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The Orvis Family

Meet the Orvis Family

Jamie and wife Anne, both 43, their two kids (Ryan, age 12, and Amanda, age 8) and a dog, Maui, live in a 25-year-old Colonial-style home in Fairfield, Connecticut.

Why They Decided to Make Changes

Jamie sees energy-efficient improvements as no-brainers — they save money on utility bills and help protect the earth for his children. Although he does not consider himself a hard-core environmentalist, he is a parent, loyal recycler and outdoor enthusiast with a concern for the environment.

Brief Overview of Home Improvements

Jamie won the Lowe’s Whirlpool energy makeover contest in 2005. Since then he’s renovated the kitchen, updating appliances to ENERGY STAR qualified models and adding ENERGY STAR qualified lighting, more efficient insulation, home sealing, and programmable thermostats to the entire house. Jamie also has added sleep mode to his computers.

What the Orvis Family Did to Save Energy

The Orvis family decided that it was time to expand their gloomy outdated kitchen and appliances, but they didn't want to increase energy use or their expenses. To accomplish the kitchen remodel, Jamie hired an architect to map out the structural and engineering details. He took the plans to Lowe’s to work with a kitchen specialist to select materials and ENERGY STAR qualified appliances and lighting.

The Orvises nearly doubled the kitchen’s space, and replaced a small window with a wall of energy-efficient windows to let in outside natural light. They installed new ENERGY STAR qualified recessed light fixtures with compact fluorescent bulbs. The kitchen now boasts new ENERGY STAR qualified appliances from Whirlpool, including a dishwasher, refrigerator, washing machine, dehumidifier, and programmable thermostats. Prior to the kitchen makeover, Jamie had replaced his outdated water heater and updated all the windows in the house with energy-efficient, double-pane windows to reduce cold drafts.

Results of the Improvements

The Orvis family loves their new kitchen space. Though the kitchen is larger, it actually uses less energy since the new appliances work better and use less energy. EPA estimates the Orvis family will save 13.5 percent off their total annual energy bill. In less than eight years, the Orvises will have saved enough to cover an entire year’s energy costs.

Additional Plans for Home Improvements

Jamie plans to look for additional areas in his home for energy savings, including replacing old cooling equipment with ENERGY STAR qualified window air-conditioning units and ceiling fans, and replacing all of the home's lighting with ENERGY STAR qualified models.

Advice from the Family

  • Earth-friendly home improvements combined with smart design can actually put money back in your pocket.
  • You don’t have to be a “tree hugger” to make a difference. Take a practical approach to saving energy with the help of programs like ENERGY STAR.
  • Start by replacing your outdated appliances, especially your refrigerator. One of the more welcoming features of our new kitchen is that the refrigerator is not running its motor constantly.
  • Hire a contractor that you know and do your homework to save time and money.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. This is a great way to adjust your home to fit your lifestyle, plus you can save up to $150 a year on utility bills.

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