This morning, Michael Lotesto and David Richmond came to my house to give it an energy efficiency test.

Lotesto and Richmond are certified building analysts, environmental consultants, and energy raters. In addition, Richmond is a licensed home inspector and a trainer of energy codes and compliance issues.

So when they tell you that your windows are leaking cold air into your living room, you can believe them.

My house started its life as an 1880s farmhouse, had a first and second floor porch added around 1905, a bathroom not long after that, had the moldings stripped out in a bad 1950s renovation, and then was gutted (by my husband and me) to the bones and added onto in 1999. In other words, it’s had plenty of work done to it in the past 125 years.

And there’s more to do. Because that’s what a house is – work.

But I have to say I was surprised by the thorough investigation — not to mention wacky testing — that Lotesto and Richmond did. They were surprised that my house is as energy-efficient as it is, despite having a crawl space that’s open to the basement.

I’m waiting for my house’s energy-efficiency assessment as we speak. It’s been promised for next week and I’ll write about the experience more fully in my weekly column. But until then, here are some websites that can help get you up to speed on energy efficiency:,,, and Richmond’s site, If you’re looking for Lotesto, try

February 23, 2006