Fort Smith Family Wins $50,000 Energy Efficiency Home Makeover

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A River Valley family is about to get a $50,000 energy efficiency makeover on their Fort Smith home. Kyle and Alisha Quenga and their two children won the contest sponsored by the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas.

Greg Davis, spokesman for the Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative Corporation, said, like many older homes, the Quengas' 34-year-old house has poor insulation, air leaks and problems with the air infiltration.

"Our complete diagnostic energy audit revealed to us some major areas for improvement," said Davis.

"We knew we had some issues in this house, and we have actually looked at possibly selling and just moving into a newer home so that we wouldn't have the issues that we have now, but we just love this location," said Alisha Quenga. The Quenga family has lived in the home since 2004.

One of the family's favorite activities is spending time in their backyard pool. Davis said the pool's uses a lot of energy, also contributing to their high energy bill.

Quenga said her family spends between $200 and $300 each month on their energy bill. Davis estimates the Quengas will save about half that amount after the makeover is complete.

"Our energy bills are going to go down which means we get to save more money and possibly do a lot more things that we wouldn't have been able to do before," said Quenga. "Not only that, they're going to be able to do stuff to this house that we would've never been able to do on our own."

Crews will install new windows, insulation and a heat and air conditioning unit, as well as seal leaks in the air ducts and walls. The Quenga family will also get all new energy-efficient appliances.

"Generally people are only going to replace those when they're old and break down, when they're remodeling," said Davis. "If you've got appliances that are ten years old, they are very inefficient."

Davis said installing an energy-efficient refrigerator, for instance, will pay for itself in three to four years. He said people can also lower their energy bill by caulking and sealing around windows, doors and anywhere plumbing is entering the home.

Improvements to the Fort Smith home will begin this week (Aug. 12), according to Davis. He said they hope to have the project complete in about six weeks.

Progress on the winning home can be tracked at www.ECAHomeMakeover.com or the makeover Facebook page.