Practicing What We Preach
At Advanced Energy, our vision is to ensure that energy is clean, affordable, reliable, efficient and safe for all people. Our team works hard each and every day to make this vision a reality, but what are we doing outside of the office? We talked with a few people to see what energy efficiency steps they’ve taken in their own lives at home.
Nathan Holder: Business Development Manager
Let’s start with Nathan Holder, our business development manager. Nathan has developed a strategy to ensure he is investing in and saving on energy wisely. This three-part strategy includes energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewables. To stay current, he periodically checks his utility’s website for available products and services. To further identify energy-saving opportunities, Nathan has taken advantage of Duke Energy’s Home Energy Assessment and the Home Energy Saving Kit and Report.
As far as conservation, Nathan says he has saved about 40 percent in energy for hot water by using a water heater timer and $25 a year with an HVAC demand control switch. With energy efficiency being a main focus at Advanced Energy, he has made sure his home life keeps this in mind as well. Here are some steps he has taken:
- Used mastic to seal duct boots at registers entering the house to help save HVAC energy
- Built home airtightness with weatherstripping to seal gaps at leaking doors
- Insulated hot water pipes and reduced hot water temperature of his water heater
- Installed low-flow water-saving devices
- Replaced CFLs with LEDs to save energy on lighting
- Replaced his 1994 HVAC unit with a new efficient system using Duke Energy’s HVAC rebate of $400
To add to the list, Nathan also utilizes smart devices and ENERGY STAR® certified appliances. “I am also in the process of installing a 7-kW solar array to offset energy use and plan to take advantage of Duke Energy’s Solar Rebate Program to obtain utility rebates, as well as the 30 percent tax credit from the federal government,” he says.
Alex Glenn: Building Science Trainer
Since purchasing a 1970 ranch home in Raleigh, North Carolina, Alex Glenn, a building science trainer, has been improving its energy efficiency. So far, he has installed two bathroom fans to control moisture and improve air quality and intends to install a radon mitigation system, new ductwork and duct sealing, spray foam insulation in the floor and a closed crawl space system.
Bob Koger, Past President
Previous research conducted by Advanced Energy found that closed crawl spaces, insulated spaces without vents to the outside, can significantly improve moisture control and produce major energy savings. After learning about these findings, Bob Koger, previous president of Advanced Energy, became an early adopter. “It made a huge difference in our comfort and energy bills,” he says, referring to closing the crawl space and insulating his attic with spray foam. Additionally, his thermostat is controlled from his iPhone, allowing him to easily adjust the temperature at home even when he is out. A few things are still on his to-do list, he says, like taking care of minor leaks around some doors.
Jonathan Coulter, Senior Consultant
Have you ever wondered just how low your monthly utility bills could be? Well Jonathan Coulter, one of our senior consultants, may have found out. After nine years, he has lowered his bill to around $40 per month. Jonathan’s home was built new in 2007-2008 and is above code and ENERGY STAR certified. The secrets to his energy savings are from having the house extremely insulated with very low air leakage. Additionally, he installed a mini-split HVAC system, a whole-house energy recovery ventilation system and a solar water preheater.
Vicky McCann, VP of Client Services and NC GreenPower
When designing a new home or extensively remodeling an existing one, investing in energy efficiency will save you energy and money and ensure your home is more comfortable and durable. “I’m no Jonathan Coulter,” says Vicky McCann, vice president of client services and NC GreenPower, but she and her husband made sure to have energy efficiency on their list when beginning to build their house. They included sealed ducts, a closed crawl space and envelope, a variable speed HVAC system, fresh air supply and whole-house filtration.
Maria Mauceri, SystemVision Program Specialist
Like several of our staff, Maria Mauceri, our program specialist for SystemVision, tries to bike to work about once a week and purchase foods from local farmers markets. While at home, she keeps her thermostat at 68-70°F in the winter and 77-78°F in the summer, and uses ceiling fans to help. In addition to adding insulation to her attic, Maria has air sealed accessible top plates and penetrations in the space.
Jonathan Susser, Writer and Editor
Since starting at Advanced Energy, Jonathan Susser, our writer and editor, says he has become much more aware of how he uses energy in his home. One lesson he has learned is the importance of replacing HVAC filters regularly. “After living at my current residence for about a year, my property management company came to take a look around. They checked the air filter and said it was the worst they had ever seen… I hadn’t changed it that entire time.”
In addition to changing his filters, Jonathan has switched out most of his older light bulbs for LEDs and has become more conscious of what he sets his thermostat to throughout the day. He also plans for his next car to be electric, but in the meantime he pays increasing attention to how he drives his gas-powered car to improve gas mileage, which saves money and helps the environment.
Keya Kelly, Administrative Assistant
No actions are too small when implementing energy efficiency measures in your home. “My family is not the boldest when it comes to saving energy, but we have started doing a few practical things,” says Keya Kelly, an administrative assistant. Like Jonathan Susser, she and her family have traded in their older light bulbs for LEDs and have energy efficient nightlights throughout the house, which Keya loves. Putting insulation in electrical outlets is another change she has made, and on the ‘greener’ side of things, she takes recycling very seriously and is always looking for additional ways to “help save the world!”
It’s safe to say that our team is practicing what we preach at Advanced Energy. To learn more about how you can take both small and large steps toward investing in energy efficiency in your home, check out our articles on conducting your own energy audit: Do It Yourself Home Energy Audit: Part One and Do It Yourself Home Energy Audit: Part Two.