When master craftsman and energy analyst Steve Barbee isn’t performing energy assessments, he’s performing songs — on guitars he builds by hand. Photo Credit: Erin Danneker, Eyedrop Design

When CORE energy analyst Steve Barbee shows up to conduct a home energy assessment, you can count on a lifetime of knowledge walking in the door with him. Steve still manages to expand his expertise despite entering the building trade more than 40 years ago. His journey started as a general contractor until some unpredictable changes occured. The housing market took a turn for the worse and Steve saw an opportunity. He used the time to get certified as an energy analyst by the Building Performance Institute, qualifying him to work with CORE. 

The Project

The timing worked out just right to put his new-found education into action. Steve had purchased a 1960s home in Glenwood Springs shortly before certification. There was one major problem: it was in serious disrepair. “There were four-foot piles of trash,” according to Steve. “It took six 40-yard dumpsters to clear the house and yard.”

The structure was a proving ground for a newly acquired BPI education. Steve completed one of his earliest assessments on his own house. He used a blower door test, infrared camera and all of the diagnostic tools that are employed for any CORE assessment and got to work. What he found was a recipe for cold, drafty winters.

The Challenge

This challenge—a house that needed to be gutted and redone—presented an opportunity to rebuild efficiently. “Once I had all of this knowledge, I went forward with insulating and air sealing.” As Steve put it, “I wanted the house to be as tight as it possibly could be.” There was very little integrity left in the existing insulation. He buried it in 18 inches of cellulose insulation he blew into the attic himself and solved the problem.

Steve recently took advantage of CORE rebates to help fund a heating upgrade. He realized maximum benefits from the new heating system through air sealing. The energy upgrade would now require “a mechanical ventilator” if the envelope were any tighter.  

The Outcome

Steve rebuilding his house with energy efficiency in mind had a huge impact. Sealing and insulating led to a 30% reduction in energy use. The home was nearly 50% more efficient when accounting for building envelope, insulation, and heating system upgrades.

You don’t need to be a building analyst to understand Steve’s crash course on envelopes and R-values. After being both a CORE customer and analyst for more than ten years, Steve’s willingness to share what he learned from his experience means you will get the most out of yours. He wants your home to be as cozy as his own, which he describes as “being wrapped in a nice, warm comforter.”

Steve completed another project a week ago, this one with identical square footage to his own. Despite being slightly newer—built in the mid-70s—it was using almost twice as much energy to heat. When Steve got into the house, he saw “the perfect things wrong with it,” making for easy, impactful fixes. That’s exactly what you want to hear from your energy analyst!

“I understand what the priorities should be, how to get the most bang for your buck out of upgrades,” said Steve.

With winter upon us now is the time to seal up and insulate your home and CORE has cash-back rebates available to help you fund your project. Are you unsure what to do next? Schedule your home energy assessment today!