Energy-Efficient Demonstration House in Del Paso

Stories of energy-efficient renovations often feature beautiful high-end villas. This is a blog for the rest of us. This is a story of a small, older home, where we used technology to address a range of energy use problems.

Like most houses in historic Del Paso, it was built in the fifties in a bungalow style, has alley access to a large back yard, great soil, and good water. The house was built with 920 square feet of living space, two bedrooms, one bath and a small garage. Unknown to the planning department, some time in the seventies, the garage morphed into a third bedroom. The foreclosed and vacant house was watched over by friendly neighbors and there was no vandalism. We bought it for $46,000.

We received a rehabilitation loan from the Sacramento Housing and Rehabilitation (SHRA) under their Vacant Properties Program and started renovation. The Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD) helped us fund some new energy saving innovations. We promised in return that we would demonstrate the innovations to the public. Monitoring equipment will soon be installed by SMUD, which will allow them track energy usage in various systems in the house for approximately two years. The monitoring will be done without intruding on the people who eventually buy and live in the house.


Welcome.   This website was set up in 2010 to describe our first house.  Today (June 2012) we are still together, still buying distressed properties and still doing energy-efficient renovations in partnership with SHRA.   We still promote the most efficient Heating and Air Condition (HVAC) system - the ductless mini-split.

The Jean house created a splash because it was all new.  The business model is simple.  We look for old houses without adequate HVAC systems, and remodel them one at a time.


excerpt from smud

Energy Measures
• Air sealed the envelope.
• Replaced roof adding ridge vents to improve attic ventilation
• 15” blown in cellulose (R-50) attic insulation.
• 2X6, 16” o.c. framing with blown in cellulose insulation (R-19-21) in addition.
• Replaced existing windows with high- performance ENERGY STAR® windows (U-value = 0.29-028 SHGC = 0.22-0.19)
• Replaced existing 7.75 HSPF, SEER 13 Heat Pump and R-2 ducts with a ductless, mini-split HSPF 9.0, SEER 15/EER 9.2 heat pump with three air handlers and an ENERGY STAR® programmable thermostat.
• Convertedexistingelectricstoragewaterheater with “add-on” heat pump water heater with COP of 2.5.
• Replacedallincandescentlightingfixtureswith hard wired ENERGY STAR® compact fluorescent (CFL) lighting fixtures.
• ENERGY STAR® Tier 2, Energy Factor 0.68 dishwasher
• ENERGY STAR® ceiling fans and CFL light kits
• ENERGY STAR® Bathroom low sone fans with Timer Controls
• ENERGY STAR® Range Hood
• Home Energy Rating (HERS) testing and verification


The house needs a career change

The house's brief career as an energy efficient demonstration house is over.  It's time to find somebody to live there.
The house has passed all inspections and is ready for sale.
The SHRA inspector, Eric Anderson, who verified that all contracted improvments were completed.
The house passed all criteria for hazardous materials, including aspestos and mold, termites and other pests,  wood rot, and lead paint.
The house was tested before and after renovation for energy efficiency.
The house was assessed and it was determined a fair market price as of September 2010 is $99,000.  It is now listed with Caldwell Banker.  The agent, Dave Campos, can be reached at (916) 478-1481.


comments are welcome

Environmental Science students visit the house.

Del Paso is proud of Grant High School.  Beyond sports, Grant is home to cutting edge academic programs like the class in Environmental Science, taught by Arron White.  Arron was effusive in his praise for the enthusiastic students, and on Friday we understood why he was so positive.  Their excellent, intelligent questions were challenging and it was a joy to host their visit to Jean Ave.
I had promised to publish some pictures of the visit with the student names, but later found out it is not recommended policy to tag names with the pictures of students.  I can identify our general contractor, Jim Murray-Clark talking to Arron White.


We are an Eco-Hit!

A reporter from the Sacramento News and Review visited our site and we are now an official Eco-Hit!!  
Visitors often ask if the house is for sale,  Currently it is just a demonstration house, used to show what kinds of innovations people might want in their new or current home.  It will be released for sale soon.