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Old 10-24-14, 05:27 PM   #1
Erich_870
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Default Alaskan Home Energy Upgrade Project

I'm embarking on a home energy upgrade project through the Alaska Housing Finance Corp so I'll be sharing my project on this thread along with questions and insight to the project. http://www.ahfc.us/efficiency/energy...energy-rebate/

Under the program I'll be eligible for a rebate of up to $10,000 to cover the cost of the work.

So far I've had my as-is inspection and submitted the paperwork to enroll in the program. I'm still waiting to hear back if they have the funding to cover my project.

I'll post my report when I have moment this weekend.

Erich


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Old 10-27-14, 06:25 PM   #2
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Here's my report.

I've submitted my paperwork to enroll in the program, so I hope to receive confirmation soon.

Erich
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Home Energy Improvement Options Report.pdf (329.3 KB, 340 views)
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Old 10-27-14, 07:48 PM   #3
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Are your energy costs really that high? $13k annually in Juneau, AK?
What are they really at? The break-even costs provided seem incredibly high.

The HDD between Minneapolis, MN and Juneau, AK aren't that far off and Minneapolis has a double digit below zero heating design day and I think Juneau is roughly at zero degrees.

Your propane is about 6 times the cost of my natural gas but the electricity cost is similar to mine.

Cost of 100,000BTU of energy at $4.5/gallon of propane and $.1237/kwh.
Propane $4.918
Electricity $3.625

If you are paying that much for propane, you might want to consider at least supplementing your heat with the most efficient mini-split heat pump you can and your heating costs might drop quite a bit.

I think insulation and air sealing is more important though.
I'm a bit offended that their recommendation for air sealing is to only lose 500 CFM of air infiltration at 50 pascals. They want you to go from 1953CFM50 down to about 1500 CFM? I'd hope that they can get that down to 1200CFM, if not 1000. Air sealing is a huge deal.

Are you doing any of the work yourself or is this all being done by a contractor?
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Old 10-27-14, 10:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MN Renovator View Post
Are your energy costs really that high? $13k annually in Juneau, AK?
What are they really at? The break-even costs provided seem incredibly high.

The HDD between Minneapolis, MN and Juneau, AK aren't that far off and Minneapolis has a double digit below zero heating design day and I think Juneau is roughly at zero degrees.

Your propane is about 6 times the cost of my natural gas but the electricity cost is similar to mine.

Cost of 100,000BTU of energy at $4.5/gallon of propane and $.1237/kwh.
Propane $4.918
Electricity $3.625

If you are paying that much for propane, you might want to consider at least supplementing your heat with the most efficient mini-split heat pump you can and your heating costs might drop quite a bit.

I think insulation and air sealing is more important though.
I'm a bit offended that their recommendation for air sealing is to only lose 500 CFM of air infiltration at 50 pascals. They want you to go from 1953CFM50 down to about 1500 CFM? I'd hope that they can get that down to 1200CFM, if not 1000. Air sealing is a huge deal.

Are you doing any of the work yourself or is this all being done by a contractor?
MN,

Your right in asking about the energy costs. Mine are no where near that high. I don't know where the inspector got the numbers, but I assume it's more of an average for all of Alaska. In rural Alaska heating prices really are that high. Gas is over $8 per gallon, as is heating fuel.

As for HDD, we don't get super cold since were on the coast, but we also don't get very warm during the summer. A we might hit 75F degrees for a total of 14 days per year. It's pretty chilly here most of the time. The coldest I've seen it in 10 years is -15F but we hover around 32F for more then 4 months of the year. We basically have heating demand every day of the year.

Propane is $3.40/gallon
Heating Oil is 4.16/gallon
Electricity is around $0.12/kwh
We do not have Natural Gas Service here.

I like the idea of a mini-split. I've seen a few going in around town and looked into them online. I need to talk to the program administrator and see if they will cover any of it. The inspector mentioned it in our report, but that doesn't guarantee they will pay for it.

The other issue I found is that he called for a new propane direct vent heater but it has to meet 84% efficiency. I can't find any that use propane that can do that. From what I've read the program will not pay to change fuel sources, so I don't know how that will work.

I completely agree with you on air sealing. I'm also going to make sure I close up the crawlspace to cut down on moisture coming in the house. Indoor air quality and moisture is a huge issue in Juneau. It's still really common to have vented crawlspaces and a vapor barrier that is not vapor tight. It just gushes cold moist air into the house. This makes us the black mold capitol of the world!

I'll be doing all the work myself. Most contractors up here are not well trained or trust worthy and the ones who are have more work then they know what to do with and cost a fortune.

