SRP: Saving hundreds on energy efficiency at home - East Valley Tribune: Business

SRP: Saving hundreds on energy efficiency at home

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Posted: Saturday, April 13, 2013 11:12 am | Updated: 7:37 pm, Wed Apr 17, 2013.

When Kris Johnson bought her home 12 years ago, she fell in love with the high ceilings and open floor plan. It’s a unique home in Arizona because the neighborhood is patterned after a New England village, complete with shake roofs and a community lake.

Like any homeowner, there were things Johnson didn’t like about her 2,900 square-foot abode built in 1974. Many involved the discomfort of living in an older home, such as the original air-conditioning unit, which had been “piecemealed” into operation, plus a sweltering upstairs bedroom her twin sons had abandoned.

“My boys had moved out of their own bedroom and into the guest room because their room was too hot,” Johnson said. “They were sleeping on the floor.”

Johnson knew her home needed improvements, so she decided to undergo an SRP Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®inspection.

During the three-hour inspection, a participating contractor tested for duct system leaks, insulation quality, andthe performance of the home’s air-conditioning unit, and made sure gases from the appliances and furnace were flowing out of the house.

When Johnson received her customized “report card” she learned that if all the recommended improvements were made, she could save 34 percent on her utility bill.

“We learned that our window screens were not adequate, and there were better shade screens to keep the heat out,” she said. “We also learned that our rooms were so hot because the returns on the air conditioners, as well as the ducts, weren’t done well enough to cool the entire upstairs.”

Weeks after Johnson’s home inspection,the antiquated upstairs air conditioner “crashed and burned.” She said she didn’t panic, because she felt like an educated homeowner.

“When a repair became necessary, we attacked it with knowledge as opposed to being ignorant. Because of the home inspection, we knew what kinds of air conditioners were available and best for us,” Johnson added. “We got bids and ended up going with the company that did the home inspection. They knew exactly what we needed and were honest.”

Johnson, who is the principal at the International Charter School of Arizona, said she nowhas lastingknowledge about how to make her home energy efficient.

“Through this program, homeowners like Kris are being empowered and educated,” said Cindy Marzofka, SRP’s manager of program marketing and corporate events. “The inspection normally costs $500, but we feel it’s important for our customers to identify ways to make their homes more comfortable and energy efficient, sometimes for little or no cost, so we offer it for only $99.”

Johnson says she saved hundreds more on home improvement costs by taking advantage of SRP rebates on the duct test and shade screens.

“We knew we had made a smart choice to learn about energy use within our home. Our bill is $100 less than the previous summer. It’s a smart thing to do before the heat of the summer.”

With newly sealed ducts, shade screens on all upstairs windows and two new air conditioners, as well as more returns to allow air to flow throughout the home, Johnson and her family are much more comfortable.

“Because we did the home inspection, we are much more intelligent. And now the boys are back in their bedroom, which is a good thing,” Johnson said with a chuckle.

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