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Hi, I’m Erik North, owner and founder of Free Energy Maine.

This blog grew from those questions that I get asked frequently during energy audits. The goal is to answer those questions in (mostly) non-Martian language.

If you want some great discussions between energy pros check out these sites.

Auditors, builders and engineers go 12 rounds discussing the merits of deep energy retrofits, grades of vapor retarders and wall assembly drying capacities AKA serious building geekery:

Building Science – Home to serious building research and Joe Lstiburek, building science’s foremost energy grump.
Green Building Advisor – GBA is a great collection of information and writing on current housing science.
Energy Vanguard – Energy Vanguard has a great audience of energy pros. Check out the comment threads. One note is that they are based out of Georgia and deal with A/C & cooling load issues more than the heating issues we deal with in Maine.

At Energy Auditing Blog, we try take the meat of some of those discussions and answer common homeowner questions in an uncomplicated manner.

I graduated from the Maine State Housing Authority’s Residential Energy Auditor program and the Building Performance Institute’s (BPI) Building Analyst program and am a member of the Maine Association of Building Efficiency Professionals (MABEP).

I’m also fortunate enough to have been a guest blogger at Green Building Advisor and participate in the monthly discussion group at Maine Green Building Supply, home of the Pretty Good House.

Free Energy Maine is based out of the Southern Maine which means I run into a lot of old and poorly insulated houses. I’ve performed hundreds of house energy audits and answered thousands of homeowner questions about insulation, heating systems, ventilation and weatherization.

My life long passion about energy and efficiency has coalesced into a simple belief:

Why pay for wasted energy when you can use less and save money?

In other words: The best bill is one you don’t have to pay.

Contact Us:

Free Energy Maine, LLC
Erik North, owner
PO Box 1247
Westbrook, Maine 04098

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Dee Barrows September 4, 2011 at 12:46 pm

My husband and I are interested in getting an energy audit to qualify for a PACE loan, and to understand what options are available… We’re in Westbrook, and see that you are too…


Blake Davis November 20, 2013 at 5:19 pm

I bought an 1850 farmhouse last year in Kennebunkport that has been in need of some TLC. My wife and I put a french drain along the back foundation and tuck pointed any holes in the rubble foundation two months ago. I am now attacking the basement. The past owners had insulated the basement ceiling improperly (vapor barrier down) which I have removed (along with a lot of mouse turd). What are your thoughts of putting new insulation back on the basement ceiling versus insulating the interior rubble foundation?



Chad June 2, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Foam The Rubble. Is there a furnace or boiler in the basement? Water pipes? The basements in Maine are usually inside and should be insulated as such.


glennn January 9, 2014 at 6:32 pm


My 1949 cape cod style house in Pennsylvania is completely framed in Block – there is block up to the peak. There is Brick on the outside. The block in the basement is wider, then there is a ‘shelf’ where the blocks change and the main floor is supported.

The basement is fairly dry, with an occasional trickle of water that goes right into a basement drain (during extreme monsoon/rain). The basement floor is concrete, and the house has all hardwood floors. The basement is also the most constant temperature place in our house – it pretty much stays around 70ish year round, when it’s cold or hot on the ground level, it’s decent in the basement. We have an oil burner/hot water heat system with pipes that go around the perimeter of the house.

I would like the basement to be more finished (not like a full extension of a fancy house) but less dusty (particles falling from kids jumping upstairs) storage, and more decent workbench type area. There is nothing but beams and pipes and electric etc currently on the ceiling.

I am wondering if anything on the ceiling would help cold hardwood floors above too? (drop ceiling, paneling, foam board, with or without additional insulation?)

Would I put something above or below the heating pipes for a ceiling? (Let the heat pipes radiate in the basement, or in the floor beams?)

Since the whole house is Block, there essentially is no sill plate for a capillary break – so I really can’t control whole house dampness when there is extreme and elongated weather?

What are you recommendations for walls and ceilings in my situation?

Thank you


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