CASE STUDY
HOME PERFORMANCE WITH
ENERGY STAR®
Breathing Easy Again in Fresno
Fresno, California
When Fresno homeowners Matt and Lisa Nutting and their
family were battling asthma, respiratory problems, mold,
and high energy bills, they called local contractor Gary
Richardson of Rare Service in nearby Clovis. Richardson
was trained to diagnose and fix homes using the "house
as a system" approach by the California Building Performance
Contractors Association (CBPCA), a sponsor of Home
Performance with ENERGY STAR in California.
The Nuttings' respiratory problems started right after they
installed a fireplace to help heat their large home in the
winter Matt and his daughter both began experiencing
coughing and breathing problems, often waking 3 to 4
times during the night. They were also burdened with
extremely high heating and cooling bills and comfort
issues.
Home Performance with ENERGY STAR is an innovative
whole house approach to improving the comfort and
energy efficiency of existing homes. Qualified contractors
provide a complete home assessment and recommend
ways to improve its energy efficiency. They can install
insulation, do air-sealing, and verify that heating and
cooling equipment and ductwork are operating safely and
efficiently. They can even replace equipment, if needed.
During the diagnosis, Richardson used a blower door, duct
blaster, and infrared camera which helped him discover
leaky ducts, poor attic insulation, and unsealed can lights
in the ceiling. Because the fireplace insert was cutting off
the only source of relatively fresh air in the home,
insulation particles were being drawn down through the
unsealed can lights, causing the family's breathing
problems. Without these sophisticated tools and
techniques, the source of the Nuttings' health problems
may never have been discovered.
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The leakage of attic air helped cause the family's comfort
problems and high energy bills. After repairing and
replacing the ducts, upgrading the attic insulation, sealing
the can lights, and replacing the HVAC unit, the family saw
its health issues disappear immediately.
The energy savings were impressive. The Nuttings' utility
bills decreased by half from about $900 per month to less
than $450 per month. But the energy savings are only part
of the story. "I killed three birds with one stone—our
comfort level dramatically increased, our utility bills
dramatically decreased, and our health problems were
solved," Matt Nutting said. "Even if I didn't save money on
my utility bills, I still would have been happy just solving
the health problems."
The Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program is
currently available in 12 states. Benefits of the program
include:
~	Up to 30% Savings on Energy Bills
~	A Quieter, More Comfortable Living Environment
~	Improved Air Quality
~	Greater Home Durability with Lower Maintenance
To learn more about the Home Performance
with ENERGY STAR program, visit:
www.energystar.gov/homeperformance

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