Energy-Efficient Updates for a First-Time Homeowner

We’re helping first-time homeowner Abby Scioneaux with some projects to improve both the appearance and the efficiency of her home.

She is the South Alabama Regional Manager of Make-A-Wish, which grants wishes for children with critical illnesses. You can donate to her current campaign here.


The new energy-efficient heating and cooling unit from American Standard Heating and Air Conditioning will pay dividends for years to come. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

New HVAC System

Abby’s heating and cooling system isn’t the newest so it’s not running as efficiently as the house needs it to be. 

Since installing Heating and Cooling equipment isn’t a DIY project, Abby meets with an HVAC contractor to figure out what the best solution is for her home. He recommends American Standard’s True Variable Speed System for Abby’s home. 

A variable speed system allows the system to ramp up or ramp down to where it’s not just regulating temperature, but it’s also able to help regulate the humidity in the home as well.


Having enough insulation in your attic is one of the best ways to save energy on both heating and cooling your home. Here, we installed Rockwool, a fire-resistant insulation that’s made of stone wool. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Add Insulation

The existing insulation in Abby’s attic only amounts to about R-15, so we’re adding R-30 batts from Rockwool Insulation on top of that will provide her enough insulation to really maximize her new heating and cooling system. 


Transform the look of countertops in just one weekend with the LuxROCK Solid Surface Granite Countertop Kit from Daich Coatings. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Resurface Countertops

Abby’s white laminate countertops blend in with the cabinets and stain easily.

You can paint laminate countertops, but we’re going to do something extra special, resurfacing them with the LuxROCK Solid Surface Granite Countertop Kit

Close up of Luxrock stone coated countertop in platinum white
LuxROCK stone surface contains real stone, so it looks and performs just like real granite. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

This kit, seen in Platinum White, includes all you need to resurface a countertop in just one weekend — a prime coat, stone coat, clear epoxy and a clear coat finish.

For a detailed guide on how to do this, watch How to Resurface Laminate Countertops (And More!)


Want a kitchen backsplash? Skip the mortar and use SimpleMat from Custom Building Products. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Install Kitchen Backsplash

To dress up Abby’s plain kitchen, we’re adding a tile backsplash using SimpleMat from Custom Building Products.

White and gray SimpleMat backsplash by Custom Building Products
Installing the long tiles vertically makes the narrow space between the countertop and cabinet appear taller. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

It’s basically a double-sided sticker. First, you apply SimpleMat to the wall. Then, remove the adhesive front and apply tiles to the SimpleMat. After that, grout the tiles and remove the excess.

You can learn more about the process in our how-to video.

We also: 

  • Added Duck Brand weatherstripping and door bottom to the front door.
  • Insulted back windows with Duck Brand Max Strength Window Kit.
  • Fixed running toilet with Fluidmaster Everything Kit. 

Today's Homeowner TV host Danny Lipford and cohost Chelsea Lipford Wolf pose with new homeowner Abby
Today’s Homeowner TV host Danny Lipford and cohost Chelsea Lipford Wolf pose with new homeowner Abby. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Post-Production Thoughts

As a first-time homeowner, Abby seems to have a good handle on the need to balance her attention between improvement projects that look nice and those that improve the function and efficiency of her home. 

Investing in a new heat and cooling system to improve her home’s efficiency was a smart move that will pay dividends for years to come. And the insulation and weatherization improvements we made should help maximize those energy savings. 

Now giving Abby’s old kitchen a facelift with a new backsplash and countertop may not save any money, but it certainly seems to have given her a boost of confidence and satisfaction.


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