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.


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.

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