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The ERM team reinsulated the Eighth Street energy house, hooked up an interactive home energy management system that monitors energy usage, installed energy-efficient lighting, weatherization and water management systems, and worked with a local designer to remodel the interior.
But the crown jewel of the upgrade is the mini-split. The geothermal heating and cooling system has been in wide use outside the United States in recent years. It runs in conjunction with a ductless, breadbox-size compressor that sits outside and runs nearly silently.
Marilyn Adams, who owns the Eighth Street house, has seen her heating and cooling costs drop from around 58 cents an hour to 9 cents an hour, according to Juris.
“She got a letter from Pepco saying her monthly charges were going down by
40 percent,” he said.
Still, homeowners have to decide whether they can afford the initial investment. Juris estimated the cost of Adams’ energy upgrade at $12,000, saying the demonstration house got the deluxe treatment.
“If she went with a conventional heating system, she would’ve paid $8,000, so the difference there is $4,000,” he said. “We’re saving her about $1,500 a year, so she’ll see that return in three or four years. After you pay that off, it’s nothing but lower bills going forward. We’ll even show you where the federal incentives are and fill out your tax forms, so at the end of the day all you have to do is send it in.”
ERM will provide tours of the house Oct. 22 from noon to 3 p.m at No. 9A & B Eighth St. SE. The tour is free and open to the public, but visitors are encouraged to register at the company’s website ahead of time.