Our Impact

Christina Guzman, Detroit
Home: A 1920s duplex in Detroit’s Hubbard Farms neighborhood.

Issues: Gaps around windows, doors and ducts caused drafts in the winter.

Check-up: Pinpointed air leaks using a blower door test and sealed the biggest ones – reducing home airflow by 8%!

Christina Guzman has owned a duplex in Detroit’s’ historic Hubbard Farms neighborhood for years. She lives on one side, and her parents live on the other.

Because it’s a historic home, the walls, doors and ducts had gaps, making it feel uncomfortable. Air leakage in her home made her living room very drafty, especially in the winter. She also dealt with high energy bills, but had not addressed the leaks because she thought getting new insulation would be very expensive.

During her check-up a BetterBuildings for Michigan energy team started with a blower-door test, which helped them find the biggest air leaks. They were able to seal some of the major air leaks and reduce the total airflow in the house by 8% in just a few hours!

Christina said, “This was a wonderful opportunity to make my home more energy efficient.  The BetterBuildings for Michigan team was friendly, polite and very efficient. And they worked hard to fix all of the air leakage in my home!

The change in the way my house feels is incredible! I am already saving energy and money

Bob and Fran Pitlock, Sterling Heights
Home: Built in 1974, the Pitlock’s have lived here for 25 years.

Issues: The living room got chilly in the winter, and furnace and A/C were each over 15-years old.

Check-up: With insulation and efficient appliances, they’ll save an estimated $800 a year!

When Fran Pitlock saw an article in the paper about BetterBuildings for Michigan, it sounded like a good idea. She and her husband Bob have lived in the same home for 25 years and even though it’s in good shape, she wanted to see what the program had to offer.

They set an appointment and had an Energy Advisor from Wellhome visit for a full home check-up. Despite how long the Pitlock’s had lived there, the assessment still revealed a few unexpected issues.

“We were surprised to find out that there was a lot of air leakage around our brick fireplace,” Fran said. “Just getting the test with the infrared camera was worth the money.”

Some of the results of the checkup were less surprising. For example, the Pitlock’s furnace and air conditioner were each 15 years old. “They were still working fine,” Bob said, “but we knew were living on borrowed time.” Through BetterBuildings for Michigan they were able to get rebates of $1,800 from their utility provider – Consumers Energy – and we matched an additional $1,800. After all the rebates, getting 0% APR financing from Michigan Saves made the investment seem not just easy, but like a no-brainer!

“The incentives seems like a good deal,” Bob said, but the 0A% financing really put smiles on our faces. We didn’t have to pay anything today and there’s still a rebate check coming in the mail. It’s like we’re getting paid to do work on our house.”

After their new furnace, air conditioner, air filters and insulation were installed, the Pitlock’s are expected to save over $800 a year on their energy bills! After all the rebates, the upgrades will pay for themselves in just 6 years.

The Pitlocks were part of a special, pilot program available to only their neighborhood. But thanks to their participation and satisfaction (along with almost a hundred other families), a similar program will be available to all Sterling Heights neighborhoods starting in April 2012.

Home Energy Savings

Arika Lycan and Mike Fry, Ypsilanti
Home: 1920s home in Normal Park neighborhood.

Issues: Energy loss from leaky wooden doors and windows, and an inefficient 22-year old furnace.

Check-up: Eligible for an $800 rebate on a furnace plus other incentives.

Arika Lycan and Mike Fry wanted to stay in Ypsilanti after graduating from Eastern Michigan University. They fell in love with a historic 1920s home in Normal Park, and knew they were taking on the kinds of issues that come with an older home. Old walls, wooden doors and windows – there were lots of places where air could leak in, and where heated or air-conditioned air could leak out.

Their BetterBuildings for Michigan Energy Advisor was able to help them understand their energy issues and suggest ways to solve them. Arika said “the audit was really affordable, and now we are better educated about our home.” Not only that, but they’re also saving money! After getting their home assessment, they’re making plans to implement the suggested improvements. As a bonus, they had energy-efficient light bulbs, a new thermostat and faucet aerators installed free of charge!

Because of the incentives, Mike and Arika can get $800 to help them replace their 22-year old furnace with more efficient model. They’re also looking at getting storm-windows and doors to inexpensively reduce drafts. With the new furnace, storm windows and storm doors, Arika and Mike will use less energy, keep more of it in and save money.

Arika said, “it feels good to know that there are lots of steps we can take to make our home more energy efficient and to help lower our bills!”

More than 5,500 homes have signed up in Southeast Michigan alone to make their homes, and communities, more comfortable, energy efficient and financially stable. The program has been more successful than originally planned for as Michigan residents take advantage of this great opportunity.


We've got specially qualified, trusted contractors available to provide you with an energy audit for only $100 - over $250 off the regular price. Then you'll get access to the rebates and financing available in your area. But the program may come to a close any month now, so sign-up while you can.

While the federal BetterBuildings for Michigan program ended in 2013, we will make sure that everyone in Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw or Wayne Counties that wants a reduced cost energy audit for $100 will get an appointment.