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The ultimate new build

Post in 'The Green Room' started by willyswagon, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. willyswagon

    willyswagon Burning Hunk

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    I have always dreamed of what I would build if I had the $$ or the time.
    I have been thinking ICF or the double wall system used in Europe.

    Well this house just told me which way I'd go.
    If it doesn't storm I may drive the 400km to go view it. I mean $10 a month for heat,WOW
    It is the most effiecent home in New Brunswick and recieved the best air leakage test in Canada!

    http://www.nauglerhouse.com/
    Laszlo likes this.

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  2. PassionForFire&Water

    PassionForFire&Water Minister of Fire

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    I agree. I would do the same. Build a Passive House.
    Any idea about the cost?

    http://www.passivehouse.ca/
    http://www.passivehouse.us/passiveHouse/PHIUSHome.html
  3. willyswagon

    willyswagon Burning Hunk

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    Since it is near impossible to do changes to an existing home to make it more passively effiecent.
    I went the active route with DHW and air to air panels
  4. PassionForFire&Water

    PassionForFire&Water Minister of Fire

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  5. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Does anyone know of a build cost comparison of a standard built home vs. highly energy efficient (including passive) homes?

    It would be interesting to compare something like a standard 1800SQFT home to a passive build (or ICF, etc.)
  6. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    I havent seen any good side by side comparisons that are unbiased. One hassle would be establishing the base spec as different areas require different standard building techniques. The other issue is the siting. Generally a low energy house is sited to optimize the passive solar aspects. Unfortunately in the real world, many houses are constrained to 100 x 100 lots that dont face south and have tree cover to the east and west. The other issue is homeowner involvement, on sunny days while I am home, I can open insulated blinds and even my front door (with a full length glass storm door on the outside on a 0 degree day and get signficant passive gain when the sun is out. Unfortunately if I work late or forget to close the door I lose a lot of heat quickly. Sure this can be automated somewhat for more money but it would be hard to make a comparson between a building where the owner actively wanted to conserve power versus one that didnt

    Many years ago Richard Hill at the University of Maine did a controlled experiment to compare building techniques . They built several "outhouses" as he referred to them and set them equally spaced in a field. They all had the same square footage and wind and solar exposure (I dont think they had windows). The instrumentation was basically a watt meter for each outhouse hooked up to a resistance heater inside of each building. The outhouse with the lowest consumption won. I unfortunately do not have access to the report and I expect it would be outdated but that is the type of experiment that would have to be done to really make comparisions. (I do remember that one conclusion was that even modern splined type log cabins performed poorly).
  7. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree and it surprises me that it hasn't been done. That could be some really handy info to have.
  8. PassionForFire&Water

    PassionForFire&Water Minister of Fire

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  9. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I am noticing a trend for all these super efficient homes. Two story. That sucks, cuz I will never own another two story home unless we can reverse the aging process.
  10. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Multi story homes have a smaller external surface area to usable interior space ratio than single story homes, hence this trend.

    Same holds true for conventional construction. Ranches are the least energy efficient configuration generally.
  11. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I know this to be true (thats why all the old farm houses were two story), but my retirement home will be on a single level.
  12. bmblank

    bmblank Minister of Fire

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    I can't imagine a single story ranch with a finished basement being any less efficient than 2 story with no basement. In fact i would venture to guess it'd be more efficient per sq ft as long as your counting the basement as livable.
  13. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    You assume a single story ranch has a basement. They don't always and it is certainly uncommon in my region.

    I do believe that farmhouses used multiple stories for reasons other than energy efficiency. It was a way to reduce construction cost. Less roof, and less exterior skin per SF. Exterior skin is expensive.
  14. bmblank

    bmblank Minister of Fire

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    Don't i know it.
    In my area its uncommon not to have a basement. Only ones that don't are trailers, probably 50% of the double wides and houses in swampland.
  15. GaryGary

    GaryGary Feeling the Heat

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    I'm not so sure it makes a lot of difference.

    Just as a rough idea, a 1600 sf single level square house would be 40 ft by 40 ft, and with 10 ft high walls would have 1600 sf of roof and 1600 sf of wall for a total of 3200 sf of surface area exposed to the weather.

    A 2 story house with the same floor area would be 28.3 ft by 28.3 ft (800 sf per floor) and would be 20 ft tall. The roof area would be 800 sf and the wall area would be 2264 sf for a total of 3064 sf.

    So, the two story has about 4% less total outside surface area, but the gain is all in the roof -- the wall surface area is actually larger for the 2 story. For insulating, its a lot easier (and less costly) to insulate the roof to high R values than the walls. A roof with raised heel trusses can cheaply do R60 with blown in cellulose.

    You also lose some area due to the stairway.

    Maybe I'm missing something?

    Gary
  16. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    The biggest reason two storeys perform better on a per sq/ft basis is that you are taking advantage of what heat wants to do naturally = rise. You are able to heat the second storey with very little extra energy input. You also gain more advantage from the latent heat sources in the basement & first floor as the heat from them also rises. Physics/theromdynamics win everytime.
  17. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Deep Energy Retrofits (like the BioWIN house) are usually a 6 figure price tag, and get energy consumption down 30-70%. Hard to make the economics work in any case at a price >$100k. Of course many retrofitters can get close to that (up to 50% reduction on old construction) on <$10k budget, which makes a lot more sense.
    willyswagon likes this.
  18. GaryGary

    GaryGary Feeling the Heat

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    I suppose there may be something to that, but on the other hand, I've never seen a home heat loss method that differentiated between 1 and 2 story homes. All the ones I know just go by how much surface area there is that faces the outside and what R value it has.

    Gary
    woodgeek likes this.
  19. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    Wow, 16" of cellulose in the walls of this place, that's better than most attics. 12" of foam outside the basement walls. Think it said 4" foam below the slab and 5" above it. These folks are Serious!!
    The walls are really interesting. I hadn't seen that kind of construction before (2x6, 2x4 double wall with a 7" OSB Spacer).
    I would love to do something similar. I'm also curious about the cost.
  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I think you can get better ROI by scaling back these levels of insulation unless you have very deep pockets.
  21. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    Agreed. Our methods of doing these critical calculations are long overdue for an upgrade. We are far more prone to take a rough estimate than to calculate all the factors & in the end we are happy to throw more than enough horsepower at it, so no one complains about it being too cold....ever. I dont think it's a stretch to say that over 90% of structures have way too much heating capacity in the mech. rm. No call backs & everyone is happy right. We need to up our game. It's 2013 & we are still doing heatloss calcs like we did in 1813.....rule of thumb + a % to make sure no callbacks occur & all is good. Things have changed a bit in those 200 years, time we did too.
  22. willyswagon

    willyswagon Burning Hunk

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    I agree, thats why I spent $4500 on an active DHW collection system, and $1500 on an Air to Air system.
    The DHW system paid for it self in 5yrs due to the fact that we have company here most of the summer. When you go through 8 showers a day, 3 loads of laundry, and two loads in the dish washer, you can go through a pile of hot water.

    I have tightened my house up by getting the rim joists sprayed, increased attic insulation to R52, replaced all windows with Low E Argon.


    I always think of the payback. I was going through, about $3000 for my oil heat. With my projected wood bill of around $600 per yr, I will pay off the boiler install in just under 5 yrs

    I would love to have an efficent tight home that I could heat with a candle, but I do not. So I will settle with a semi tight 45 yr old home that I can heat and provide DHW for for around 5.5 cords of hardwood($600). I can not justify spending 10s of thousands of $$ in order to reduce my heating costs from $600 down to $300.

    I am no bean counter but the math does not work in my situation.

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