Local family’s home gets “green” makeover with energy-efficient upgrades

Local family’s home gets “green” makeover with energy-efficient upgrades
Kim Cummins' home - winner of the My Green Birmingham Green Home Giveaway - is 90 years old. (Bruce Nix/Alabama NewsCenter)

The Cummins family is the 2015 winner of My Green Birmingham’s annual Green Home Giveaway, presented by Alabama Power.

Kim Cummins said she was hopeful of winning after entering the contest on the last day.

Cummins family wins Green Home Giveaway with energy-efficiency upgrades from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Alabama Power donated the GE heat pump water heater and partnered with a heating and cooling company from their Superior Solutions Dealer Program. The dual fuel heat pump included a programmable thermostat, which happens to be Mrs. Cummins’ favorite upgrade.

Alabama Power has been our partner for five years and we have a great relationship. They’ve been a big help in providing holistic solutions for making the home as energy-efficient as possible, beyond simply installing appliances,” says Natalie Kelly, Publisher of My Green Birmingham.

Since the upgrades and repairs in January of 2015, Cummins said she has noticed a great difference in the comfort of the home. She observed a significant decrease in cost, viewing a history of her billing on Alabama Power’s website . “I was able to see what I was paying around this time last year and it has gone down a great deal,” she said.

The Cummins home just turned 90 years old and they are enjoying its new birthday gifts!

The annual giveaway is designed to provide a lucky homeowner with a more energy-efficient living space. Contestants answer a couple of questions about their home and tell why they want to win. From there, sponsors choose three finalists based on energy-usage history, condition of the home and whether improvements have been made to the home. The winner is chosen based on the home receiving the most likes on Facebook.

Alabama Power, which is the presenting sponsor for the giveaway, conducted an Energy Checkup of the Cummins home and made recommendations for improvements.

Eco Three, which has been a partner of Green Home Giveaway since the project began, conducted a thorough energy analysis to identify air leaks in the home.

“The biggest challenge was that the home was very drafty, which resulted in wasted energy and comfort issues for the homeowners,” said Johnathan Handey of Eco Three.  “To address these issues, we recommended added insulation, replacing the old water heater with a new high-efficiency heat pump water heater and sealing the ductwork.”

Alabama Power recognizes the importance of educating the community about ways to save energy,” said Sills. “By supporting efforts such as the Green Home Giveaway, we have the opportunity to share innovative product knowledge and technology with our customers.”

Bryant Heating & Cooling Systems, ELM Construction, V&W Supply, TOTO, Mrs. Clean Green, the Birmingham Association of Realtors and the Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders, were partners in the giveaway as well.

You, too, can ensure your home is energy-efficient this summer season with these tips:

  • Set thermostats to 78 degrees or higher and use ceiling fans while you are in the room. Raising the thermostat by 2 degrees can reduce air-conditioning use by 10 percent. The cost of running a ceiling fan is minimal.
  • Small appliances such as a microwave, electric frying pan or toaster oven use about one-third the power of an oven broiler, and reduce heat in your kitchen. Try using these along with an outdoor grill in place of a full oven, for more cost-effective and cooler cooking.
  • Use a kitchen exhaust fan for no more than 15 minutes after cooking can aid in removing heat and moisture. Any longer than 15 minutes, the fan will begin to pull cool air out of the home.
  • Cleaning/Replacing air filters will increase the efficiency and longevity of your cooling system.
  • Replace dripping faucets to keep water use down and energy savings up. This will reduce the amount of work your water heater has to do.
  • Give your air conditioner a break and use an exhaust fan or open a window during a hot shower to remove heat and moisture from the bathroom while the door is closed.
  • Be sure to close or use light-colored blinds, shades and draperies on the sunny side of the house to avoid excess heat.
  • Wait to do household chores such as mopping, washing dishes and running the clothes dryer until the cooler part of the day. This will help reduce moisture and heat in the house.
  • Use caulk and weather-stripping in places where cool air normally escapes. This will also come in handy during the winter, since you will want to trap warm air inside.

For more information on My Green Birmingham and the Green Home Giveaway, please visit http://mygreenbirmingham.com/.



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