How much does a DER cost?
In the three houses Verdae, LLC did under the NYSERDA grant, the cost for the DER portion cost between $5.00 and $6.00 per surface square foot. If the siding and windows are being replaced, the cost to perform a full DER is greatly reduced since the major work is being done anyway.
What is a surface square foot?
Measurement of the exterior of a building. All of the surfaces, walls, roofs, and floors that make up the exterior surfaces of the building can be added together to calculate the SSF of a building. The NYSERDA Deep Energy Retrofit R&D projects used total SSF as the means to normalize the various houses in the program for cost and energy calculations.
How long does a DER take?
This will vary based on the condition of the building. Often repair work has to be done as part of the DER. It can take from a few weeks to a few months.
Can we live in the house while the DER is underway?
Yes. In fact, one of the advantages of the external nature of the DER is that the home remains habitable while the work is being done. The biggest disruption is during window replacement, and each window can be removed and replaced in just a few hours.
Can I reduce my carbon footprint with a DER?
This is one of the best ways to lower the whole family’s carbon footprint. Reductions of energy consumption by more than 50% are possible. Heating and cooling our buildings consume more than 40% of total energy use in the United States.
Who is qualified to perform a DER of my home?
A person with knowledge of building science, and who has worked on several DER projects is needed for a successful DER. Any competent builder is capable of doing the work, but a knowledge of how to apply building science is required for a successful project.
Are there tax credits for a DER?
Not at this time.
Can I do the DER work in stages?
Yes. The DER work can be broken up into many stages. The important thing is to have a plan so that each step can be integrated into the whole. When doing a roofing replacement, the roof or attic should be insulated and air sealed properly, and the interface with the wall DER work understood and planned for. When the windows are being replaced, do the wall DER work and replace the siding as well. The basement is generally the least expensive part of the DER, and very effective as a first step.
What are the benefits of a DER?
Along with saving energy and reducing the buildings carbon footprint, a DER provides many benefits to the occupants of the home. Improved comfort is always provided by a DER, and is often the most valued benefit. The indoor air quality also improves, and allergy or asthma sufferers find their symptoms are reduced or go away completely. The buildings durability goes up and repairs are almost eliminated.
When is the best time to do a DER?
There are so many benefits from a DER, the sooner the better. If remodeling work is being done, a DER should be part of it. At least do the DER on the portion of the building is being renovated. This will be the least expensive time to do the DER work.
How can I pay for the DER?
A DER of any home is a large capital investment. The money now being spent on fossil fuel could be used to fund the DER. A 30-year mortgage would provide positive cash flow from Day 1. A DER is one of the best and most dependable investments you can make. The annual dividends are high, and will only go up over time.
I want to make my home Zero Net Energy, am I wasting my time and money on a DER?
Quite the opposite. Any successful Zero Net Energy project for an existing building starts with a DER. The Btu you do not need is the most valuable Btu. The energy use profile of a building before and after a DER makeover is staggering. When the load is reduced, then the geothermal HVAC system is smaller and the Solar PV system is smaller. Generally, the total cost of a Zero Net Energy retrofit project is reduced when the first item is a DER.