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1827 Timber Frame Meets Energy Efficiency

Takes Advantage of Multiple Rebates Available in the State

 

By Melissa Elander

The siding was removed leaving the barnboard sheathing.

The siding was removed leaving the barnboard sheathing.

New Hampshire offers many energy efficiency rebates and incentives for residences. Garland Mill Timberframe of Lancaster, NH, took advantage of these energy efficiency rebate opportunities in completing an ambitious remodel of an 1827 timber frame home in Lancaster, New Hampshire. The home is a beautiful example of transforming a home with character and history into a model for the new standard in energy efficient construction. The 2,698 square foot home is an Energy Star  home that costs roughly $550 per year to heat.

In 2012, Lancaster resident Harriet Beattie purchased the 1827 timber frame house and contracted Tom Southworth of Garland Mill Timberframe to complete a top to bottom renovation. Southworth put many years of experience with timber frame homes and energy-efficient construction into recreating this historic home to be a model of energy efficiency and comfort.

The ZIP System sheathing with the seams taped.

The ZIP System sheathing with the seams taped.

The home’s exterior walls and roof were opened and the existing insulation was removed. The home was enrolled in the Home Performance with Energy Star program through PSNH. J. Myers Builders, Inc. of Lisbon, NH, completed an energy audit and insulated the home, and Beattie received a $3,322.47 rebate for basement and exterior wall insulation through the Home Performance with Energy Star program. New Hampshire homeowners may qualify for a 50% incentive, up to $4,000, to help pay for energy efficiency improvements including lighting upgrades, water conservation measures, air-sealing, and insulation through the Home Performance with Energy Star program. Homeowners can find out more about the Home Performance with Energy Star program by contacting their local utility company or at www.energystar.gov/homeperformance.

The roof is built up using TJI roof trusses in order to install dens-packed fiberglass and rigid foam board.

The roof is built up using TJI roof trusses in order to install dens-packed fiberglass and rigid foam board.

Attention to detail was put into creating a thermal barrier that far surpasses current energy codes and common building standards. A vapor barrier was installed over the dirt floor in the basement crawl space in order to prevent moisture from entering the home from the soil in the crawl space. The walls of the crawl space and the basement were insulated with closed-cell spray foam to R-27. The exterior walls were insulated with five inches of rigid foam board installed on the exterior. The rigid foam board was taped at all seams, transitions, and joints to eliminate air leakage and insulate the exterior walls to R-38. The vaulted ceiling on the second floor of the Cape-style home was insulated to R-54 using a combination of rigid foam board and dense packed fiberglass installed over top of the original roof. By installing insulation on the exterior side of the original roof, it was possible for the character-rich beams to be exposed on the interior of the home.

New roof installed over ZIP System roof sheathing.

New roof installed over ZIP System roof sheathing.

The home is heated using a Fujitsu air-source heat pump and a small wood stove. The homeowners were comfortable during the long winter of 2013 — 2014 using only the heat pump and one cord of firewood. Domestic water is heated by a 40-gallon electric storage tank. New triple-glazed windows were installed. Total annual energy costs for the home are $1,561.00. Of the total energy costs, heat accounts for 34% or $534, hot water for 41%, and lighting and appliances for 58%. ReVision Energy of Exeter, NH, installed a 3.8 kilowatt photovoltaics solar array, which produces roughly 16 MMBtu of electricity per year, or $662.00 worth of electricity. The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission offers a rebate or $.75 per watt up to $3,750, or 50% of the total facility cost. In addition, the homeowners received a 30% federal tax credit on the total cost of the solar installation. Homeowners can learn about rebates for renewable energy in New Hampshire by contacting the Public Utilities Commission, or at www.puc.state.nh.us.

The completed home with the solar panels on the garage. old siding removed: The siding was removed leaving the barnboard sheathing. roof trusses: The roof is built up in order to install dens-packed fiberglass and rigid foam board. roof work 02 10-17-12: New roof installed over ZIP System roof sheathing. roof work tji's: The roof is built up using TJI roof trusses.  spray foam 1: Closed-cell spray foam at the base of the exterior walls on the first floor.    Photo: Fletcher Manley. www.fletchermanley.com

The completed home with the solar panels on the garage. All photos: Fletcher Manley. www.fletchermanley.com

A blower-door test was completed at the completion of the project. A blower-door test measures the amount of air leakage through the building envelope of the home to determine the tightness of the envelope. The blower door can indicate the location of air leakage and measure the frequency of air exchange in the home; homes that are more air-tight have less air exchange than homes that are drafty and “leaky.” During the renovation Southworth had a goal of 600 cubic feet per minute (at 50 pascals pressure) for the final blower-door test; the actual final test measured 591 cubic feet per minute. This converts to a natural air change rate (ACHn) of 0.12, which is substantially lower than the standard target of 0.35 ACHn set by the American Society of Heating Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (ASHRAE). Due to the anticipated level of air-tightness in the home, a balance energy recovery ventilator (ERV) was planned for and installed. The ERV supplies fresh air for the home by exchanging indoor air with passively heated outdoor air at a constant rate. Air is exhausted from the bathrooms and fresh air is supplied to the bedrooms.

The home is Energy Star certified with a rating of 31, meaning that the home uses 31% of the energy used by a home that is built to minimum energy codes. In taking advantage of multiple rebates available in the state — Home Performance with Energy Star and the photovoltaics rebate available through the Public Utilities Commission — a historic home has been repurposed for the future.

Melissa Elander is an energy auditor for J. Myers Builders, Inc. for the Home Performance with Energy Star program.

Solar PV Stats:

Harriet Beattie residence, Lancaster, NH.

The 3.84kW System includes: (16) 240 watt Monosilicon Canadian Solar photovoltaic panels and (1) Solectria PVI4000 Grid Tied Inverter.

The PV system will annually produce roughly 3,778 kWh of clean, renewable energy, to offset roughly 4,911 lbs. of CO2 emissions. It will cover 100% of their electricity needs.

Installer: Revision Energy*, who commented, “We were honored to help bring the Beattie’s sustainable goals to fruition.”

*Revision Energy has locations in Exeter, NH, Liberty and Portland, Maine — with more than 3,000 solar energy systems installed in Maine, NH, VT and MA.

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