Building a New High-Performance House in Massachusetts
Noah Kaput and his wife are well on their way to developing plans for a new house in Massachusetts. The slab-on-grade building will feature radiant floor heat on both the first and second floors, double-stud wall construction to minimize thermal bridging in exterior walls, and a propane-fired water heater.
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As Kaput writes in a Q&A post at GreenBuildingAdvisor, he’s throwing this out for comment before they get started and, he adds, “royally screw this up.”
And comments he gets.
Despite the appeal of radiant-floor heating systems, GBA senior editor Martin Holladay is the first to suggest he consider something else. In-floor hydronic heat is expensive, and with a thermal envelope as effective as the one Kaput is planning it won’t be necessary. Besides, he says, if the house has been designed correctly, the floors won’t be any warmer than room temperature.
Kaput also gets advice on his choice of fuel (that’s expensive, too), how best to build double-stud exterior walls, and what kind of insulation he should consider.
That’s the subject of this week’s Q&A Spotlight.