2015 Makeover Journal

The all-electric homes of 17 electric cooperative members are now much more energy efficient after being transformed as part of the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas Eighth Annual Energy Efficiency Makeover Contest. The 17 winning members each received up to $3,000 in energy efficiency improvements to their homes. View the improvements to learn how you can have a comfortable home with manageable utility bills. 

Utilize these additional resources to help you save energy, save money and live comfortably.

September 10, 2015

Thanks to DK Construction for helping to make the 2015 Energy Efficiency Makeover project a success.

Thanks to Summit Builders Group for helping to make the 2015 Energy Efficiency Makeover project a success.

Thanks to Energy Design Group Enterprises for helping to make the 2015 Energy Efficiency Makeover project a success.

Thanks to SEAL Energy Solutions for helping to make the 2015 Energy Efficiency Makeover project a success.

Up to 2000 watts of incandescent bulbs were replaced during the 2015 makeover. Watch this video to find out what's been used in their place.

September 9, 2015

Did you know your home can contain a lot of moisture from showering, doing dishes, and more? Learn how to mitigate moisture here.

September 6, 2015

Have recessed lighting in your home? Learn about properly insulating an inefficient can light here.

September 3, 2015

LED Lightbulbs

A key energy efficiency component for the homes of all 17 makeover winners was a whole-house lighting retrofit. The result was a reduction in total lighting wattage by 75 percent! Where possible, every incandescent bulb was replaced with a CFL or LED counterpart. CFLs and LEDs use far less energy and emit less heat. Furthermore, LEDs use even less energy than CFLs! This year, each home received some new LEDs from General Electric called the Bright Stik(TM). The trademarked LED Bright Stik has an attractive price point and allows energy conscious consumers to replace efficient CFLs with a higher efficiency product. Each GE Bright Stik uses only 10 watts of power with an operational cost of only $1.20 per year! They are available at box stores and building supply centers.

September 2, 2015

FLIR camera image

Portable fans and a fresh-air breathing apparatus

What's better than one cellulose insulation unit on an energy efficiency makeover? Two units! Summit Builders stymied the heat gain from the attic by bringing the insulation up to today's standards. The infrared image reveals the attic conditions endured Clay and Chris, who are Summit's professional applicators. While working, portable fans and a fresh-air breathing apparatus are used to lower the air temperature in the attic. We also reverse the airflow on the blower door machine and push air into the home. This positive pressure moves through the attic access hole, then through the soffit and gable vents and provides additional airflow that keeps them safe while working in the hot environment.

September 1, 2015

Is your upstairs bonus room just too hot in the summer? Watch this video to learn about proper insulation.

August 31, 2015

Have you looked under your sink lately? Watch this video to learn about sealing plumbing intrusions.

August 28, 2015

The ceiling in your living room looks good, but what about the other side within the attic? Learn how an energy audit can locate missing or improperly installed insulation that can lead to high utility bills and an uncomfortable home.

August 28, 2015

Heat is the last thing we want in our house in the dog days of summer. Learn how switching to LEDs can cut your energy consumption for lighting as much as 75 percent.

August 25, 2015

Inefficienct ductwork

Dirty HVAC coil

HVAC tech performs a high-performance service call

This Energy Efficiency Makeover winner's home had significant ductwork leakage. The image shows just a few of those areas. Also, we never recommend the use of inexpensive duct tape. Over time, it will lose adhesiveness and promote leaks. Summit Builders applied Edge foam insulation to all leaks. Their closed cell foam provides an excellent air, moisture and thermal barrier. It will also add structural integrity. Their professional HVAC tech performs a high-performance service call on the unit that will return this older unit to optimum operating performance.

Snake skins in the crawlspace

August 24, 2015

Note the multiple snake skins in the crawlspace of an Energy Efficiency Makeover home. While it may come as a surprise to many, energy professionals find all kinds of interesting things in the crawlspace. You can keep your crawlspace critter free by caulking or foam sealing every hole or penetration. If your crawlspace is vented, make sure the screens are intact behind the louvered vents. Also make sure the access door is tightly closed.

August 23, 2015

The Blower Door is an essential tool in a professional energy auditor's tool box. Learn how the blower door pushes air through a house to identify areas that need to be sealed to keep unwanted air out of your home, keeping comfortable air temperatures in your living space.

