Emily is a D.C. transplant from Chicago. She is a graduate student studying public communication at American University.
Andy Serfas’s home is more than 100 years old. When Andy’s house was built, Taft was president, refrigerators were just coming onto the mass market Andy Serfasand horseback riding was being phased out due to the automobile.
Something tells me that people weren’t too aware of climate change and the dramatic impact of pollution that long ago. But Andy is.
A young homeowner, his dedication to living a greener lifestyle is evident from a quick walk through of his home. Plants are grown in the spare room, and a compost pile is set up in the backyard.
A native D.C. resident, Andy bought his beautiful rowhouse about three years ago.
Located in D.C.’s northeast quadrant, his home is a combination of old and new; exposed brick and a detailed fireplace mix with more updated walls and lighting. Right off the bat, it was clear that Andy enjoys home projects; there were tools and remnants of other projects stacked around the house.
After hearing about Strong Homes Program from his girlfriend, a former Groundswell volunteer, he took the first step toward updating his home to address the problems of the twenty-first century: scheduling a home energy assessment.
To my novice eye, with little more home inspection experience than what can be gleaned from HGTV, parts of the assessment looked like a scene from Ghostbusters.
After an initial walk through of the home and hearing about Andy’s current energy concerns (things like the back bedroom always remaining cold no matter how much heat was pouring in from the house), the assessor broke out the infrared tools to measure just how much air flow there was in the house. The more airflow, the more energy wasted.
At the end of the three-hour assessment, a complete summary of the energy challenges that Andy’s home faces was given to him. He'll receive a report about ways to fix these problems.
After looking over the report, Andy can decide which energy upgrades make the most sense for his home and budget.
The local business that performed the assessment, Edge Energy, can do the upgrades from better insulating a wall to restoring the façade to its original condition. So Andy doesn’t have to worry about finding another company to come in and paint over the spots where insulation was put in.
Andy's the first in his neighborhood to get involved with the Strong Homes Project but hopes that will change. He has reached out to his neighbors about getting their own energy assessments. Many of the homes around his are about the same age and likely face many of the same challenges that his does.
By sealing up the windows, adding insulation, and other steps like these, Andy’s home will not only save him money on energy costs, but also reduce his impact on the environment.