Please suggest energy efficiency fixes that are reasonably priced for my 1850s home.

Asked by Amy S
Hollidaysburg, PA

Our home is a beautiful, enormous (nearly 10,000 square feet) Italianate-villa style stone behemoth. It is not energy efficient, despite our insulating the "attic". There are 48 single-pane glass 2 over 2 windows. We do use the shutters to help insulate in the winter, and have zoned the home to lower heating costs. But living in PA with very cold winters in the mountains, the cost of the gas forced air system is outrageous. We are considering installing a windmill in our backyard and converting to electric. We live along a river with plenty of breezes. Is this the best long-term solution, or do you have any other suggestions?


Danny Kelly

Answered by Danny Kelly

Charlotte, NC

Kelly McArdle Construction

September 22, 2011

I would recommend you get a home energy audit.

  • An experienced BPI Building analyst can can inspect your home and come up with multiple low cost high return ideas to make your home more efficient.
  • The energy auditor can help prioritize ideas and help you decide which options to do first based on rate of return, payback, etc.

It is important to use someone certified by the Building Performance Institute or a similar organization like RESNET and be sure they do the combustiion safety testing.

Especially in an older home, someone who does not know what they are doing can do more harm than good.

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