky windows, were also the INdoors)

What it ultimately meant, according to the City of Portland and the State of Oregon, is that I need new windows. I’ve been accepted into the Energy Trust of Oregon program, which guarantees some rebates, low-interest loans, and tax credits if I address the issues and weatherize my house.

There were other details in the report: My crawlspace needs insulating because the vapor barrier has broken down and one of the AC ducts apparently comes out there, a neat way to keep cool (or warm) if you’re working down there, but not particularly energy-efficient. The ceiling lights are uninsulated, and the attic insulation could do with a boost.

All told, the house needs about $6,800 worth of work…BEFORE the window replacement. Which we still have to talk about. The rebates and such would knock about a thousand bucks, or a bit more, off the top, and there are some tax credits I’d have to figure out.

Apparently being green takes a lot of green. Enough to buy a kiln. Hmmmm….

Some of the recommended fixes I can do myself. The question is, will I? If I have free time from work and dealing with family issues, I spend it writing, sculpting and making glass. It’s pretty precious time for me, so I’m not entirely sure I want to give it up to caulk and stuff and spray.

The whole green thing is interesting, though. A colleague at work is heavily into planet-saving. He drives an electric car, has a tankless hot water heater and other fancy greengadgetry, pays only $22/month for utilities.* He recycles everything and his roof is covered in solar panels.

Apparently he’s also got a deal with a company called Solar City: They put their solar collectors on his roof, he promises to sip sparingly from the electric bounty they generate, and Solar City sells leftover electricity to the power companies.

“You should call them, Cynthia,” he urged, “They probably won’t want anything to do with you until you get your my GOD-that’s-OUTRAGEOUS electrical bill under control, but it’s really worth it.”

So I called them. They’d be happy to talk with me once I swap out my failing cedar shake roof for something a bit solar panel-friendly.

After all these years of reporting on, testing and selling (well, essentially selling) silicon wafers that think, it’d be kind of a kick to do the same for silicon wafers that zap.

Worth thinking about, anyway.


*NOT including Internet service. We’re geeks; giving up high-speed access is as unthinkable as giving up oxygen.

2017-10-07T18:07:48+00:00

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