Your best savings tricks for new construction?

design219August 22, 2004

I am about a month away from breaking ground in south eastern Kentucky. The house is a passive solar design using Thermocore SIPS, geothermal heating/cooling, a high efficency wood stove and looking to use all energy star appliances. Energy efficiency was on our list, but not a top priority when we gave our wish list to the architect (who, it turned out, was a passive solar specialist).

Now I'm fascinated with the idea of being as enegy conservative as possible/reasonable. Any additional suggestions or tricks we should consider before we start?

I've wondered about some method of retreving heat from shower and bath drains in the winter. Also considering some point of use hot water heating to supplement our geothermal water heating. We will have propane for our gas stove, so could use for water heating.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Maybe not a biggie, but in case you haven't already; consider one ( or perhaps several ) "light tubes" . . such as Solatube. Not only do they let in the "perfect" spectrum of light; but they do it without the usual heat gain. They can certainly brighten up an otherwise dark hallway or such and preclude the need for lights during daytime. By using a diffuser where it enters living space; they disperse the light very nicely. Get the benefits of a skylight without the drawbacks . . . .

I'll also toss out the idea of metal roofing . . . holds FAR less heat in the summer . . . making it easier to maintain reasonable temps indoors. It is also fast and will outlast YOU. When it's done for many years from now; it is easily and readily recyclable. Choice of colors / patterns can very easily make a dramatic difference in the apperance of your place as well.

I would think that ALL you fixtures will be fluorescents .. . if not it's worth doing; literally it pays for itself . .. not only in lighting costs; but also far less heat generated which again eases maintaining reasonable indoor temps. I'll also suggest a reasonable bath fan ... I really like the Panasonic I got. . .. VERY quiet, moves lots of air, and uses 1/3 energy of an essentially similar Broan I looked at. The Panasonics also come with fluorescent built in.

Good luck with your endeavor . . .. .


    Bookmark   August 23, 2004 at 6:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We are doing a metal roof, possibly white. We also looked at the solatube, but our house design actually lets south light into almost every room. Still might be useful. My wife and I want a bright house. And yes, most lighting will be fluorescent, although, I want to find out more about L.E.D.'s that I saw reference to in another thread. I had not thought about the fans yet.

Thanks! Just the kind of suggestions I was looking for.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2004 at 7:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here is a link for a heat recovery for use in bath/shower drains. From what I can make of them they seem to work best when taking showers, as you need water moving in both directions to gain anything (preheat your incoming cold with grey warm water)


Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   August 23, 2004 at 3:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This looks interesting. I was imagining something like a shower drain pipe going through some thermal mass like the concrete slab to transfer heat into the house, with a manual valve to divert in the summer, but this would be advantageous year around. Thanks for the link!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2004 at 5:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

First, orient your house to get the most out of the sun and to give you air flow. Use ceiling fans and put one in the stairwell to move the air.

Get an attic fan to move air out in the summer. Insulate well and insulate the electric outlets.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2004 at 1:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, our design is getting the most out of the winter sun and Thermocore is extremely well insulated. I've also been asked to consider white for the color of the metal roof, but not completely sure about the how that is going to look yet.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2004 at 8:36PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Solar Panel on Shed, Standalone?
I have a small shed, like 10' x 12'. It is about 30'...
Enviro M55 cast iron free standing pellet stove
Anyone have any feedback on the newer units that have...
Can solatubes go horizontal?
We just redid I our house and I am depressed at how...
solar pods?? is it worth it?
first that I remember saw mentioned in "Farm Show"...
Energy usage has increased since net metering installed
My electricity energy usage had never exceeded 700kw...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™