November 2009

Get energy wise

In-home energy evaluations provide opportunities to conserve energy

During the Tennessee Valley’s unusually chilly winter a year ago, the floors of Lisa Haislip’s home in Rockvale, Tenn., were cold, and her power bills were high. With that in mind, Haislip, a product manager with Consumer & Small Business Programs in Nashville, took advantage of the In-Home Energy Evaluation program offered by half of the TVA power distributors in the Valley.

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Missy Horesh (left) and Lisa Haislip go over the results of Haislip’s In-Home Energy Evaluation.

She called Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corp. and scheduled an IHEE appointment. Within a week, Missy Horesh, a TVA-certified evaluator, arrived at Haislip’s home and spent two hours on a thorough evaluation. “She suggested quick and easy actions we could take, including caulking around our registers and returns and using spray foam to fill some large plumbing penetrations,” says Haislip. Horesh also recommended air sealing for the attic and, to take care of those cold floors, insulation in the crawl space.

The evaluation can cost up to $150, but the fee is reimbursed when that amount or more is spent on recommended improvements. The homeowner is eligible for reimbursement of 50 percent of the installation cost, up to $500, or financing through the distributor or Energy Finance Solutions. Some limits on specific measures do apply.

To ensure the revisions meet quality standards, the energy modifications work must be made by a member of the TVA Quality Contractor Network, except for self-installed measures as allowed by the power distributor. The evaluators can provide names of eligible contractors. To receive the rebate or use the financing, where it is available, the participant must have the work completed within 90 days of the evaluation.

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During the energy evaluation, Missy Horesh checks the insulation in Lisa Haislip’s crawl space.

Once the work is finished, it is inspected to ensure that everything is installed properly to maximize energy savings. Horesh’s recommendations included a tune-up for Haislip’s heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system. Later, the inspector found the tune-up had not included straightening the system’s fan blades, so the contractor was called back to complete the work.

The cost for all the recommended improvements totaled less than $2,000. “Although I had paid $150 for my evaluation, I will be reimbursed that amount,” says Haislip. “With the TVA incentive, my cost to implement the recommendations will be around $1,500, and that doesn’t include the tax credits.”

The estimated annual savings on her power bills is about 8 to 10 percent, or about $15 to $20 a month. “That’s great,” Haislip says. “But what I’m really interested in is warm floors this winter!”

To participate in IHEE:

 

 

 

 

 

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Holly Jordan, in foreground, is the product manager for the In-Home Energy Evaluation program. Elizabeth Moore, who coordinated training for the Weatherization Assistance Program with the state of Tennessee, and Dan Ridings review the materials. Dan Adkins, right, along with Ridings, developed the curriculum and training. Tennessee’s Weatherization Assistance Program is an energy-savings program that is using federal stimulus dollars to provide up to $6,500 of improvements for families whose income falls below 200 percent of the poverty level, which is $42,400 for a family of four. TVA helped the state by designing and delivering training for 582 home-energy auditors and contractors in basic weatherization techniques.