Deep Energy Retrofits

Deep Energy Home Challenge

How low can you go? Imagine reducing the energy use in your home by 70-90%. It is possible– and can be economically feasible– without using renewable energy. Super-insulation and Passive House principles can be applied to existing housing. In fact, homes that need a lot of rehab work are a great opportunity for cost-effective deep energy reductions. The Affordable Green Housing Center (AGHC) at Environmental Health Watch is challenging Cleveland area green builders and homeowners to see how low they can go in reducing utility bills and developing deep energy retrofit examples locally. We have the expertise and experience to help you achieve your goals. AGHC has partnered with the national Thousand Home Challenge to promote deep energy reduction case studies. Your home could be our next case study! Learn more at

Why deep energy reductions? Housing is responsible for 24% of carbon emissions in Northeast Ohio. In order to meet long term carbon reduction goals to reduce climate change, we need to go beyond standard weatherization in many homes and achieve greater energy reductions. It’s more sustainable, more efficient and more cost effective to rehab an existing house then to build a new one. Deep energy reductions add about 30-40K to the cost of a substantial rehabilitation. Existing homes can be converted to net zero energy homes for less than the cost of building a new net zero energy home.

You can put your home on the path to deep energy reductions.
Even if it’s not possible to do a complete deep energy reduction on your home all at once, there are unique opportunities over the life of a home to put and keep it on the path toward deep energy reductions. Energy efficiency pays for itself and then some. Utilize the immediate payback test: every month, your savings should be greater than your cost to finance the improvements.

Seal it tight and ventilate it right. Provide controlled mechanical ventilation for optimal durability and health and then you can seal as tight as possible for maximum energy efficiency. Look for the opportunity points listed on the next page. When replacing appliances, windows, and heating and cooling systems, go Energy Star or beyond. When re-siding, re-roofing, or waterproofing the foundation, add insulation.

Opportunity points for deep energy reduction

EHW Links:
Deep Energy Retrofit Opportunities (Part 1)- PPT
Deep Energy Retrofit Opportunities (Part 2)- PPT
New York Times 4/12/09 letter from EHW on The Greening of American Homes
Crain’s Cleveland Business 4/13/09 Editor’s blog
Plain Dealer 6/13/11 Letter from EHW on “Aggressively Pushing Passive House Technology”

Other Resources:
GreenCityBlueLake article 6/7/11: “Northeast Ohio’s First Passive House Walks in Green Pioneers Footsteps”
Local Deep Energy Retrofit Blog
Musings of an Energy Nerd- Roofing and Siding Jobs are Energy-Retrofit Opportunities
PNC SmartHome Cleveland

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