» posted on Sunday, May 23rd, 2010 at 3:32 pm by Woody Wilson viewed 198 times
Last week, Hughes and Davis, contractors with Capital City Construction, went to the St. Albans house of Bill and Lana Taylor for a hands-on lesson in testing and evaluating a home’s energy efficiency.
“I look at this whole process as sort of giving a Carfax,” said Davis, referring to the popular website that provides vehicle history reports. “This is a homefax.”
“We think it’s going to be the next wave of the future,” Hughes said “Green jobs for West Virginia. Everybody is trying to save a dollar, and the best place to start saving is with your own home.”
Hughes and Davis are getting their home-energy rater certification through a program offered by West Virginia GreenWorks, a green jobs training and advocacy group. The program meets national standards established by the mortgage industry for evaluating home-energy consumption.
“It really is a miles-per-gallon measure for residential energy use,” said Sarah Halstead Boland, executive director of West Virginia GreenWorks. “It’s a similar process to a home inspection, but the emphasis is on energy use.”
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Home energy auditors examine a homeowner’s utility bills. They inspect doors, windows, roofs, ductwork, appliances, heating and cooling units. At the end of the audit, they deliver a report card and recommend improvements that will save homeowners energy and money.
“It’s whole-house diagnostics,” said Hughes, who worked for the power company before starting Capital City Construction with Davis last year.
About a year ago, Bill and Lana Taylor decided to move out of a much larger home they owned in Teays Valley. They bought a cozy 1,400-square-foot home along Custer Street in St. Albans.
Right away, Bill Taylor cracked open his toolbox and started one project after another to make the home more energy-efficient.
He replaced the shingled roof with a metal roof. He built screened porches on the front and back that provide shade. He replaced windows and rewired the entire house.
Taylor also installed solar lighting in the front yard and put up ceiling fans in every room.
His pride and joy? The tankless water heater that juts out from the side of the house. Taylor had to knock a hole in the brick wall. He placed a fluorescent light inside the unit so the pipes won’t freeze in winter.
The Taylors’ gas bills have plunged ever since. (Tankless water heaters turn on only when you need hot water).
“People drive by and say, ‘Hey, what’s that hanging out the side of your house?’ ” Taylor said. “They ask, ‘Could you install one of those for me?’ ”
Taylor said he learned everything he needed to know about home renovations from the late radio commentator Paul Harvey, Popular Mechanics magazine, and his father, “who always taught me to learn to think for myself.”