Efficient house components

InsolatedInsolated Posts: 11Registered Users ✭✭
I'm hoping to build a house on land I'm buying. How do I choose appliances, pumps, etc. to make it as efficient as possible? My ideal is to go off-grid, but even if I don't, I'd like to use as little electricity as feasible.

Natural gas is not available. The floorplans are not final yet; for now let's assume the same heated square feet as my current home, about 2200 (4 bed, 2.5 baths).

Below are components and my (limited) thoughts so far.

Septic: Gravity; no pump necessary.
Well: What's the best pump type and approach? I don't know depth yet.
Heating and cooling: Mini-split? Geothermal heat pump (ground loop in pond)? In Columbia, SC, the temperature can range from below freezing in winter to > 100 deg. F in summer.
Hot water: Solar (perhaps with a backup)? Heat pump? Geothermal?
Washer: As efficient a front-loader as I can find.
Dryer: Is a heat-pump dryer acceptably efficient?
Stove: Induction?
Oven, microwave: Would a convection microwave make sense, since the space to heat is smaller than a normal oven?
Fridge: As efficient a regular-size as I can find.
Dishwasher: Can this be more efficient than hand-washing, due to less water use?
Other: What am I missing?

Thank you for your time and thoughts.


  • jonrjonr Posts: 991Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Sounds pretty good with heating/cooling and hot water being the largest.  Super insulate the house.  Think about using a "to water" heat pump, a large water tank and fan coils such that a heating/cooling heat pump can run only during sunlight hours (much more PV friendly).
  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 7,695Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Heating - thermal mass Masonry heater, add in a hot water loop,  or  add 3 for a hydronic heating system.

    New Bosch dishwasher uses only a couple gallons per load, but does suck the electric for superheating the water

    energy star fridge       Dual glazed windows    Window overhangs to shade interior in summer, allow solar heat in winter
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Posts: 4,590Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    If you are serious about minimal usage. Read everything you can get your hands on about a passive solar house. Basic design of a new home, location, structure, windows location, insulation can make a world of difference. under ground or berm structure homes use very little energy for heating and cooling.

    Live in a warm location? Plan to build under existing trees and plan for replacement trees to shade your home. Look at olds designs with dog walks, high ceilings, transoms and double hung windows. We didn't always have air conditioning! 

    Live in a cold location? Plan to do some earth contact on a southern facing slope. With windows that allow for sunlight during low seasonal sun.

    I hang my clothes to dry, but some jobs require more business type attire that might not work. Dishwashers aren't major energy users, if you don't run heat dry or added heat water.

    You obviously have a good idea about major energy users. Things that heat and cool.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, ForkLift battery. Off grid for @13 of last 14 years. 1000 watts being added to current CC, @2700 watts to be added with an additional CC.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 3,757Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    You really need to have a budget amount for the energy system before you build. It is not needed yet but it can help you to find the amount of effort/cost into the passive design to make a choice.
    For instance, a 2 x 6 walled home with the code required insulation/ infiltration and other requirements is hard to beat with a passive design costwise because of the mini-split heat pump.
    I would lose the induction cooking for propane and maybe do both if you have enough storage and source power.
    Offgrid works best when you can control your energy needs in winter storms. I like a user to be able to live well on 4kwh but have the system to produce 60kwh in summer with some form of tracking for long battery life and longer hours off the battery.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
    E-mail [email protected]

  • westbranchwestbranch Posts: 5,038Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    The house in my Avatar has R 40 in the roof/ceiling, R 30 in the double, offset 2x4 walls... and  ICF coated concrete walls that is somewhere about R25+ as 3 1/2 of the 4 walls are below ground level, and vapour barrier plus R10 styrene under the basement floor...
    Off-set walls have the inner framing offset 8 inches to reduce cold air infiltration as well as house wrap under the concrete siding (Allura also called Certainteed)

    In the winter we have to keep a window or 2 cracked in the loft to let some of the wood stove generated heat out...
    In summer we just keep the doors and windows shut if it going to be a scorcher, the 3E triple pane windows on the South side filter/keep the heat out.  South side is shown in avatar.
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge, Hughes1100 Sat Modem
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 3,757Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Scorcher means something very different in South Carrolina Mr. Westbranch.  B)
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
    E-mail [email protected]

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