Remodelers Corner: March/April 2013


As spring arrives each year, the concept of renewal inspires new projects. Pat Eckert, of Eckert Construction, remodels homes with an eye toward conservation and energy efficiency as well as aesthetics and utility.

Two years ago, Eckert purchased an older home near downtown Rochester. It is now two delightful apartments, but when he first bought the property it was a duplex with a nearly gutted upper floor, outdated interiors and an energy inefficient infrastructure.

One of Eckert’s first priorities was to upgrade the property’s energy efficiency. He began by commissioning a blower door test, which helps determine a home’s airtightness and reduce energy-wasting leaks.

“If I do a blower door test before finishing a house,” says Eckert, “it allows me to handle the problems ahead of time. For example, once the basement is finished, it would be costly to go back and spray foam into leaking walls or make other revisions to address problem areas.”

Before the remodel, the blower door test rated the house’s air loss at 4177 cubic feet per minute (cfm) with airflow of 50 Pascals. After the remodel, Eckert had reduced the home’s leakage by almost half, to 2485 cfm, putting a much tighter seal on the house and keeping it warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer without additional energy.

Eckert achieved these results by using Microllam® structural beams, which allowed him to install copious amounts of energy-saving, dense spray foam insulation—sealing and insulating the upstairs to R43 (versus the R19 minimally required). He also replaced the leaky, single-pane windows with double-pane, argon gas ones and installed a three-point locking system for the upstairs door, providing a tighter seal and more secure lock.