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Community and Q&A

Worcester MA Deep Energy Retrofit open house

Dana Dorsett | Posted in General Questions on

This coming Saturday ( 6 April 2013, between 10AM-2PM) there will be an open house on a recently completed Deep Energy Retrofit (DER) on a 3-family I had an advisory role in. It’s located at 29 Crompton Street, Worcester, MA. (Fairly easy access from I-290.)

Apparently the US Congressman Jim McGovern will be doing a drive-by presentation on it too. See the attached announcement sheet from National Grid (the subsidizing utility that helped make the DER affordable to the energy-ambitious landlord/owner.)

There are several aspects to a DER that would be of interest to anybody doing an addition, renovation or weatherization project on their home, or even new construction. This was a circa ~1890 balloon framed plank-sheathed house with plenty of defects to be corrected (other than mere thermal), but it came together pretty well in the end, and tested at a fairly tight 464cfm/50 on the final blower door test (which surprised some of us- myself included.)

Anybody heating with electricity, propane, or oil (or considering adding air conditioning) might want to take a look at the ductless heat pump approach we settled on for this project’s heating/cooling system here too. Operating costs at local utility prices is comparable to heating with natural gas, (even at the near record-low price of natural gas we’re currently experiencing) and FAR cheaper than heating with oil/propane/resistance electricity at the regional averages. RMI recently published an analysis of the cost of displacing heating oil use in this region with heat pump technologies, and concluded the levelized cost of energy for mini-splits is somewhat cheaper than ground source heat pumps (geothermal), and comparable to natural gas, but lower in carbon-footprint. That paper can be downloaded from the link on this page:

I’ll be attending the open house for much of the 10-2 period- it’ll be curious to see who else shows up.

Dana Dorsett

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