Mod House Design – Canning NS.3

dancing poodles in pink tutusWe’ve felt like there’s a chorus of circus poodles dancing around in our heads as we tapdance our way through the options on how to heat and power our home.

We would LOVE to be off-grid –  meaning our home would not be connected to any utilities and we would generate our own power and heat and not rely on municipal sewer and water.

It turns out that living off-grid is VERY expensive.  But throwing oodles of money into a project will not guarantee a comfortable life-style in a fully autonomous home.  There are trade offs – many trade offs.

We really want to keep things simple and low maintenance and inexpensive.  We want to have a small carbon footprint.  We want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.  We want to have basic comforts during a power failure.  Ideally, we would really love to thumb our noses at Nova Scotia Power, but we simply can’t afford to do it.

So we’ll make concessions and we’ll pull together systems that can work together and work for us.  We’ll go on municipal water and sewer, to keep our building costs lower, but we’ll use low-flow everything.

For now, we’ve determined that we will try to employ the following systems with an aim to meet our objectives of simple, environmentally friendly, affordable to install and low-cost over the long-term.

* Small, square building design, super-insulated, super air-tight, south oriented and minimal windows on north, east and west facades.

* Hydronic in-floor radiant with electric boiler wired to time of day rate (50% off electricity overnight and on weekends) for comfortable, low-cost, low maintenance heatin floor radiant

* Propane range for energy-efficient cooking even during power outages

* Propane space heating stove/fireplace for ambiance, shoulder season heat and heat during power outagesPropare Stove

* Propane on-demand domestic hot water for energy-efficient hot water – a small system for a small space, energy-efficient and operates during power outages

* A few photo voltaic panels to feed electricity back to NS Power.  This will roll back the meter and off-set our electricity costs while producing electricity to for others to usePV Panels

Of course, all this may change as the in-floor heating may prove to be way too much heat for our small, super-insulated home and the photo voltaic panels may prove to be too cost-prohibitive. We’ll be calling on Efficiency Nova Scotia to help with heat loss calculations.

Coming up – final house plans from Architect Vincent, kitchen planning, budgeting with Builder Nick, and, the frosting on MY cupcake, lighting design and fixture selection. 🙂

Until next time,


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