St Johns Housing Partnership Executive Director Bill Lazar provided Jacksonville reporter Jessica Clark a televised interview explaining details of a potentially cost-saving, energy-saving project underway at Hancock Place in West Augustine.
Using the proceeds of a $460,000 grant from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Office of Energy, Lazar explained that data logging systems were set up in twenty average working-class homes; all approximately the same shape and size.
Various energy savings approaches are being tested; for example, some of the homes in the program were retrofit with solar energy panels to supplement electricity purchased from Florida Power and Light.
In other homes, energy-saving hot water heaters or high-efficiency air conditioning units were installed. “We’ll monitor the electric usage on a daily basis for the next two years to see what really makes sense,” Lazar said.
At issue, according to Lazar, are manufacturer claims of various cost savings for their products when used in the construction of homes. Lazar says that by actually installing and testing the components in a controlled environment, the study will help the Housing Partnership know what items work and what items do not.
Optimally, Lazar hopes to be able to direct owners to the most cost-effective combination of options for their 1,300 square-foot, working-class home using the data collected. Similar information has been collected and used in “zero-energy” construction; however, that data has been limited to homes of a much larger scale — and budget.
Once the project is complete, the result data will be public record, Lazar added.