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Through efficiency upgrades, a University Park family increases its comfort level

Boy with butterfly

Roberta and Scott Kisker improved the energy efficiency of their home and increased its comfort level for their family.

With help from the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA), Roberta and Scott Kisker improved the energy efficiency of their home and increased its comfort level for their family. Through the MEA’s Home Performance Rebate Program, the University Park family received a rebate of $1,550, which reduced the cost of their $4,244 efficiency upgrade.

Since 2002, the Kiskers knew the air sealing and insulation in their home was subpar. Though they conducted a home energy assessment in November, the upgrades were postponed until after the holidays. Financial concerns contributed to the Kiskers’s delay.

In January, the Kiskers attended a kick-off for STEP-UP! (Sequential, Transformative Energy Project for University Park). At the kick-off, they learned about a $400 rebate available through University Park’s grant program (funded directly by the U.S. Department of Energy as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act). At the event, they also learned about the MEA’s Home Performance Rebate Program.

The Home Performance Rebate Program provides a 35% rebate, up to $3,100, for energy efficiency upgrades. The rebate from MEA, combined with the $400 STEP-UP! rebate, would put the Kiskers in a position to save nearly 50% on their home efficiency upgrades. With a clearer sense of available incentives, the audit became a priority and Roberta acted quickly.

The Kiskers had a contractor seal air leaks throughout the attic and replace outdated fiberglass insulation with blown cellulose insulation, seal and insulate vents in the crawl space beneath an addition, and insulate the floor around an existing bay window.

Shortly after completing the improvements, the benefits became obvious. The Kiskers had implemented $4,244 worth of upgrades, and received rebates for $1,950. Additionally, the Kiskers will save money on utility bills, and enjoy a more comfortable home climate as well. Even their 8-year-old son Isaac, pictured, noticed the difference. The morning after the improvements were complete, he exclaimed, “I don’t need all these extra blankets!”

Roberta didn’t need Isaac to describe the benefits, though. The living room floor, situated above the crawl space, felt noticeably warmer, and the cold draft that used to blow through the bay window disappeared.

The home, originally constructed in 1936, underwent renovations in 2002, and some new appliances have since been installed. This most recent round of renovations still managed to improve the home’s efficiency by 13%.

The Kiskers are very happy with their improvements. And now that they know more about the benefits of energy efficiency, they hope to replace a troublesome sliding door and discover even more ways to save.