When I designed this house I had the advantage of living next door for a few years before I started doodling floor plans. I tried the make the house very Energy Efficient starting with designing the house as close to a square as I could which gives you the maximum interior space to exterior wall ratio, and I made them six inches thick instead of four to be able to get a higher R-Value. I had an energy audit of my drawings before I Applied for my permits and they seemed confidant I only needed a 3.5 ton unit for the main floor and a 1.5 for the guest suite since I didn't expect it to get much use and whether hot or cold two hours after you show up on my doorstep unannounced and I run up to kick them on it's pretty cozy up there.
The Attic also in principle has R-60 but its not spread out very well. I couldn't find anyone to help me so I had two huge bundles of the stuff and the blower machine, snuck the hundred foot blower line up there through the eave and then tied it high on the rafters. After a few tries I came up with a system of staring in the far corner blowing in ten bags, the going back up in the attic moving the hose about ten feet and another ten bags and so on until I went through the hundred some bails I bought on sale of course.
This left me with a bunch of mounds and I then went up there with a broom and a mask and spread it all out as even as I could being sure to leave the walkways I have to get around up there uncovered. I insulated under them with fiberglass batts as I went since I didn't want any voids knocking down my R-Value.
Step 1: Blowable Innsulation Is Hard to Do Solo
Step 2: Collecting the Winter Sunlight But Still Shaded in Summer
Pyramids have always fascinated me.
Step 3: Whole House Fan and Woodburner
I used R-30 between the floor joists of the main floor then sheet rocked the garage workshop and safe room but the crawl space insulation is still exposed. I want a vapor barrier to put over it and I am thinking I will use house wrap to do this since it will not break down and crumble like 6 mil plastic does as the years pass. If I am going to do something I try and make it so it will outlast me cause I'm sure one day I won't have the freedom and ability to climb up a ladder or crawl about down there to fix things but the best laid plans...
I've been doing a study for the last two weeks of the house temp and with highs in the low 80's and lows of 50 or 60 we have had I was able to maintain the houses temperature between 74 and 78 degrees by simply running my whole house fan with the two windows on the top floor opened at night or lighting a fire in the woodburner. If it was supposed to be an especially warm day I'd leave the fan on all day. 78 degrees is roasting in the summer for inside the house but feels so good this time of year and my furnace has not kicked on once during this time nor has my AC unit. The whole house fan is installed in the stairway ceiling so you can't see it since my wife long ago absolutely forbade me from putting such device as this attic fan in because she can't have the windows open cause of allergies or it being to hot or two cold...
Step 4: Direct the Air From the Fan in an Efficient Manner
Step 5: Block Radiant Heat From Reaching Ceilings Below Attic Space
But and this was supposed to be a short post and I am so easily called away for two weeks I have kept the house within a 6 degree range of a comfortable temp using just an attic fan with a half horsepower motor, by getting a good fire going on any night it was expected to be in the 50's then cramming it full of junk mail old newspapers and anything else burnable but destined for the trash. I also flipped the vent redirect thing on the drier exhaust so it sends the warm humid air into the laundry room and then is sent down the hall, and I'm doing the laundry and drying at night to warm the place up.
It's going down to 28 here tonight and I have the furnace turned off manually. I have an electric radiant room heater in the bedroom turned off but if the wife decides at 4 AM she is cold I can fix that by just flipping a switch and shutting the bedroom door since the master bedroom and bath is insulated on all sides in case we have a bad hurricane and lose power for a month a window unit will keep this room cool and I can run it from my 5000 watt generator. If we have a storm then cold weather the computer room can be heated from the wood burner and is actually an emergency extra bedroom where some days if I've been up all night helping wife I have been known to seek sanctuary back there and take a nap during the day when her caregivers are here.
This will be a good test of the insulation hopefully but I won't really know until I wake up tomorrow morning.
Last Monday night the Thermostat read 80 degrees and the thermometer read 78 and we had an expected low, which we reached of 28..
Step 6: Sink or Swim Time
I haven't lived here long enough yet to compare power bills from last winter but I am betting that it drops by a hundred dollars power being about ten cents a kilowatt compared to the summer power bills.
I am tempted to ask the neighbors to get me a print out of their last years power usage in kilowatts since we built that one and I know how it was insulated. My wife complains the power bill is so high each month and that I promised her an energy efficient house but power has more than doubled here since we sold the house next door. It's about 2800 square feet heated and cooled versus about 5000 square feet heated and cooled in this house plus the pool and I'd be willing to bet our kilowatt usage is just slightly more than theirs is.
The next morning the house was 70 degrees.
Outside it was 28 and the cars had frosted windshields.
Victory is Mine!