Many years ago a family member purchased an old farmhouse in what I would call the far north (Cochrane, Ontario) where the winter can be harsh and the heating season long. Having electric heat the bills were high. The unavailability of other heat sources, like natural gas, required the need to explore options ranging from green energy to more traditional methods. These needed to be both economically viable and fitting with the lifestyle.
The first step was to assess the trade-offs that are particular to the property, fuel availability and affordability, the family lifestyle, as well as the financial implications (both installation costs and on-going fuel costs).
What worked from a capital cost perspective, as well as an operating cost perspective, was a wood furnace. Fuel was accessible and affordable (in this case), as was everything from installation to operations. The family had a ready source of wood, cutting and splitting it was not an issue, and the fuel costs dropped dramatically. This was the right solution.
For others, such a solution may not be appropriate and a completely different system must be developed.
Every circumstance is unique so we must assess each situation individually, evaluate alternatives, and come up with the right solution for each project.
We need to answer the question “What is the right heating solution for you?”
There are many things to consider in this process…
- Capital costs vs. Operating Costs. Do I ensure I have a very efficient shell to reduce my fuel demands on-going?
- Usage of the property. Do you use the property frequently or only occasionally?
- Resale implications. Am I adding value to the project that someone else will equally value?
- Fuel availability and costs. How much work do you want to do? Cut and split wood for an outdoor wood boiler or indoor wood stove? Do I have room to store wood? Or is convenience a more important consideration?
- Do I have geographical restrictions that limit my options? Is a geothermal furnace going to work for me if my lot is mostly rock? How does being on a lake or wet lot help or hinder a geothermal furnace?
- What am I required to do from a building permit perspective?
- Do I want to spend money on blown-in foam insulation? Do I reallocate that money to the Kitchen and Bathroom finishes?
- What are my lighting options? LED – does it work in pot lights? How does it tie in with home automation?
- Is solar an option? Are there other green energy options I should consider?
- How can we use “Smart technology”?
- What are the implications to my foundation choices? Why does this matter?
In today’s world of evolving construction technology and advances in alternative energy, there is an abundance of issues/options to consider when developing the right strategy for you.
We guide our clients through the decision-making process and try to take the confusion out of such an important aspect of any project.
Knowing your lifestyle choices and working with a design and build team that is knowledgeable in heating systems, will not only get you a beautiful home, but a home that is energy efficient and fits you.
We want to ensure you are affordably warm.