James Fincher is a builder in Oklahoma who’s leaning toward designs with conditioned attics insulated with spray polyurethane foam.
However, he’s not convinced that a conditioned attic is the best approach in a large home — something, say, in the 4,000 sq. ft. to 5,000 sq. ft. range.
The problem, as he puts it in his Q&A post, is the “sheer volume” of attics in a house this large, and whether the increase in volume will force him to use a bigger HVAC system.
The exchange that follows delves into the merits of conditioned attics — that is, those that are heated and cooled just like the rest of the house — versus unheated attics separated from the rest of the house by a layer of insulation on the attic floor.
That’s the subject of this week’s Q&A Spotlight.
First, reconsider the size of the house
Although the size of the houses that Fincher builds is not directly related to his question, some green building advocates may still wince. Brett Moyer is one of them.
“Since this a green building forum, I think I should say a couple of things,” Moyer writes. “You certainly have the right to build these ridiculously large monstrosities. You certainly have the right to install spray foams and foam sheathings, and place HVAC and ductwork in the attic.
I just hope you aren’t promoting these excessive dwellings as ‘green’ homes, because they are CERTAINLY not green.”
True, reducing the square footage of new houses is one way of reducing energy use while consuming fewer natural resources, both fundamental green-building objectives.
“Build a smaller, better, well detailed house that has more amenities and lower operating costs for…