Contest Winners: The Foster Family

$10,000 Grand Prize Winners
2013 PowerSaver Home Energy Makeover Contest

John Foster and Eiley Patterson
Charlottesville, Virginia (Belmont neighborhood)

Year Built: 1920
Square Footage: 1,536
Bedrooms: 3
Baths: 1.5
Heat pumps and woodstove

Projected Energy Savings: 25%

When John Foster entered the 2013 PowerSaver Home Makeover Contest, he knew his family — especially two young children — had suffered through enough shivering at home in the winter and sweating it out in the summer. Their beautiful home had some systemic issues, but he couldn’t figure out how to tackle and pay for all that needed to be fixed. During the home energy assessment he got as a finalist, the LEAP team discovered, among other issues, that the heat pumps are unsuited to adequately heat their older, poorly insulated home. Despite adding some attic insulation when they moved in 12 years ago, the lack of wall insulation and other details made it almost impossible for the heat pumps to keep the home sufficiently and consistently warm in the winter and cool in the summer. And without proper duct sealing, moist air from the crawlspace and dusty attic air was being drawn into the ventilation system.

Basic Issues Uncovered in Home Energy Assessment

  • Low insulation levels in all areas
  • Dampness in the crawlspace
  • Exterior walls are balloon framed and open to the crawlspace
  • Older, low efficiency heating/cooling equipment
  • Leaky ductwork
  • No bath fan to exhaust humidity

Energy Improvement Measures Implemented

  • Applied sprayed foam insulation to the main attic
  • Added blown cellulose insulation to the one story attic
  • Installed a 10 mil vapor retarder to the crawlspace floor to reduce moisture
  • Applied sprayed foam insulation to the crawlspace walls
  • Installed Energy Star gas furnace and new air conditioner for main level
  • Updated the ductwork in the crawlspace that serves the main level
  • Added a bathroom exhaust fan to the main bathroom to vent humidity



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