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Tour an historic home for energy-saving ideas

Tour a 106-year-old house at a Home Energy-Efficiency Open House and learn about renewable energy, energy audits and insulation, high-efficiency HVAC systems, rebate programs, electric vehicles and healthy indoor air.

Project Living Proof (PLP) is a 3,665-square-foot house owned by the Metropolitan Energy Center (MEC) and located just east of the Plaza in the historic Rockhill neighborhood.

In 2010, MEC gutted and restored it as a demonstration house to show visitors how older homes can be energy efficient. Now, the PLP house is a resource for homeowners to learn how they can reduce the cost of hefty energy bills, increase the comfort in their homes and prevent the residents’ exposure to harmful contaminants and pollutants.

During an open house this Saturday, visitors will see a variety of energy-efficiency demonstrations, plus alternative fuel options and several gardening and water-conservation features. Here are some of the highlights:

  • A geothermal heating and cooling system was installed to reduce energy costs by up to 70 percent.
  • Fourteen solar panels were installed on the south-facing back roof, which connects to a photovoltaic (PV) inverter and a battery storage system.
  • SmartGrid technology shows energy use in real time throughout the house. The smart displays are located near the refrigerator and dishwasher in the kitchen. The dishwasher can be programmed to run at times when other energy zappers are not commonly used — like the middle of the night.
  • Extensive efforts were made to maintain as much of the original house as possible, including the original windows, which were restored to be more energy efficient.
  • First-floor walls were reframed from 4-inches deep to 10–inches deep to allow for maximum insulation. A “truth window” shows visitors the layers of insulation.
  • The kitchen has many sustainable features, including restored maple floors, a prep sink made from recyclable materials, wheat straw cabinets, recycled glass countertops, water-saving faucets and an energy-efficient stovetop.
  • The front yard has several beds of edible plants that work to reduce water runoff into the sewers by keeping as much water in the area as possible.
  • An electric vehicle charging station is located behind the house for electric car charging. It is partially powered by the solar panels on the roof.

The open house is free and will be held from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 21 at 917 Emmanuel Cleaver II, Blvd., Kansas City, MO. Parking is available at the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center immediately behind the house at 4750 Troost Ave. For more information, go to MEC or contact David Albrecht at 816-531-7283.

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