Your money may be seeping out of your house along with your cool air. RetroFITZ, (3939 Prytania St., 250-9487; www.retro-fitz.com) an insulation and weatherization company started by Ryan Fitzmorris in September 2010, offers a variety of solutions to air leaks and other woes that lead to increased utility bills.
"Weatherization means sealing off the building envelope," Fitzmorris says. That entails sealing up air ducts and outlets, wall insulation, employing water heater blankets and similar methods of protecting homes against air leaks. Fitzmorris recommends attics as the number one place to insulate.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, an insulated and weatherized home saves its owners about $437 a year. "Savings would be higher for most New Orleans residents, since utilities tend to be more expensive here," Fitzmorris says.
There are other financial incentives for homeowners to insulate and weatherize their houses. Energy Smart, part of Entergy New Orleans, offers rebates of up to $3,000 for people who improve their home's energy efficiency by at least 30 percent. There is also a federal tax credit available for up to $500 for some alterations.
In addition to offering savings for their customers, RetroFITZ uses environmentally friendly products like cellulose insulation, which is made from recycled newspapers and other paper sources. It is densely packed and chemically treated to withstand fire, mold and insects.
Fitzmorris counts insulation as RetroFITZ's most frequently requested service but also offers spray foam insulation, duct sealing, radiant barriers (which are typically installed in attics to block heat), air infiltration sealing, and residential and commercial energy audit services. When he visits a prospective customer, he explains what measures are currently needed and the benefits of all energy-saving procedures.
RetroFITZ is a New Orleans-based company, and Fitzmorris worked in homes and businesses from Lafayette and to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He occasionally works in conjunction with state-owned companies; the two pass job offers along to each other from time to time. "We try to make it a friendly network," he says. "We want to make it as easy as possible for people to know what's going on so they're not confused or scared."