Local couple wins home energy makeover
Bob and Ruth Michels were overjoyed Monday afternoon to hear that their home had been selected for a $10,000 energy home makeover from Xcel Energy.
“I never get picked for anything, except maybe jury duty,” said Ruth jokingly as she shook the hand of Ed Thomas, vice president of the Electric and Gas Industry Association, who implemented the program on behalf of Xcel.
The Michelses have tried to make home improvements that would affect their overall energy consumption, including installing new windows and buying new energy-efficient appliances. But their home in the Spring Valley subdivision was built in 1973, long before builders raised the bar of energy standards.
An infrared energy audit revealed that the bi-level home was losing the most energy under the cantilevers, a structural design concept where the top floor overhangs the bottom floor in the front of the house.
“It’s the Achilles heel of this home,” said Richard Diether of Xcel Energy.
A variety of local installers have been hired to insulate the ducts, increase the attic insulation to R-40, and seal up structural air leaks.
“It’s just going to be so exciting to the see the difference,” Ruth said, adding that it was not uncommon for the couple to receive an Xcel Energy bill in the winter months topping $200.
Xcel Energy strongly encourages homeowners to take advantage of their steeply discounted home energy audits. Cost is $120. Also, Deither said, there are a variety of simple and inexpensive ways to save on home energy bills, such as switching to fluorescent light bulbs or only running the dishwasher when full.
A complete list of simple ways to save on home energy bills is available at http://www.xcelenergy.com.