High-energy family, low energy bill

by Susan Gillin | Aug 03, 2017
Family of eight is saving about $375 a year

Arrive mid-day at Jason and Amie Shattuck’s house and you’re greeted with merry chaos. Jason, a Confluence Health physician, is home for the noon hour. Amie just picked up the kids and their cousins from day camp – I count five little heads in the roomy kitchen – and she quickly prepares pancakes for lunch. Toddler Kate clutches a spoon and bowl and jabbers at me from her high chair. The pancake eaters mug for my camera while I talk to Jason as he downs a thick quesadilla, which Amie apparently whipped up while I wasn’t looking.

The energy level is super-high at this rural Wenatchee home -- human energy, that is. But energy use – we’re talking electrical energy now -- is remarkably low. This in spite of having three water heaters and 4,000 square feet of space to heat in the winter and cool in the summer. All that laundry. All those dishes, showers and baths. All those bedrooms.

Little girl poses with her home's two heat pump water heatersHere’s the truly amazing thing: Due to energy-efficiency upgrades, eight people in this home are using less electricity than when just one or two people lived there. The Shattucks are saving about $375 a year on their electric bill.

Jason and Amie have supervised major remodeling on their home in Number One Canyon including replacing windows and sliding glass doors. At the advice of their handyman, they installed two heat pump water heaters dedicated to the bathrooms (they left a traditional storage tank that feeds only the kitchen) and upgraded to a super-efficient heat pump. PUD rebates helped cover the cost of all those upgrades.

“We chose certain windows and doors over others, and rebates were a big part of it,” Jason said. “While we were making the house more livable we wanted to make sure it was energy efficient, too.”

The house was built in 1974 and was badly in need of insulation. “We blew in a lot of insulation, between the floors, in the attic, in the walls,” Jason said. They changed out old bulbs to LEDs and made sure any new lighting was LED as well.

Saving energy “wasn’t the strongest motivator, to be honest,” Jason said, “but the long view is that it will eventually pay off.” They hope to live there for at least 20 years.

“The house was bigger than what we were looking for but the land is perfect for what we wanted to do,” Amie said.

Amie home-schools their children. They have six, ranging in age from 2-11. The house rests on six acres where they’re raising pigs, chickens, and vegetables and offering their kids, Amie says, “room to run around.”

That and a cozy, comfortable home.

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