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    If you were to build today... (14 Posts)

  • Hilly Hilly @ 10:36 AM
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    If you were to build today...

    If you guys were to build today, how would you do it? How would you 'fuel' your system, how would you transfer your heat, and how would you do your air conditioning. I know my mind changes every time I read a new article somewhere. Below are my current local fuel charges and natural gas isn't an option. Electricity could be as high as 17 or even more within the next 5 years (all dependant on a provincially proposed hydro mega project) I'd like to think in a perfect world I'd have radiant heat in-slab and overpours on the wood floors and radiant cooling in the ceilings... but radiant cooling does scare me a little but again this is just my thinking... I'm realistically 2-4 years from building this house that I'll be in for 15-20 years. It's Sunday and I had some downtime so I thought I'd pick the brains of the pro's and see what you guys would do if you were to build for yourself today.
    I have to also be honest I'm all about cutting down the monthly bills too... up front cost vs month to month I'm all about blowing it all up front.

    I must also say I put in a mini-split for cooling and heating sub in my current home and I would totally consider radiant in-floor every where with a mini-split for cooling if people thought that was the best option. Or even in-slab and forced air throughout the rest of the house would be acceptable. Anyway I will stop rambling and see where this ball rolls with the rest of your guys.

    This are my local current prices today.
    Furnace Oil - 103.31
    Electricity - 11.171 ¢ per kWh
    Propane - 69.60
  • Robert O'Brien Robert O'Brien @ 11:06 AM
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    I assume

    I assume you're in Canada and those are per liter prices?
  • Robert O'Brien Robert O'Brien @ 11:17 AM
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    I'd

    build a passive house or at least almost passive.
  • SWEI SWEI @ 11:11 AM
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    Here in our little corner of the US

    A tight envelope with proper siting and passive solar design can cover 80% or more of a building's annual energy requirements.  After that:

    Radiant floors/walls/ceilings (depending on the architectural design) with active solar thermal as the primary heat source and night sky cooling for the summer season.

    100% MUA with an ERV, tempered by massively oversized coils (to make use of the same distribution temperature as the radiant system does.)
  • TonyS TonyS @ 11:34 AM
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    Build the home

    with the best insulation values you can get, that would be 6 inch foam covered with drivit on the outside and a 6inch wall with glass inside. Minimize windows and design roof overhang for passive solar in winter with dark floor for absorption. Lifetime roof shingle and design roof for maximum voltaic panels...asymmetrical roof. Ductless heat pumps sized for heating load, if funds allow..radiant heat with air to water hp(Altherma). a couple of thermal solar panels for hot water. A chimney for a wood stove. A electric car to drive to the bank to cash your check from the electric company each month.
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 12:23 PM
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    I agree- reduce heat loss as much as you can

    so you don't need much heat (or cooling) to begin with. This includes passive design where applicable.

    I think we're coming into an era of unreliable energy supplies. With that in mind, I'd heat with steam. When a steam system shuts off, the radiators and most of the piping drain dry, so there's much less chance of freezing damage.

    Sure, you can use antifreeze in a hot-water system, but that opens up a whole 'nother can of worms......
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    This post was edited by an admin on October 21, 2012 12:25 PM.
  • Paul48 Paul48 @ 1:09 PM
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    Foam

    With a few inches of urethane foam, they turn a huge warehouse into a giant freezer. Foam is the way to go, but do your homework. They are not all alike.Don't overlook ventilation in a super tight structure. I'd go with a standing seam roof.They are perfect for installation of photovoltaeic panels. They have coatings that keep the roof cool, even with the sun beating on it. They have integral solar DHW systems. They'll stand up to hurricane winds, and last 75 to 100 years.If the site allows don't overlook wind energy.You don't have to erect a sixty foot eye-sore to take advantage.There are alternatives.Not too long ago, I stood behind a business in Vermont and watched the raging water in a creek, 20 feet off the backside of the building. I remember thinking, what a shame that it wasn't spinning a generator for that business.That company installs standing seam roofs.
    This post was edited by an admin on October 21, 2012 1:10 PM.
  • TonyS TonyS @ 2:05 PM
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    The problem with foam

    The only problem with the foam Paul is when you have to fish wires. I built my home 21 years ago and in that time I have opened pockets and fished wires for receptacles, wired internet(lol remember that just after we finished they came out with wireless)flat screen tv wires( couldnt let the 5 wire hi def wires hang down the wall) then they invented HDMI. And of course a couple of speaker and surround sound systems. Just keeping up with technology and my wife shifting things around makes foam in the wall a problem.
    On the outside it is great and I dont know how long drivit has been around but it has to be at least 30 years and the buildings that used it still look great.
  • Larry Weingarten Larry Weingarten @ 1:58 PM
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    Have a look at...

    ... the thousand home challenge website, http://thousandhomechallenge.com/  Look at the calculator there and see what you need to do to meet the challenge.  It's so much easier with a new house.  From there, a mini-split (can be driven by PV) or some other relatively easy system might be all you need.

    Some time soon, you can even read up on my house, which is the 13th in North America to meet the challenge.

    Yours,  Larry

    ps.  Here's a link to Affordable Comfort, the sponsor of the 1000 Home Challenge http://www.affordablecomfort.org/
    This post was edited by an admin on October 21, 2012 7:19 PM.
  • TonyS TonyS @ 2:10 PM
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    Im getting a bad link

    to your page.
  • Henry Henry @ 4:04 PM
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    Ultimate heating cooling system

    Here is one that I designed and we installed, for an old friend and contractor. He wanted geothermal but has now admitted that it was a waste of money. There are 23 zones of radiant. We also provided a duct heat exchanger and heat the pool with a titanium heat exchanger. The geothermal provides cooling and some domestic hot water during the summer while in winter mode it heats the air that always circulates in the house. It is the ultimate in comfort in the Great White North.
  • Paul48 Paul48 @ 4:44 PM
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    TonyS

    I agree...fishing wires in any properly insulated wall is a pain. I saw an electrician fishing wires in  a S.I.P. wall. He used a ballbearing and got it red hot, then dropped it at the top of the wall, and took it out at the bottom. There's no easy answer, but planning helps. PVC wire chases help some, but........
  • Gordy Gordy @ 8:13 PM
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    It's all about the

    Envelope first. No matter how you intended to control the interior environment. That will decrease the size of the heat/cooling system. Passive design, and orientation will help if you can find a lot/piece of land that lends itself to it.

    I would put more eggs in the solar hot water basket right now. PV is just to inefficient for the cost right now 18-20% does not cut it. To much area needed to do anything worth using them for in my opinion. Higher efficiencies are possible.

    You can do more with hot water than just DHW...(radiant) heating. Cooling with radiant ceilings.


    Everyone has their theory sometimes you just have to use the tid bits of information to get a whole plan.
  • TonyS TonyS @ 9:39 PM
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    Here is a site

    someone posted awhile ago. It is one of my favorite sites now. I will repost it because it is so informative.
    http://www.buildingscience.com/index_html
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