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Home Energy Makeover

From Energy Drain to Savings Gain

The Stark family, members of South Plains EC

Life on the High Plains Caprock is like no place else in Texas. This is a place where the land defines the people, and it is the home of Aubrey and Jacque Stark, lifelong residents of the Lubbock area.

The Starks enjoy busy and engaging lives now that their children are grown and on their own. A registered nurse, Jacque operates her own company, coordinating clinical research trials for pharmaceutical companies. Aubrey retired a few years ago after working 33 years as a Lubbock police officer. He keeps busy caring for the couple’s two horses and working on remodeling and repair projects, having gained a reputation as a neighborhood Mr. Fix Anything.

In 2003, the Starks moved to their 2,100-square-foot ranch-style home on the outskirts of Lubbock. Soon after, they noticed that their electricity use—and their bills—had increased.

The all-electric home had some hidden flaws, discovered after Home Energy Makeover energy auditor Peter Walper conducted tests and inspected the home for inefficiencies.

Among other things, Walper found that the six large recessed lights in the kitchen ceiling had no insulation, creating an energy drain, especially considering that attic temperatures reach 150 degrees or more during South Plains summers.

In addition to new insulation, the Starks’ home received a new energy-efficient heating and air-conditioning system, a water heater and a programmable thermostat. The improvements are expected to save the couple an estimated $930 on their annual electricity bills.

“We knew our heat pump was old and inefficient and that many of our appliances were dated and costing us money,” Jacque says. “But we had no idea the recessed lighting fixtures in our ceilings had almost no insulation over them, which caused serious air penetration and wasted energy. The pressurization tests performed by the auditors brought these leaks to our attention.”

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