A Rural Electric House That Works
A tight building envelope and plenty of insulation mean low energy bills, even for a Minnesota home with electric heat.
Synopsis: The cost of heating houses with electricity is generally high, especially if those houses are in the northern part of the country. This article takes a detailed look at one such house in rural Minnesota that is so tight and well insulated that its heating costs are surprisingly low. Designed by architect Rachel Wagner, the 1950-sq.-ft. house makes use of passive-solar techniques, double-stud construction, R-80 attic insulation, and triple-glazed windows.
When I heard that Rachel Wagner, a Minnesota designer known for her efficient homes, had designed a cold-climate house with electric-resistance heat, I was intrigued. After all, homes with electric heat are usually known for their high fuel bills. When I investigated further, I discovered that the house not only is an energy miser but is also very handsome. Although electric heating systems have a bad reputation, some designers are rethinking their prejudice. A tight, well-insulated house…