August 22, 2015

Learn how baffles are used in the attic to keep fresh sir in your attic.


Woman opening insulation

Installing thermal barrier

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August 21, 2015

Energy Efficiency Makeover project seven of seventeen is finished! Professional energy experts from Summit Builders completed today's retrofit project. The attics of each home will receive a dense layer of cellulose insulation. Cellulose is sprayed over any existing insulation raising the R-Value up to 2015 energy standards. When installed properly, cellulose reduces unwanted air infiltration and provides an excellent thermal barrier. It's a "green" product that also provides sound proofing, bug resistance and has a Class 1 fire rating.

August 21, 2015

Learn how a whole-house attic fan can put unwanted air in your home.

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Vaulted ceiling with air gap

Man applying foam to attic gap

August 20, 2015

Energy efficiency professionals from SEAL solve the problem of unwanted air infiltration in a living room with a vaulted ceiling. The decorative beam hides linear air gaps that allow air to infiltrate from the attic. One solution is to caulk the area where the beam meets the ceiling. The other is to foam the entire gap from the attic as displayed in these photos.

August 19, 2015

What's a knee wall and what does it have to do with energy efficiency? The team was back inside another makeover winner's attic today to explain.

August 17, 2015

Three of 17 Energy Efficiency Makeover homes are finished! Follow along as we begin to post videos about energy inefficiency problems and solutions.

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August 15, 2015

Two of the 17 Energy Efficiency Makeover homes are finished! The team of professional energy experts from DK Construction dramatically reduced air infiltration by caulking and sealing throughout. Attic ventilation was improved by adding soffit vents. A thermal cover was custom made for the whole-house ventilation fan. Note Johnny LaCaze squeezing his way into the tight attic space to install soffit baffles. Doing so allows the attic to be capped off with a dense layer of cellulose insulation without blocking the new soffit vents. Check back for more solutions and videos.

DK Construction energy expert

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DK Construction energy expert photo 3

August 15, 2015

All 17 energy efficiency makeover winners received a comprehensive energy audit. The purpose is to identify the key areas that impact comfort and the electric bill. Energy expert Johnny LaCaze is collecting cubic footage data while Dennis Harris has found a section of ductwork that is disconnected. We also incorporated high-resolution infrared thermal imaging with each audit. Winners are able to "see" many factors revealed during the audit, like improperly installed or missing insulation and air infiltration. The makeovers begin soon! Check back and we'll demonstrate solutions to the problems identified during the energy audits.

Disconnected ductwork

FLIR image of air leaks

August 13, 2015

Today's audits of the Energy Efficiency Makeover winner's homes revealed more severe duct leakage, unwanted air infiltration and missing attic insulation. Note the image of the main return air ductwork is totally disconnected. This causes the HVAC to pull hot and moist summer air, or cold winter air and dust, dirt, pollen etc. into the home and leads to high bills and poor comfort. The infrared image reveals major air infiltration and missing attic insulation. The good news is, the makeover team has a permanent fix! Check back soon to see how we fix these problems. 

Energy expert looking for air leaks

Inefficient ductwork

Inefficient ductwork photo 2

Inefficient ductwork photo 2

August 12, 2015

Comprehensive energy audits are underway on the makeover homes. The photos reveal some major findings. Energy efficiency expert Dennis Harris is diagnosing the ductwork to quantify air leakage. Another image reveals no insulation on the ductwork located in the attic. Missing ductwork insulation promotes condensation and causes wet ceilings. Another image displays missing insulation in about 160 sq. ft. Note the disconnected ductwork in a crawl space. The air-conditioned air that is supposed to be going into the home is merely cooling the crawlspace. Check back and learn how to solve these problems that attribute to uncomfortable homes with higher than normal electric bills. 

Dennis Harris is diagnosing the ductwork to quantify air leakage

FLIR image of air leakage

August 8, 2015

Images from the home of a makeover winner reveals numerous areas of missing attic insulation. Heat moves to cool on planet Earth. On a hot summer day the Sun's energy will move quickly into a home with improperly installed or missing insulation. The opposite happens during winter months. The 2015 Energy Efficiency Makeover team loves to fix these types of problems.