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Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Jennifer Ettlin!

Jennifer Ettlin (MsKathleen, #7128) has received a certificate of achievement in Cleaning Up for earning an Expert Level Home Insulation Merit Badge!

“We got lucky on this area because we managed to get the attic insulated in mid-to-late June before the summer heat kicked in and before all of the weird natural disasters have been hitting our area. We were severely under-insulated when we had our energy audit, down to an R value of 8 in some areas. None of the attic was insulated to the same level either. So, following an insulation ruler and adding some blown cellulose insulation, we were able to bring it up to an R17 value evenly throughout the attic. It looks like it snowed in our attic.

Our walls have proven to be an interesting addition of insulation, as we are in a Berm- or Earth-contact house. It’s underground like a Hobbit hole, so insulating walls is a bit different than insulating above ground. We still get air drafts and things from the windows and skylights, but with insulation, our big problem is underground humidity. It molds extremely fast in the walls, especially if it’s a higher R value. Luckily, we were able to check the insulation to find we have stiff back-board insulation with mold-resistant barriers built in (it’s a pink sheet of solid fiberglass insulation with two layers of moisture barrier glued to the back and one on the front). This is exceptional for a house that is underground since it means all of our escaping air was going out of the attic … Which now has more insulation. And we were notified today that the power company got our rebate application.

We’re toasty and our energy bill has dropped in half this summer! I’m fairly happy. Our rebate is still under review with the power company, but they have acknowledged that they have it. They’re just having difficulty processing it with all the unusual weather going on in the Kansas/Missouri area (we had the largest flood in our area in the last 40 years just last Thursday), so they said it will be back probably around the end of the month. Three tornado incidents, a flood, and a power outage that knocked out the power for 14,000 people during a super-hot summer have kept them busy.”


  1. Awesome job, Jennifer, congratulations!

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Jennifer, this is outstanding what you have learned and completed!! Talk about a complicated situation to figure out and then solve for the future.

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