Energy Retrofit Home Research Planned; Energy Efficiency Dramatically Increased

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Nov. 30 (UPI) — Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee say they plan to conduct a series of deep energy retrofit home research projects.

Deep energy retrofits are renovations to existing structures that use the latest in energy-efficient materials and technologies and result in significant energy reductions, said Jeff Christian, the ORNL buildings technologies researcher heading the project. He said at least 10 homes across the Tennessee region will be sought to participate.

Although homeowners will have to pay most of the costs — about $10 per square foot of living space — Christian said the costs can be recovered in as little as 10 years, with energy bills potentially cut in half.

“We’re targeting homes that are 15-35 years old,” Christian said, “homes that are ready for new windows, heating and cooling units, appliances and maybe even solar panels to push their homes closer to near-zero energy consumption.”

Christian said results of all of the retrofits will be available online, showing detailed data on the costs and benefits of the retrofits.

“We’re hoping that this demonstration stimulates enough interest among members of the public that it will become self-sustaining — growing the number of houses with deep retrofits,” he said.

The University of Tennessee-Battelle manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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