An efficient home means a smaller, less expensive conditioning system.
Synopsis: Although manufacturers have designed complex HVAC equipment to increase energy efficiency and give homeowners more control, it’s much easier to combine a simple HVAC system with a tight building envelope. A properly air-sealed and insulated house can itself be the primary heating and cooling system, requiring only modest-size mechanicals. In addition to explaining the benefits of this approach, engineer Jordan Goldman profiles four mechanical options for a tight house: ductless air-source heat pump, ducted air-source heat pump, combination heat-and-hot-water tank, and condensing boiler with indirect hot water.
Today’s HVAC systems are increasingly complex. Manufacturers have designed them this way to improve energy performance and to provide better control over the indoor temperature throughout a house. But it’s actually much easier to couple a simple HVAC system with a tight building envelope. Improving the envelope first and then designing an HVAC system to match leads to substantially smaller and…