Where to Spend Your Money: Superinsulation or a High-Tech Heating System?
Dave W is working up plans for a new house and has come to a fork in the road: Given a limited construction budget, is it better to invest in expensive windows and extra insulation, or a high-efficiency heating system, such as a ground-source heat pump?
How to spend construction dollars wisely is one of the most fundamental questions any homeowner faces. In a perfect world, Dave might invest in both, but it’s probably going to come down to one or the other. Not both.
His dilemma, which he shares in a post at GreenBuildingAdvisor, is the subject of this week’s Q&A Spotlight.
Dave isn’t the first homeowner to gravitate toward a ground-source heat pump. They’re efficient, don’t burn any fuel directly and seem “green” in the best sense of the word. But they’re expensive. And with a tight, well-insulated building envelope, Dave has other, less expensive choices, including ductless minisplit systems that can provide efficient heat at temperatures well below zero.
If you can't have both, which energy-efficiency investment is better to put off until later?