By Jeff Wilson
[Intro by ProVia]
Over the past several months ProVia has been honored to participate in a project called the Deep Energy Retrofit (DER), where Jeff Wilson and his family transformed their drafty 70-year-old home by installing ProVia energy-efficient entry doors, replacement windows and a variety of other eco-friendly products. As a result, they reduced their energy bills by a stunning 85%. Jeff believes you can make your older home a more comfortable and healthier place to live while also “having a positive effect on the wider problems of our economy, environment, and energy security.” We agree! And we thought you’d enjoy his story about creating a DER home.
When my family moved to this small college town, we had a plan: move to town, fix up the curb appeal of an old home, and then flip it and build an eco-friendly house in the country. Problem was, we liked the convenience of town life and even though we’d bought that farm in the country, the prospect of driving to and from town for work, school, shopping, and everything else, didn’t sound too appealing or “green.” If we decided to stay, however, we’d have to do something with our leaky, moldy, 70 year-old house. What could we do?
The answer: a deep energy retrofit to drastically reduce our home’s energy footprint and dramatically improve my family’s comfort and health. Since the house needed a new roof, siding, replacement windows and doors anyway, we began to search for the most energy-efficient products available to transform our home. We wanted this eco-friendly renovation to last at least fifty years, so we wanted to get it right.
We chose spray foam insulation to completely air seal our roof, walls, and basement. High efficiency HVAC equipment and an energy recovery ventilator also improved our comfort and health. LED lighting and high-efficiency appliances cut costs further. But with such high-performing insulation, air sealing, and systems, where would we find replacement windows and energy-efficient doors that had the same high-performance? ProVia.
Turned out that my friends at ProVia didn’t just make windows and doors, but manufactured just the kind of high-performance windows and doors I was looking for. For starters, we chose the triple-pane, krypton gas filled, low-e ComforTech TLK panes in the Integra replacement window series to replace all of the old single-pane windows. The Integra windows weren’t just a major step up from our old, single-pane windows, but also a major step up from the double-pane, wood-framed windows I’d been considering. ProVia was even able to tackle the technically challenging arched dormer windows and big bays out front – their careful attention to measuring and design meant a trouble-free installation when the time came.
ProVia’s insulated Signet fiberglass entry doors fit the bill, too, giving us not only superior insulating power, but also a tight air seal through excellent hardware and door jamb seals. The beautiful cherry Signet door caused one of my neighbors to stop and stare: “That door,” she remarked to me, awestruck, while I was working out front one day, “that door just sets this house…it’s just unreal what that door does…it’s astounding!”
We took advantage of ProVia’s Inspirations Art Glass to add accents to our home that really pulled the aesthetics together. To the cherry Signet entry door, we added a Harmony-style oval, which is beautiful, of course, but also lets light into the entryway and offers privacy. To complement the door, we added Harmony glass to the wing-windows on the big front bays on either side. On the addition, we chose the same designs on the entry door and awning windows, with a “glue-chip” effect for added privacy in what is now the master suite above the garage.
All in all, we added 350 square feet to our home and now set the thermostat at a comfortable temperature year round in our deep energy retrofitted home. Despite that, thanks to high-performance products like ProVia’s Integra replacement windows and Signet fiberglass entry door, our energy bills have dropped by over 85%. At the same time, ProVia helped us realize our aesthetic vision so that on all fronts, we’re proud to call this house “home.”
Jeff’s recently published book (The Greened House Effect, published by Chelsea Green) follows the deep energy retrofit (DER) of his family’s 70 year old home and is available wherever books are sold. Learn more about Jeff Wilson and his DER project at www.thegreenedhouseeffect.com and www.jeffwilsonregularguy.com. Jeff lives with his wife and two daughters in that perpetually half-renovated home in a small college town in Ohio.
- Photography by Sherri James -