Energy Efficient Homes for Heroes

Cuts Columbia Veteran's Utility Bills

US Green Building Council, SC Chapter (USGBC SC) and Veterans Affairs teamed up to launch the Energy Efficient Homes for Heroes program. USGBC SC’s Energy Efficient Homes for Heroes program is committed to improving the health and air quality of veteran’s homes, and lowering energy costs. This program targets veterans who are living in homes with higher than normal energy costs.

Grants from the USGBC and Wells Fargo and resource contributions from Habitat for Humanity, Home Depot, Sustainability Institute, Efficiency First, EarthFare and TRANE funded the work and materials, so there was no cost to the veteran.

USGBC SC works at a local level to educate SC citizens on the benefits of green building. On June 2, 2012, the Midlands Branch of the USGBC SC with a group of eight volunteers weatherized James Whites home off Faraway Drive in Columbia. Mr. White was identified through the application process of the Energy Efficient Homes for Heroes program.

Members of Efficiency First, LLC, a local home performance contractor, conducted a home energy audit and found several common household issues that contributed to Mr. White’s high-energy costs and comfort issues. Mr. White’s issues included leaky duct work and missing or low insulation in the crawlspace and attic causing substantial drafts.

Matt Ryan, an Efficiency First building technician said, “Mr. White had a classic case for homes with high utility bills and poor comfort. Ducts that were leaking and pulling air from a crawlspace, fallen insulation in the crawlspace, and attic fan that had no cover (and happened to be by the thermostat) in addition to very little attic insulation”. He went on further by adding, “It’s always interesting to see how quickly volunteers adapt to weatherization work as they recognize the problems. It is not glamorous work, but this group of volunteers replaced missing insulation, which cut the duct work leakage by 30%, and stopped the drafts throughout the entire house in less than a day. It was pretty cool to see a group of volunteers who came to work and had almost everything done by lunchtime.” Mr. White’s appreciation was clearest when a group picture was taken. At a time when veterans affairs is such a hot topic in our country, its great to know that volunteering on something so simple can have such an impact.

Melissa Leroy, Executive Director of the USGBC SC, added, “We are fortunate to have great sponsors that allow us to give back to our veterans who gave so much to secure our freedom.” For more information about this program and how you can help, please call 843-329-3131 or email: [email protected].

Quick Facts about the White Residence:
-Reduced duct leakage by 30%, adding about a quarter of a ton of air back into the HVAC system
-Complete maintenance check-up.
-Added R-19 insulation bringing the attic up to R-30
-Material Costs less than $500.

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