Erich

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Old 10-28-14, 12:04 PM   #5
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"I'll be doing all the work myself. Most contractors up here are not well trained or trust worthy and the ones who are have more work then they know what to do with and cost a fortune."

This is how I felt too when it came to sealing up the place and adding insulation. I just didn't feel that a contractor would take the time to do it right. There's a program here from one of my utilities that offers to pay 50% with a small total limit $1k I think. I asked about how I'd get reimbursed and their response started with 'your contractors invoice will need to...'. Turns out my utility wasn't going to pay for about two dozen cans of spray foam, about 1000 pounds of cellulose, blower rental, and 2 sheets of 2" R10 XPS that I bought so far but that sure didn't stop me from buying it all anyway. I'm still surprised that the total for all of it so far has only been about $600.

Work isn't complete for me yet and I'm looking to eventually retrofit on an additional 4" of polyiso on top of what I already have(R40ish walls in the end) but that will be a spendy project. I'm not even sure if there are even 10 homes in climates in the upper half of Alaska that have that much, so I'm going a bit over the standard but if I was paying that price for propane I'd be motivated to get at least 2" of polyiso or XPS as a minimum(my personal minimum) added.
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Old 10-28-14, 01:09 PM   #6
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I'd get ahold of that guy and ask him what units actually get 84% because there is only one brand that makes a 90+ direct vent wall heater that I'm aware of and that's Empire and they don't sell a small one. It is 17500 input on high stage(15778BTUhr output) and 8750 on low stage.
Empire Comfort Systems PVS18 17,500 BTU UltraSaver90 Plus Vented Wall Furnace
$2k for one. The issue is that a 2600sq ft house isn't going to only have one.

The brand of these that I like is Rinnai
Direct Vent Wall Furnace | Rinnai

Here's everything 81% AFUE or better in the ahridirectory.org Direct Heating section that runs on propane.
Certified Ref # Model Status Trade/Brand Name Manufacturer Model Heating Capacity (Btuh) Input AFUE Equipment Type Fuel Type
7434751 Active EMPIRE EMPIRE COMFORT SYSTEMS, INC. PVS35 32130 35000 91.8 Wall Furnace Natural Gas,Propane Gas
7434724 Active EMPIRE EMPIRE COMFORT SYSTEMS, INC. PVS18 15778 17500 90.2 Wall Furnace Natural Gas,Propane Gas
2029759 Active EX08C RINNAI AMERICA CORPORATION EX08C (RHFE-202FTA)(P) 6642 8000 83.0 Wall Furnace Propane Gas
2029767 Active EX11C RINNAI AMERICA CORPORATION EX11C (RHFE-265FTA)(P) 9000 11000 82.0 Wall Furnace Propane Gas
2029769 Active EX17C RINNAI AMERICA CORPORATION EX17C (RHFE-434FTA)(P) 13700 17000 82.0 Wall Furnace Propane Gas
2029771 Active EX22C RINNAI AMERICA CORPORATION EX22C (RHFE-559FTA)(P) 16898 22000 82.0 Wall Furnace Propane Gas
2029809 Active ENERGY SAVER RINNAI AMERICA CORPORATION RHFE-1004RFA-P 29200 36500 82.0 Wall Furnace Propane Gas
4861399 Active ES38 RINNAI AMERICA CORPORATION RHFE1004FTA 29200 36500 81.4 Wall Furnace Propane Gas
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Old 10-29-14, 12:22 AM   #7
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The direct vent fireplaces are nice to , I have one they look great in a room , they go up to 85% in efficiency also.
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Old 10-29-14, 09:15 AM   #8
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My fireplace is a Heat n Glo , I checked on the their website they have a model with 92.5% efficiency.

Energy Pro Gas Fireplace
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Old 10-29-14, 01:11 PM   #9
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Thanks for heating suggestions, there are some good options there.

I currently have a Rannai Energysaver 1004F as my main heat source down stairs so that's the one he's referencing for replacement. If I read the program correctly I can get partial credit for an appliance that doesn't meet 84% but I have to get prior permission... I need to get some clarification on that though.

I think my wife will really like the possibility of a gas fireplace. I'd have to do some room rearranging for it though.

Erich

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Old 10-31-14, 09:10 PM   #10
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It would work well for your living area and kitchen etc. in conjunction with say a lower Btu furnace or mini splits at the other end of the house.
A smaller 12,000 btu mini split with two indoor units would work nice and cheaply for individual room heating.

the mini split would be the most cost effective to run, making it the better option. Having the grant pay toward a fireplace and mini split would be a nice gift $ that keeps giving with your reduce heating cots.

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