Deep Energy Retrofit

“The motivation for taking action to reduce our family’s carbon footprint was the understanding that carbon emissions need to be reduced by about 90% by 2030 in order to stabilize the earth’s climate (at 350 ppm), and the realization that I needed to take personal responsibility for reducing our emissions. Also, I’d been in the energy efficiency business for over 20 years and I felt it was time to put my money where my mouth was (to walk the talk), taking everything I’d learned about building science and had dreamed about doing over the years, and applying it toward retrofitting my own house.

The purpose of performing the energy retrofit and renewable energy installations on the Livermore residence was primarily to demonstrate what can be done to reduce the carbon footprint of a suburban homeowner on a budget of approximately $50,000. The overall goal is to reduce our home’s carbon footprint by 90%, and in doing so to help others by changing the current paradigm of what is possible.”

Lessons Learned

• Start earlier than August

• It takes longer than you think

• Planning, planning, planning

• Understand what you’re doing deeply before you start

• Break down into individual tasks for planning and ordering materials

• Educate both code officials and neighbors

• Larsen trusses hard to get even over lap siding, and hard to find studs

• 3-1/2” deck screws worked well for attaching trusses

• 9” Timberlok screws worked well for attaching window frames, which were built as a unit and attached as such

• Next time, steel L brackets instead of trusses