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Looking for feedback on passive solar design and building enclosure

I'd appreciate any and all feedback on this set of plans. We know the house is too large and are planning to work with our architect and possibly an energy modeler to help "shrink" it. I also think we're a little heavy on South-facing windows. Anyway, I would like to hear thoughts from anyone who has some advice for us. I've also attached a recent bid I received on heating and cooling. My goal is to push our heating and cooling needs way down with better insulation, windows, and air-sealing. This bid is WAY over our budget and it seems like overkill. I'd like to have an independent energy model created for us to evaluate the different building enclosure elements.

We are in Omaha, NE. The house is for a family of five. Thanks in advance for your comments.


HVAC quote.pdf47.3 KB
Plans 2011JAN12_Part1.pdf1.73 MB
Plans 2011JAN12_Part2.pdf1.31 MB
Plans 2011JAN12_Part3.pdf1.74 MB
Plans 2011JAN12_Part4.pdf1.07 MB
Plans 2011JAN12_Part5.pdf1.96 MB
Asked by Michael Schonlau
Posted Mar 2, 2011 12:42 AM ET
Edited Mar 2, 2011 12:43 AM ET


3 Answers

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If you are buying a boiler and installing radiant floor tubing in the basement, it doesn't make any sense to heat the upstairs with ductless minisplit heat pumps. Use the boiler for the whole house!

Alternatively, forget the boiler and use ductless minisplits for the whole house.

Answered by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor
Posted Mar 2, 2011 8:12 AM ET


"I'd like to have an independent energy model created for us to evaluate the different building enclosure elements."

Great idea, it will save a lot of money up front and over the years. For example, if you think you have too many south facing windows, the energy model can show you the maximum expected room temperatures.

Answered by Kevin Dickson, MSME
Posted Mar 2, 2011 10:31 AM ET


For starters - fire your architect. Anyone still using 'country blueprint' as their typeface is going to be a horrendous designer.

Answered by mike eliason
Posted Mar 2, 2011 10:50 AM ET

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