Thursday, November 15 , 2018, 10:39 pm | Fair 52º

 
 
 
 

Goleta Home a Beacon of Energy Efficiency

Rebecca and Bill Golgert are local pioneers in embracing whole-house energy upgrades

Walking from room to room in Rebecca and Bill Golgert’s house used to be like entering a chilly air-conditioned grocery store.

The Golgerts would set their thermostat to 78 degrees, Rebecca Golgert said, but their 4-year-old son’s room would be about 60 degrees when they would wake him up in the morning.

“It was freezing in our son’s room in the morning,” she said. “I didn’t like that he was in a room that was so cold.”

So after weighing some options, the Golgerts headed to Earth Day two years ago to learn about energy efficiency. Now, they are one of the first families in Santa Barbara County to perform a “whole house energy upgrade” and participate in the Energy Upgrade California rebate program.

“I could walk through my house and not brace myself for the chill that was going to come,” Rebecca Golgert said.

The Golgerts invited the media, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, Lucas Johnson, manager for Allen Associates’ Building Performance Specialists Division and Barriere Energy Marketing Manager Erika Weber into their house Tuesday to share the changes.

While their initial issue was keeping the bedrooms warm and the house from overheating during summer, the Golgerts decided to do a full slew of upgrades.

Allen Associates helped them retrofit the attic, including asbestos removal, air sealing and insulation. They replaced their heating system with a new furnace and duct work, swapped the hot water system with a tank-less alternative, installed a skylight and SolaTubes to incorporate natural daylight, put in LED can lights in the kitchen, and replaced the bath fans.

“If the only motivation to do this was to save money, it would’ve been hard to justify,” Bill Golgert said. “But now we’re more comfortable in our home.”

The Golgerts were able to reduce their homeowner’s insurance and utilize Energy Upgrade California rebates, which helped them do the project all at once rather than in increments, he said.

Many questions circle around the payback period, or when the energy efficiency savings offset the upgrades, but that view is too simplistic, Johnson said.

“We need to move this industry beyond the simple payback conversation because it doesn’t holistically capture all of the benefits and value,” he said. “We need to look at the total cost of ownership, deferred maintenance, their furnace and heater would’ve failed in the next five years. Those costs need to be taken into account as well.”

Energy efficiency upgrades also create local jobs and helps the United States be more self-sufficient, said Capps, who advocates more federal subsidies.

“There are new jobs in our community as a result of this new emphasis on efficient use of energy,” she said. “It saves the homeowner money, but also provides jobs in the community, aids our economy, helps our energy needs and gets us off foreign sources, it’s a real win-win.”

The improvement to the Golgerts’ home drastically increased indoor air quality by eliminating asbestos and carbon monoxide sources, boosted fixture durability, reduced natural gas usage by 50 percent, lowered energy consumption and cut down carbon impact, Johnson said.

“They were the first full-house upgrade client that we’re aware of in Santa Barbara County, and the first Energy Upgrade California rebate program client in the county, so you are definitely taking leadership here,” he said. “This house now represents absolute best practices while still using some natural gas.”

While the Golgerts’ home was built in 1962, it’s one of the most technologically advanced on the block.

“We’re more comfortable in the meantime,” Bill Golgert said, “and we’re spending less money on fuel to be more comfortable.”

Noozhawk business writer Alex Kacik can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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