Before we owned a home, I’d never actually heard the term “home envelope” and, if I had, I certainly hadn’t considered it further. As we “shopped” for a house, some sellers included details about their bills, their EnerGuide reports, and upgrades they’d done recently and for the first time, I considered things like draughty windows and poorly insulated walls.
And then, we bought a 1930’s-built home with poorly insulated walls and draughty windows.
We had our first EnerGuide assessment shortly after we moved in. It was… shockingly bad but not terribly surprising. We knew we had an old house that wouldn’t be as efficient as a new home, but we were determined we’d pick away at the changes over time.
Much of our home envelope upgrades were already done before we’d even heard of LIVE NET ZERO. We blew in more than a foot of insulation into our attic and replaced the weather stripping in most of our windows and doors, looking for opportunities to seal and tighten wherever we could. Our home heating was upgraded just before we kicked off the Challenge when we installed our mini-splits on all three levels of our home. These changes made a HUGE difference in our home’s efficiency… just check out our follow-up report!
For our Home Envelope Challenge, we *did* replace some of our draughty windows – those that were letting in the most air and clearly demonstrated being problematic with almost-constant condensation! We also swapped out all of our old outlets and light switches with new, insulated ones. We’d been looking forward to some additional (small) upgrades but Mother Nature had other plans.
In fact, we spent almost half of our Home Envelope Challenge travelling to and from the hospital to have our baby… and I’ll say it was probably a good thing it wasn’t the Commuting Challenge! There were a lot of trips but it was all worth it.
On October 3, we welcomed our third son – Elliot – to our family.
While his arrival has meant we couldn’t quite keep up with our plans to nail the challenge, we can’t deny… he’s one heck of a prize himself. 🙂 We’ll just have to squeeze our little upgrades in between his naps!