A new Midland, Mich., demonstration home relied on simple air sealing upgrades to turn a leaky and poorly insulated dwelling into a test case for energy efficiency.

The Revitalize Home is expected to save approximately 30 percent in energy bills annually with no mechanical or structural upgrades, only insulation and air sealing. The project team from Dow Building Solutions and Cobblestone Homes sealed the 52-year-old, 1,500-square-foot bungalow’s envelope, lowering the HERS score from 131 to 85. The renovations are also expected to reduce the home’s carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 33 percent per year.

From Froth-Pak foam insulation to Thermax sheathing on below-grade walls, the Revitalize Home features a range of insulation and weather barrier solutions from Dow. Project planners found that the most impactful applications were in the basement, where air sealing and insulation upgrades resulted in approximately 14 percent annual energy savings. The home is open to the public to serve as an educational center, providing tours, training, and hands-on demonstrations.

“The Dow Revitalize Home is exactly what we need to be doing with the country’s 130 million existing homes, many of which were built before modern energy codes were implemented,” says Larry Zarker, CEO of the Building Performance Institute, a national standards development and credentialing organization for residential energy efficiency retrofit work.

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