Tyler Keniston is pondering design details for an energy efficient home in Climate Zone 6A. He’s thinking of a Pretty Good House—a home that’s energy efficient but not overly fussy—and he’s has run into a design conundrum.
Based on what he’s read at GBA, the ideal design seems to be a house without a full basement and with an unconditioned attic, Keniston writes in this Q&A post. So where does your extra junk go?
“Basements are traditional but arguably not the most cost-effective solution to build a PGH,” he says. “They are a hole in the ground with the requisite water issues, use a lot of concrete, and cost a lot.” A traditional cold attic, insulated at the ceiling plane, is more cost-effective and probably a more robust design than insulating at the roofline.
“All well and good,” Keniston says. “But when it comes time to talk someone into adopting both of these approaches, they might wonder where they are going to put all their ‘extra stuff.’ ”
One approach is to build a bigger house, but in doing so the benefits of using the bonus space inherent with basements and attics are unrealized.
“To be more specific,” he adds, “if the primary goal is to forgo a basement for the aforementioned reasons, might it be sensible to consider insulating the roofline to gain the bonus 1/2 story under the roof? Consider that the structure is wide enough (28 feet by 32 feet) and the roof pitch steep enough (10:12) that the ‘bonus’ attic space would be quite large and livable.”
And that’s the theme for this Q&A Spotlight: attic, basement, or something else?
Jonathan Blaney notes that in addition to problems associated with moisture and either too much or too little heat, basements…