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Deep Energy Retrofit


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Greg Pedrick, Project Manager – Buildings R&D at NYSERDA, presents the results of his two-year Deep Energy Retrofit project. The presentation includes Greg presenting and easy to see slides that show hundreds of product and procedural details; the overall presentation is divided into the following five conveniently focused segments:

Overview: Greg defines “Deep Energy Retrofit” (DRF) and explains the benefits of this approach. Shows some of the key “physics” involved in doing the job correctly. He explains how he selected “typical homes” and BPI Accredited Contractors for this project and the scope of work performed.  (37 Minutes)

Basements: Greg explains how old, damp basements were brought up to DRF standards. For the most part rigid sheets of insulation were used throughout this project. Many problems were encountered and resolved as they worked through the issues of the "typical" homes, including dealing with drainage, insulating the basement floors, and rim joist details.  (24 minutes)

Walls, Attics & Roofs: All the wall work was performed outside of the house – the occupants were minimally affected. The siding was stripped, windows were built out, and then insulation and siding were applied. A lot of important details here, including windows, eave & foundation transitions, porch intersections, layers of insulation, siding & trim support, attic flat air sealing & insulation, and finally ventilation! (31 minutes)

Mechanicals:  After all the above work was completed, we are able to take advantage of the highly insulated, air-tight envelop. A much smaller heating system is now possible; ultimately it was found that a tankless high efficiency water heater was sufficient. The tankless water heater and whole house ventilation system (heat recovery ventilator) was integrated with the existing duct systems and a fan coil with ECM motor. All the details and schematics are included.  (21 minutes)

Results:  Air flow was reduced about 68 – 75%, heating and hot water loads were reduced about 50%, but electric usage was about the same. Greg points out that this project did not address plug loads and that it is typical for people who save money in one area to spend a little more in another area. Direct DEF costs (excluding deferred maintenance items) was about $74,000 per family unit. Greg believes the costs can be driven down by improved industry practices and new materials, which is the focus of his current project. (11 Minutes)


The presentation and recording was sponsored by ADKCAP (Adirondack Climate and Energy Action Plan) and the Wild Center. It may be viewed here. Scroll down until you get to the portion of the presentation you want to view.

Greg’s original 144 slides are available here.

Greg Pedrick, C.E.M. can be reached at gap@nyserda.org


Comments on "Deep Energy Retrofit"

  1. OEIC default avatar cdecesare December 28, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    I am wondering how people afford this?  Are there NYSERDA or federal incentives?  Please let me know - Thanks, Carl

  2. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson December 28, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    Hi Carl,
    This initial set of houses was done as part of a study to determine what could be done and how. I believe the costs are a little skewed because this was the first time these extreme procedures were performed. I believe there is another round of houses being completed and there is another project to develop better materials and procedures. But, you are right these costs on the surface seem too high to convince others to do the same. Hopefully, the cost will move down and the results will improve!

  3. OEIC default avatar gpedrick December 29, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Carl,
    This pilot was intended to discover the costs, pitfalls and possibilities.  It is intended that people would take this on independently in stages, i.e. they need a new roof - so instead of just getting a new roof (shingles or metal) they implement the exterior rigid insulation strategy as well. Same goes for when they need new siding, or are putting on an addition.  This is NOT cost prohibitive.  If you are planning to spend the next 15-20 years in your house and you shell out $2K - $3K for hetaing bills, you will be there, no problem.  Think of the money people spend on monthly communication plans, car payments, etc.  If people make these choices, they can afford it, and the housing stock gets greatly improved while the owner saves operational (currently throw away) money.

  4. OEIC default avatar David Hauber January 06, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Don’t forget that the cost of energy is rising. Payback will be much faster when oil is $5/gal.  Of course, the demand for retrofits will skyrocket also and prices will rise.  Better act now and avoid the rush!

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