In June 2012, Meadowlark conducted an energy audit at Julie and Steve's home, and they acted on recommendations for air sealing and insulation (The a2energy "BIG TWO!": http://a2energy.org/homeowner). Summer warmth immediately demonstrated the value of these additions, keeping their upstairs noticeably cooler. Moving from cooling to heating season made the improvements less obvious. Nearby friends made the same improvements and had similar observations, saying they weren't as sure their investment had been worth the effort. Steve's utility meter and outside temperature data, collected over the last two years provided an answer on the insulation's value.
As of March 2013, they've used 9 percent less natural gas to heat their home than the previous winter. By adjusting for this winter's colder temperatures, the sealing and insulation savings reach 15 percent. The improvement isn't obvious because their thermostat remains set at 66 degrees, just like the previous winter. However, their furnace does not have to operate as often because they've sealed air leaks and added insulation!
Steve is an active member of the Sustainability Project at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Ann Arbor. Check out the project's website at: http://www.stfrancisa2.com/sustainability