COAP homes more energy efficient

Nola Sizemore Staff Writer

November 26, 2013

Trying to make their homes more energy-efficient, the Christian Outreach for Appalachian People (COAP) agency is now building homes which are scoring 57 on the Home Energy Rating System (HERS).

The home energy rating system is the standard which is used across the nation in rating the energy efficiency of homes. This rating system is based on a rating scale of 150 to zero with 100 being a code-built home. The lower the score the more efficient the home is.

“Our last home built was 43 percent more efficient than code,” said COAP Executive Director Blake Enlow, who is now a certified HERS rater.”A home we are building at Wallins now will be the most energy efficient home we have ever built with a HERS rating of approximately 53 without increasing our costs substantially.”

Enlow said in the last few years, most homes constructed by COAP received a score of 70 in energy efficiency, which is 30 percent more efficient than state code.

“What we hope to achieve is getting our homes down to a score of 50 to 53,” said Enlow. “We’re using a new type of OSB on the outside of the house called green. It’s called zip-sheeting and it’s made to tape all the seams. What you are doing is eliminating all air infiltration into the house. We’re also using another method of OSB on the ceilings where we are taping them before we put the drywall in eliminating all extra air infiltration through the ceiling. We’re using R43 insulation in the attics and R21 in the walls. We’ll have an equivalent of R19 in the floor joust area, but it will be a spray foam instead of regular insulation.”

Enlow said the spray foam seals better than the regular insulation that tends to droop over time and allow air to enter through the flooring area.

“We’re using 16 seer heat pump which is more energy efficient,” said Enlow. “We’re also using a heat pump water heater which saves a tremendous amount of energy and money.”

Enlow said the reason behind being more energy efficient is their funding.

“Rural Development wants us if we replace a heat pump that we do it with something above code and energy efficient,” said Enlow. “When available, they want you to add insulation and more efficient windows and things such as that. The state funding through the Kentucky Housing Corporation, beginning the first of the year, will require us to do an energy audit on each one of our rehabs (older homes which are remodeled or upgraded). We needed to be certified for that. We are here to help anyone who qualifies for our homes.”

For more information or to submit an application, you may visit their office at 301 North Main in Harlan or call 606-573-9853. You may also email at coap_blake@harlanonline.net.

*Look for part two of this story in Saturday’s Enterprise.

Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510, ext. 115, nsizemore@civitasmedia.com