Posted by:

John Starr

Super Insulated

 
What You Need to Know

Description:

House basement is insulated to R30 in the walls and under the floor, and the upper floors and ceiling are insulated to R-60. Insulation is on the outside of the concrete so the basement walls and floor act as thermal mass. Most of the glazing is on the south side.

Other Benefits:

Low heating costs, house that stays warm by itself on a sunny day, and a house that stays cool in the summer if you keep it closed up.

Maintenance Requirements:

No moving parts. No maintenance. After 30 years some of the internal parts of the wood stove needed to be replaced.

Efficiency or Sustainability Improvements:

1. Added drainback solar hot water system recently. It has reduced water heating costs by 60%, and is now providing some space heating via radiant tubing in the basement floor 2. Added 11KW PV array to roof this year. No annual figures yet, but all summer the meter has been going backwards.

My Motivation:

Solar Hot water: reduce energy bill; get good figures on actual savings in my microclimate. PV: Price finally got down to where this might break even; develop good numbers on actual generation in my microclimate.

Advice:

A well insulated house will save you money over time, and needs no maintenance. You do need to install a heat recovery ventilator if you get the house tighter than 5 air changes per hour at 50 pascals, and you ought to be able to achieve < 3 ACH50 with very little effort.

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