(I'm just getting started, so I've already forgotten what it was that I
didn't want to forget)
- Maximize solar gain via south-facing windows
- Avoid long runs of hot water & recirc pump lines
- Install remote recirc on/off switches (with lamp) at each hot water location
Consider a separate water heater for your master bath or any distant location.
You'll save a lot of money and energy. A 50' recirc line can waste $15 /
month ($40 for many higher priced utilities)
Update on the above-
I initially wired for a switch at every sink so that the recirc pump could
be turned on. There was no way to know if the pump was on or off as
4-way switches are not available with indicator lights.
I installed a microprocessor at the recirc pump location that detects when anyone presses a switch near
a sink. This runs the recirc pump for 15 minutes. This is not an
- Use a GeoThermal heat pump for your heating source. Also called GSHP or
ground source heat pump.
Our largest electrical bill for winter heat was under $40!
Note that as of 2006, there will be a tax credit for GSHP systems that
include a desuperheater.
- Consider installing evacuated tube solar collectors if you will be using
a lot of hot water.
- Make sure all of your wall / windows are well sealed. Don't count on the
- Use high R-factor walls. Use Structural Insulated Panels or equivalent.
(There are many to choose from) We used
Premier and were pleased with
their low cost and quality.
- Design raised heel roof trusses to drastically improve attic insulation.
See figures 12.4 & 12.5 that compares a
conventional truss with a raised heel truss.
Our roof was raised 15" to accommodate this.
- Extra wide soffits (also called cantilevered truss) for extra shade
and rain protection. We used 3'
- Install conduit to a south facing roof for future PV solar. We are
trackers on the hillside below.
- Consider gray water collection for irrigation.
- Plant indigenous plants that won't require watering after they're
- External shades. We like our
Durasol retractable solar screens. If you think you might want
them don't forget to run power (14/3 + ground) to a switch. We
purchased ours from Rainier
recovering ventilator. Homes built without HVAC air handlers
require a source of external air. This device will recover wasted heat
and filter the air in your home.
- Don't lay your radiant floor heating directly on top of or inside of a
concrete slab. Unless you want to heat the earth.
- Seal any holes for wiring, plumbing, etc,. that can allow mice into your
attic, walls, & crawl space. Spend a decent amount of time doing this.
- Consider installing cisterns to collect rain gutter water. Fresh
water isn't plentiful, this area could be in trouble in a short time.
Lots of CAT5 or CAT6 to a media panel
Lots of RJ6 for sat and cable
conduit running through your foundation, just in case. Don't forget to
cap it so critters don't' crawl through.
More conduit photos.
Take pictures of all of your internal wiring and pipes before the walls are
insulated. The insulators covered up a lot of j-boxes.
Seal your plans, otherwise they'll look like
Premier, who supplied our SIP panels, redrew our plans and
sealed them in acrylic.
Make sure your floor is level! Your SIP wall will
arrive prefabricated with windows in place. Any error in the floor
will cause huge errors at the tops of the panels. Builders using
correct for untrue floors during the stick framing. You don't have
If you have a septic, try to locate the tanks where it won't interfere with
Exterior doors facing strong winds should open out.
There's a great internet service in the area,
Nikola Broadband. You should
contact them before your walls are sealed.
Disclaimer: I am a partial owner...