Skip to Content
You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience and security.

The Phyllis Severance Home: An Energy Investment

View All Stories

Phyllis Severance's Williston home
Photo credit: Building Energy

Source: Building Energy

Pricey problems

Phyllis Severance’s 1840 Williston home was wasting money and losing energy by the minute. She was paying for heat that was leaking right out the roof, due to poor insulation and a lack of air sealing. In November of 2008, Severance contacted Scott Gardner, of Building Energy, a participating Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® contractor, and had an energy audit performed on her home. Gardner presented Severance a list of ways to improve the energy efficiency of her home, an energy savings estimate and Efficiency Vermont incentive information. Together, they decided which areas to focus on for maximum benefit, including return on her investment. The total project cost for this 3,100 sq. ft. home was $5,932. The selected improvements were:

• Air-sealing and insulating the basement;

• Re-insulating the attic above a recent addition;

• Blower-door directed air-sealing throughout the house.


Once the improvements were complete, diagnostic tests showed a 37% reduction in air leakage—falling neatly within Gardner’s projected range. Severance immediately felt more comfortable around her home, and soon after noticed significant changes in her energy bills. 

Paying for Energy Efficiency Home Improvements:

The least expensive way to pay for energy improvements is with cash. Given the typical size of these projects, however, few homeowners have this option available. For Vermonters who are interested in making significant energy efficiency home improvements, appropriate financing

can make the investment not only possible, but affordable. Energy savings can offset fixed monthly loan payments, and the money that would have been spent on energy bills becomes available to make most or all of the loan payments. Although the total cost of a longer loan is higher, increasing the number of payments can reduce the monthly cost and more closely match energy savings.

Phyllis Severance’s Project Summary:

Total Project Cost ($5,932)

Efficiency Vermont Incentive $680

Total Customer Cost ($5,252)

Energy Savings $640/yr.*

For more information, please contact Efficiency Vermont at (888-921-5990)