With their remodel, the Sirkuses chose to replace the approximately 15-year-old boiler with a new, high-efficiency one. At that point, a few months prior to joining the CORE board, Bob wasn’t aware of heat pumps to heat in cold climates, and the wheels had already been set in motion on the remodel when he learned about their superior energy performance and discussed the idea with his contractor and HVAC guy. After speaking with Treadway, Bob left the door open to adding a heat pump to his home’s heating and cooling system in the future.
“People think it’s all or nothing, that you have to tear your house apart, but you can keep a gas system in place and dabble in heat pumps,” explains Treadway. In the Sirkuses case, the add-on could supplement heat and cool the home (using the duct work installed for the A/C), and help save on gas bills.
That part of the renovation journey “highlighted to me how much there is left to do to make contractors, subcontractors — and also just everyday folk who are building or renovating houses — aware of what electric heat pumps can do, and how they can fit into a project,” notes Sirkus.
Educating the public about energy improvement measures weighs particularly heavily on Sirkus as a Town Council member. The board recently set a lofty goal of reducing the community’s carbon footprint 62% by 2030, and “there’s no way that can happen unless we get the greater community involved and interested, and doing the kinds of things we did here,” says Sirkus.
Luckily, these actions can be simple and affordable for most homeowners.
Although insulation and air sealing were obvious things to do with the walls and ceilings stripped, “you can blow foam insulation into many places without taking down walls,” Sirkus points out.
In fact, says Treadway, an insulation/air sealing project “is one of the most cost-effective things you can do to improve the performance of your home.” With an average cost of $3,000 to $4,000, such a project also qualifies for rebates from CORE (25% of project cost up to $500) and from some utility providers. City of Aspen Electric customers effectively get double rebates. And of course, all energy efficiency improvements ultimately save homeowners money in reduced energy bills.
And installing LED lights, which the Sirkuses did throughout their home, “is as easy as changing a light bulb,” Sirkus quips.
Bob received $840 back from CORE after his energy efficiency upgrades, and you can receive rebates for every step on the Path to Zero. Add insulation and air sealing to make your home more comfortable, save you money on your utility bills, and save energy. Contact CORE’s Program Director Marty Treadway to learn how you can make your home more energy efficient.