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Building off of the grid is a bit more expensive than we anticipated. The desire to be isolated, have good views, and have plenty of land are the driving forces, so it is still worth it. It’s just expensive. For about a 2000ft road, we’re getting estimates from large establish companies for around $75,000. That’s for 1750ft of gravel, and 250ft of concrete. Moving the house a bit closer to the main road can shave off $5,000+. Lot placement will be huge in this regard. We’ll also have to balance a road that blends in with the surrounding environment versus just going from point A to point B.
I now have 4 side projects in motion along with personal tasks like finance and communication. For the first time, my go to workspace solution of mission control and spaces doesn’t cut it. Between Xcode, multiple terminal windows running, Photoshop, Mail, Photos, Sketch, and so on I finally felt overwhelmed. It’s time for a new solution.
The image above is our best guess at what we should be targeting. How did we arrive there? First, we started with The Passive House Institute’s initial targets for our climate. In their words, “The PHIUS+ 2015 Passive Building Standard provides the climate-specific sweet spot where aggressive energy and carbon reduction overlap with cost effectiveness. It accounts for a full range of variables including climate zone, source energy, and costs.
After realizing that we may not need a fireplace, we quickly learned that any hole the in the house is bad. That includes dryer vents. This becomes compromise #2 of a passive house. Fortunately, ventless dryers have come a long way and there isn’t too much concern. First, condenser dryers use water, and their biggest knock is that a water tank has to be emptied. Heat pump dryers seem to be preferred since they use less energy and create no moisture, but they do take longer to dry clothes. Head on over to GreeenBuildingAdvisor for more on the topic.
Is there anything more comfortable in a cold environment than sitting around a fireplace? Correct answer: no. So, it really threw us off when we found out fireplaces are not necessary in a passive house, and are somewhat frowned upon. While it looks like there are wood burning stoves that are sealed, we’re more in the market for a “flip a light switch and fire” type of situation. Then, consider that a geothermal unit may be best for heating and cooling in our climate, and the fireplace becomes pure decoration.