Several questions about building green (ICF, cold Canadian weather, solar panels, etc)
Just had a few questions related to green building, and I hope someone can help me out with answering my concerns below. Hope to learn as much as I can so I can eventually construct a green building!
EDIT: This is a building I want to construct on an acreage of about 5-10 acres of land, so there would be no city water etc.
(New construction idea I plan on building in future)
1. I like the idea of building a concrete home (ICF potentially), but the temperatures where I live concern me if it is possible to build in concrete while still maintaining decent R-value for ceiling and walls.
2. I would also like to go with a geothermal heat pump system that gives off radiant heat (pre-placed inside of concrete floor slabs).
3. The design I have come up with has a basement finished with rooms, main floor, second floor, and a roof accessed by stairs (the roof would be flat).
Additionally, there is a two car garage attached, but nothing is above or below it in terms of main housing design.
4. The main portions of the roof would be for solar panels, and for summer time use I want to have the ability to have multiple long rectangular planter box’s up there for vegetables, but also the ability to have a nice quiet area for soaking up some sun. There is something about being elevated and in a quiet space that feels great. In addition to the planting, I would also like to have this area for bonsai plants I keep, and it is best to keep them outside away from wild life.
5. The basement floor plan is 1023 sq ft, whereas the main floor plan is 1155 sq ft, the second floor, and the roof follow the same sq ft as the main floor 1155 sq ft. The garage is 24 ft by 24 ft
Some of my concerns:
1. Sufficient insulation from ICF or other concrete alternatives with building. I hope to attain a R-value high enough to be sufficient for the weather I live in for half of the year (winter). The weather here can be quite severe or mild at times during winter, on average the weather is around -20 Celsius or so here, while as the more severe days would be -30 Celsius to -40 Celsius.
2. Can geothermal heat pumps be used to heat radiantly?
3. How effective would solar panels be during a Canadian winter? I think there is a way to calculate grey days, and determine how many panels you would need or estimate, but still curious should a person still hook up to main electricity for back up situations or just go completely green pure panels? I think having a back up is always a great plan especially in my climate where it is kind of essential.
4. I don’t plan on building this myself, but I do like the design I have. How does one go about constructing a green building of this style? Do I contact an architect and have them make official plans based off of my design I presented? Or what route would be best?
5. Another concern I have is finding someone with experience who understands how to build with ICF (if I used that), or finding someone in general who understands about green building.
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