We wanted to build an energy efficient house to live more sustainably i.e financially the idea of paying out higher and higher energy bills wasn’t looking good into our retirement, we have always supported environmentally friendly or reduced waste of resources, and finally the ideal of working with nature was very appealing.
Who are we and where do we live?
We are a normal middle class couple with grown children who live in Prince Edward Island, Canada www.tourismpei.ca
When did we build the house and describe the process? The house is relatively new – we moved in July of 2012. The process however started in November of 2011 when we contacted an architect to help us design our dream house. We put our house on the market and basically the price we expected to obtain from the sale of the house was the budget for our new house. The budget really determined our plans as we started with starry eyes and by the end were very pragmatic. We invested in the infrastructure such as steel roof (lasts twice as long as shingles and more environmentally friendly), triple paned windows for more insulated value, ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms) for the foundation for high insulative value/thermal mass, and polished concrete floors to hold the heat. Using the architect to do site evaluation and wind/solar strategy was a tremendous help in where we placed the house and included earth berming on west/north sides. We did end up dropping a number of great features like butterfly roof, carport, renewables etc. to meet budget but can add most of them later on. The planning process with the architect was the starting point and then working with a contractor was equally valuable as they see a different part of the process especially for budget, so a few items where changed at that stage too. When finished with a one floor, on slab, 3 bedroom, 1 bath 1218 square foot house. The complete process is outlined in the book Building a Passive Solar House: My Experience Shared. http://amzn.com/0988033356 (Kindle and Print)
What are the benefits of an energy efficient home?
We have limited mechanical devices – no furnance, no infloor heating or geothermal. We do have a HVAC for ventilation and air quality, an electric hot water heater (eventually it will be solar hot water) and water pump. The benefit here is lower energy costs, limited maintenance costs, and a more sustainable energy solution to heating our house.
We used solatubes in our back hall way and bathroom as there are no windows there – they provide light but no heat loss. They are so bright most people look for the switch to turn them off, even on a cloudy day. Again they are non-mechanical and low maintenance.
Our ICF - Insulated Concrete forms provide all kinds of benefits www.nudura.com will list them but basically they provide thermal mass, up to 50 R value, reduce noise, withstand hurricane winds, durable, and are mold resistant.
House Tour Video http://youtu.be/33IWs4H3kL4
Author Bio: http://amazon.com/author/traceyallen