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Advice for my upcoming renovation

SanDiegoDIYer | Posted in General Questions on

We recently bought a house built in 1998 in San Diego (climate zone 3).  It’s a 2 story 2600 sqft home, and we are planning a major renovation this summer.  The house currently has central air with an 30years old furnace, no AC, single pane window, a high vaulted ceiling in living area. I would like the house to be as environmental/green as possible (with cost consideration when possible).  I would love some advice on what I should consider for my renovation.  Here are some of the work I am planning and what are some of my existing consideration.  Any feedback is welcome

Renovation area:
* Remodel/Relocate kitchen to room next door
* Remodel master bathroom
* Replace all flooring
* Replace roofing
* Replace single pane windows with double pane windows
* Install solar system (10kwh)

Green building considerations:
* Going all electric (induction cooktop, oven, heat pump water heater)
* Whole house radiant floor with heat pump and tank. Installing on top of existing slab with a layer of insulation
* Gray water diverter for shower/tub to water garden
* Going to give away my old cabinet and flooring to be re-use
* Will ask contractor to re-use old framing lumber as much as we can (is this wise to do?)

* For radiant floor heating system, how big of a system should I get for the heat pump, do I need to do a heat loss analysis for my house since it’s a mild climate zone?
* Could I get a nice heat pump and use it to power both my radiant floor and the central air system (replace my 30 years old furnace)?  Is it worth the effort or should I rely exclusively on the radiant floor?  But if I do with the floor, I wouldn’t be able to have an effective cooling system?
* I was full steam on the radiant floor idea because I didn’t know about heat pump alternative for furnace, now that I discover  there is a heat pump furnace, I wonder if radiant floor heating is worth it for san diego for the cost?
* What are some good economical and efficient system for radiant floor?   I have looked at warmboard, ecowarm boards, radiantec, and systems
* The house currently has tile, is shingle or tile more efficient or environmental?

Please let me know if there are anything I should consider.  thank you very much

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  1. paul_wiedefeld | | #1

    There are no economical or efficient options for retrofit radiant floors. You could use a air to water heat pump for both cooling and a radiant floor. Will it be worth it? Depends on your priorities. It won’t be more efficient and probably would operate no more than a few degrees above the temperature it was already at, so won’t add much comfort wise.

    Swapping the furnace for an air to air heat pump gets you the environmental benefits for much cheaper.

    You will need a heat loss for sizing, but you can use existing utility bills for that.

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