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Home Energy Makeover

California Dreamin’ to Lone Star Livin’

The Zuniga family, members of Grayson-Collin EC

In 2005, California natives Brandon and Dawn Zuniga moved their growing family to the Texas countryside for a higher quality of life and a more affordable home. Brandon works as an employment manager for Tyson Foods, and Dawn is a rehabilitation director at a nursing facility.

Their home was built in 1986 and sits on a grassy hill in a sparsely developed part of Sherman.

The Zunigas embraced the Lone Star State, but they brought along a part of their California lifestyle. Brandon and Dawn and their three children—Izabella, 12, Powell, 9, and Asher, 4—are into skateboards. So they built a swimming pool with a highly curved surface that, when drained, doubles as a skateboarding course.

But even the most proficient skateboarder couldn’t skate around the fact that the Zunigas’ 1,800-square-foot home was draining their energy budget.

The Home Energy Makeover energy audit used a blower-door test to show where outdoor air was leaking into the home by way of cracks, holes and leaky doors.

“I could not believe what we were actually losing,” Brandon said. “You could feel that air blowing through the door seals and windows and stuff like that. I said, ‘Oh geez. No wonder my bills are so high!’”

Brandon was shocked to find out that the attic had less than one quarter the recommended insulation. “I didn’t know how far under the bar we were,” he said. “We are supposed to have 18 inches (of insulation) and we had four, and in some places we had none.”

Winning the contest has helped heighten energy awareness for the busy family members, Brandon said. Now the kids come in and out more quickly, not wanting to let air-conditioned air escape, and they’re more apt to turn off lights when they’re not in use.

Home Energy Makeover local sponsors: