When we bought the 2 bedroom unit in Vermont, we did know that there is no insulation, neither in the roof nor under the floor. We figured it would be quite cold inside. But when it got down to 5 degrees and lower, we knew that we really had to renovate, sooner rather than later.

According to First Rate 5 energy rating program, the house get’s 0.8 stars.  Keep in mind the mandatory rating for new dwellings is 5 stars at the moment. From May 2010 on it will be increased to a 6 star minimum. What does the 0.8 stars mean?
The energy use is 809.6 MJ/m². The floor area of 96m² brings us to an energy usage per year of 77,721 MJ , which will lead to energy bills of over $4,300, just for one year.

Why does the house perform so badly?

There are several reasons.

– the walls are built as brick veneer, without insulation
(cold or hot air can ‘travel’ easily through the walls)

– single glazing aluminium windows
(the windows perform extremely bad, single glazing aluminium windows are the worst case scenario)

– wall and ceiling vents

– unsealed exhaust fans

– windows and doors aren’t weather-stripped

– roof/ceiling has no insulation

– no air-lock

So, we have a long way to go to make the house more energy efficient. Let’s get started.