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Your Stories: Peter Wirth, Fayetteville, NY

March 16th, 2012  |  Published in Residential, Your Stories

Peter Wirth has reduced his Fayetteville home’s electric consumption by almost 50 percent.

“When I moved into my wife’s home 10 years ago, we began by replacing an old refrigerator with an ENERGY STAR® one. We then went through the home and replaced as many incandescent bulbs with CFL’s as possible,” said Peter during a recent conversation.

Although that cut their electric bill almost in half, the couple did not stop there.

They have done many improvements since then, including installing timers to turn off chargers after a few hours. This saves energy because electricity won’t be continuously pumped into cell phones or laptops hours after they’ve been charged. More recently they replaced their hot water heater with an on-demand, tankless water heater. “Now instead of having a 40 gallon tank of water heated 24hrs a day,” says Pete, “we now pre-heat only a gallon of water during peak times in the morning and evening.”

Pete’s new 22 inch computer monitor with an LED backlight uses half the energy that his older, smaller monitor used. Along the same line, the Wirth’s new flat screen TV is larger, but uses fewer watts than their old one. “It pays off to do your homework before purchasing a new electronic device or appliance,” says Pete.

The Wirth’s don’t have air conditioning. They installed solar film on their skylights, which reduced the temperature in those rooms during the summer. They also use sun blocking pleated shades that can be lowered  over windows on the sunny side of their house if it gets too hot and then reopened to increase airflow and cool the house at night.

“Though windows are expensive to replace, over a 5 year period we now have 16 new high efficiency windows with low E glass in place,” stated Pete. Combined with the increased insulation that they had blown into their attic (now R52) and the walls of their home, the Wirths have witnessed a reduction in heating costs – and their home is more comfortable year round. Pete exclaimed, “We have NO icicles hanging from our roofline (in the winter)-almost every house on our block has ice.”“We have slowly been chipping away for close to 10 years, and it has had a tremendous impact, including adding value to our home. When I talk with my friends and neighbors, it is clear to me that our electric and gas consumption is significantly lower – and we are more comfortable!” said Pete.”

All of these improvements we would have done anyway – for us the focus is when we upgrade can we do so in a more energy conscious way,” recalled Pete, “ The answer is always YES.”Stayed tuned to learn more about what the Wirth’s have done to their home!