Attics are Key — Patrycja Takes A Huge Step Towards Tackling the Big One Upstairs

Patrycja has completed some attic and basement work and is excited to see what future projects she will be able to take on! Keep reading to check out a list of all the work that was done.

Getting ready for attic work

Q: How did you hear about the showcase and why did you decide to join?

A: Lucy is a good friend of mine, and she notified me of this competition. Even before then, I had worked with CCI to better understand my home and make efficiency upgrades that I knew I needed. Even with that knowledge, I pushed it off and pushed it off. Once I heard about the Showcase, I knew that it was the perfect time to revisit these issues and get a new audit. I figured, if I’m not going to use this competition as a jumping off point, when will I get it done? I joined the Showcase because I am interested in sustainability. I try to teach my friends and family how to be as sustainable as possible. Everyday actions of sustainability make me feel good. Taking on this project is a major step for me, and I am very excited.

Q: What have you learned?

A: Getting an audit from CCI made me realize that the house has a lot of things not done properly. I live in a one-hundred-year-old home — certainly not uncommon in Pittsburgh, but you can imagine what kind of difficulties are inherent in a home of that age. Knowing my litany of issues, I spoke with Tony from CCI about priority and getting the most “bang for my buck.” I was directed towards insulating my attic, which will hopefully make a huge difference. My thought process is to tackle the most critical piece that needs to be addressed and hopefully more projects will follow.

Q: What stopped you from committing to more efficient decisions in the past?

A: This one is, and I’m sure it is similar for a lot of folks, simple — cost was our biggest barrier. We’re not millionaires. We have two children and home projects only come along occasionally. We are looking into loan programs for energy efficiency upgrades, but, right now, we are excited to have a general plan. Knowing that we are taking care of the right aspects of our home is allowing us to address the upgrade process one step at a time.

Basement Air-sealing

Q: What have you found to be the easiest part about this process with CCI? Most difficult?

A: Everything went smoothly and communication was great! I felt very comfortable throughout the visit and the auditor from CCI gave me their cell phone number just in case I had any questions moving forward. The report was particularly helpful in making me understand the prioritization of upgrades that I should be taking on and general pricing. My experience with CCI’s vetted contractors was also extremely positive. In the past, way before entering in the Showcase, I received a couple of bad estimates that really turned me off some home improvement projects that I was planning on undertaking. Having CCI there to be a sort of “bridge” to contractors was extremely beneficial and I would implore anyone to take advantage of that service.

Basement Air-sealing

Q: Is there any advice that you would give to someone considering home upgrades?

A: We need to be more aware of the impact we have on the environment with respect to our homes. For myself, and a lot of Pittsburgh homes, insulation is key. This is by no means true for everyone because building science can be a complicated thing. Just know that not all houses are built the right way, but some fixes might not be as hard as you would think. People should have the opportunity to know more about their home and the Showcase has been a great chance to begin that journey.

Patrycja’s completed work:

Attic and Basement Insulation and Air-Sealing — $2,300

  • Air sealing all electrical and plumbing penetrations.
  • Cutting into main flat of finished attic.
  • Netting the backs of all vertical kneewalls and blowing full with (R13) cellulose fiber insulation.
  • Installing chutes into every other slope and dense packing slopes.
  • Installing 10" (R‐38) cellulose fiber insulation over existing fiberglass on all flats.
  • Weatherstripping and insulating with 2" foamboard 3 existing access panels.
  • Drilling into gable end walls 2 holes per bay and dense packing with cellulose.
  • Patching all holes to a rough finish.
  • Installing 1" Thermax foamboard on all sillboxes.
  • Airsealing with caulking or foam.
  • Airsealing penetrations of basement ceiling.

Knob and Tube Remediation — $3,500

    Conservation Consultants, Inc.

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