Living lightly

From the start, we intended to have an air-to-air heat exchanger in our new home. Regular exchange of inside (stale) air with outside (fresh) air is necessary in any building to maintain good air quality. Bringing in some fresh air and exhausting moisture, odors, and gasses that accumulate minimizes problems with moisture and maintains good air quality, without opening a window. This transfer of air between inside and outside causes a loss of heat in cool weather and an increase of temperature during warmer weather and affects the inside temperature.

Recently, the low outside temperature was 12 degrees and the high temperature for several days was in the 20s. Prompted by these frigid temperatures, I looked at the variation of inside temperature throughout the day. The heating control system in our house allows us to create graphs of zone temperature values, so examined these to see what I could learn.

We wanted to do what we could to lessen our reliance on non-renewable energy so we installed solar assists, both for hot water heating and electricity.

When Maura and I dreamed about our house-to-be years ago,, we though of engaging local craftsmen and managing the construction project ourselves. We read books by contractors and learned about all steps and the paperwork that is necessary. We knew that the sum of our experiences would help us be successful in a project as complex as building a house.

We designed our house to include multiple energy saving features in addition to tapping into solar energy. One of these features is a central heating system that heats an area only when we intend to be in that area.