Frequently Asked Questions

What does Vesta mean?

Vesta is the Roman goddess of hearth and home (her Greek counterpart is Hestia). Vesta (or 4 Vesta) is also the name of an asteroid discovered in 1807.

What is Home Performance?

Home Performance is the all-encompassing term for describing how well a house functions in terms of energy efficiency, water consumption, and indoor air quality. It is an evidence-based evaluation of a house, using building science.

Why should I do a Home Performance Retrofit?

By retrofitting your home, based on your priorities, we can help make your house more comfortable, warmer, and safer — while also saving you money on your utility bills and helping the planet.

Is Home Performance Retrofitting the same thing as weatherization?

No, but we’re glad you asked. Weatherization is typically a prescriptive set of tasks that can be done to a house (adding weatherstripping and sweeps to doors, for example). While these are helpful, they are only a small part of what Home Performance Retrofitting entails.

Is Home Performance Retrofitting the same thing as earthquake–or seismic–retrofitting?

No, but we often work in conjunction with seismic companies, since we have a great opportunity to air seal and insulate pony walls in the basement before shear walls get installed.

Do you always end up recommending new windows, insulation, and furnaces?

It depends on your priorities. Typically, the bulk of the work we do is in the crawlspaces (or basements) and attics, sealing air leaks in the walls and ducts. The return on investment (if energy efficiency is your highest priority) for windows is about a century, and rarely worthwhile. There are times when you may have other priorities (such as wanting functioning units or more light), in which case new windows are desirable, and we will propose them.

Insulation will only make sense after complete air sealing, and so we will rarely recommend the one without the other. If you are anticipating a big remodel or roof project, we may suggest that you wait, for cost effectiveness.

If you have a highly inefficient furnace, with leaky ducts, we will make recommendations and indicate what impact they would have — on both your quality of life and your utility bills. Keep in mind that a more efficient furnace, with a leaky home, will only heat the outdoors better! The whole system needs to be kept in mind.

What makes you different from the typical home energy auditor or contractor?

Most energy audits include a list of recommendations for improvements. With a Vesta consultation, you’ll receive a detailed proposal for actually doing the upgrade work, and how to prioritize it. In addition to offering you much greater convenience, this means we can provide you specific guidance about the cost effectiveness of each possible improvement, so that you can select only those which best meet your needs.

Do you do new construction?

Most homes under construction today will perform well, assuming they are built to code or better. If your home was recently completed, however, and you are surprised at your heating/cooling/water bills, an evaluation by us may reveal areas for improvement.

Do you work in condos/apartments?

We are able to work within an individual unit, but cannot do anything on shared space or equipment (such as shared hallways, ducts, or mechanical systems). Give us a call, and we can probably point you in the right direction.

How much does it cost?

The cost of a Vesta site visit ranges from $200 to $1250 depending on the size, location, and complexity of your home. The cost of the retrofit work varies dramatically, based on the house and your needs, ranging from $2,000 to $20,000 or more. Various incentives may apply.

If you have already had a home energy audit performed by another company, we can provide a retrofit plan for you as a standalone service. We also offer hourly consultation services to homeowners, architects and design/build firms, and remodelers. Please call (206) 919-6770 for details.

How long does it take?

A consultation typically takes 1.5 – 2 hours, depending on the size of your home and number of questions you have. The upgrade work may take as little as a day or as long as a week or more.

How much prep do I have to do?

There are 3 kinds of prep we require to be able to achieve optimal results:

  1. Identifying your priorities: In order to develop the best retrofit plan for your needs, we need your help identifying the issues you wish to address. This can include pinpointing drafts, smells, or rooms that are particularly uncomfortable in winter and/or summer.
  2. Providing access: We need to be able to open all the interior doors, close off the attic/basement, and inspect the mechanical systems and building structure.
  3. Eliminating hazards: Exotic birds must be moved off site if we will be running the blower door (low temperatures can affect a bird’s health); if you have a fireplace, you will need to empty the ashes and close the flue.

My basement/attic is a mess. Does that matter?

As one of our favorite subcontractors likes to say, “we are not the house police!” We are here to help you and your home. For a consultation, we just need decent access to get through the spaces and inspect the structure and mechanical systems. For upgrade work, we will indicate what needs to be moved, both for the protection of your personal items and for our crew’s safety.

How do I sign up?

Call our scheduling team at 206-919-6770 or contact them online and they will be happy to take your information and find a time that works for you. We are typically booking two weeks out, and schedule appointments Monday – Friday.