Welcome to City-Data.com Forum!
U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Texas > Austin
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 06-21-2012, 10:18 AM
 
319 posts, read 610,794 times
Reputation: 130

Advertisements

They claim to be a semi-custom builder but at the same time I don't want to drive them nuts with lots of requests so I need to prioritize to those that will have the most impact and which are hard to do later. I think it's too late to do anything with the foundation since they started working on it Monday. Framing may be too late, especially since it could significantly impact the design of the home and they're probably starting that soon too. The ones I've asked for already are foam insulation, water heater, AC units, and LED compatible sockets in the main living area. What else should I be considering?

* water heater: they already use AO tank heater so hoping to upgrade to higher end model
* AC units: Comes with two 14 seer Trane AC units. They said 18 seer may be possible. How do I ask about this fresh air thing?
* sockets: Asking for the types of bulbs first to see if LED equivalents exist. Don't know much else here
* picked light colors for exterior

Options I'm debating:
* Fans in attic and garage. Easy to put in later?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 06-21-2012, 10:41 AM
 
2,633 posts, read 6,403,493 times
Reputation: 2887
That's already a pretty efficient water heater, tankless may be your next best option, depending on pricing.

Trane makes a fresh air exchanger that can be added to the system, it's call "Fresh Effects" or something like that - they can likely add it to your system, unless it already is on there (some builders do).

LED equivalents exist for just about every light bulb you'll find in a home - they're spendy, but last forever.

Attic and garage ventilation can be added later, the difficulty will be determined by how the home is framed - I'd ask about this, since it might be easier and cost the same now vs. later. There is some debate on how much good they do in our climate - certainly during the summer it's debatable.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-21-2012, 10:53 AM
 
319 posts, read 610,794 times
Reputation: 130
There seems to be different AO water heaters, ranging from 60% thermal efficiency to 96%. I'm guessing it's the standard 60% one, which isn't all that efficient, no? I'd like to trade up to the 90% or 96%. Should I just let it be?

I'll ask about "Fresh Effects" - nice to know! Last time I looked a year or two ago, LED equivalents only existed for some of the more common bulbs. I was worried that since they dissipate heat in different ways that a socket change might be needed. Should I ask them not to waste their time on this then?

I'll ask about the fans then. Are there any implications for other parts of the home design? How noisy are they?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-21-2012, 04:23 PM
 
Location: Buda
97 posts, read 418,108 times
Reputation: 131
If the builder does let you do the spray foam you will not have to worry with attic fans or ventilation. The whole point of doing spray foam is to seal and insulate the "envelope" of the home. What that means is you get spray foam in all outside walls and the roof. If this is done you don't want to vent the attic because it becomes part of your home and is air conditioned. If the builder fights you on just spray foam in the walls show your claws and fight back like a mad man. Spray foam in the roof is way more important than it is in your walls. The biggest thing you can do as far as energy efficiency goes is seal and insulate the attic.

If you spray foam the envelope of the home you don't want a radiant barrier, you don't want to vent the attic, and you don't want to put insulation on the floor of the attic. All of this will work against the spray foam.

Also make sure your fresh air add on to your A/C is a exchange unit also. You want the cool air leaving the home to be used to help cool the hot air coming in. No point in wasting all the energy used to cool that air to just blow it outside.

If you go with the spray foam you will want to completely rethink the A/C unit. Don't let the builder just put the same A/C unit in your home as they have all the others. The A/C unit tonnage will be way to much and it will work against energy efficiency and make your home drafty. Think big block V-8 in a prius used for stop and go traffic.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-21-2012, 04:58 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,787 posts, read 49,106,539 times
Reputation: 9483
Quote:
Originally Posted by balor123 View Post
There's been a lot of focus on energy efficiency here but little about water use. Any specific suggestions there? I saw a reference to drip irrigation but my lot is only .175 acres so I doubt irrigation is going to be worth bothering about (correct me if I'm wrong). Toilets are already dual flush. What else can I do? Anyone have experience with graywater recycling? I'm more concerned about this since I expect Texas to make little progress in identifying new water sources so the solution is going to have to come from price increases to reduce consumption.
Don't fool yourself. In winter my water usage has been as low as 5100 gallons per month. In summer when watering the yard it is in the range of 15,000 to 20,000 gallons per month, for a .20 acre site with 45% impervious cover. And that is with a concerted effort to water as little as possible but keep my lawn and plants healthy.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-21-2012, 07:06 PM
 
307 posts, read 722,344 times
Reputation: 319
oh, and a pressure regulator valve (installed on the irrigation side of things). We saved a decent amount of money on our water bill because of that - and a rebate from Austin to boot!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-21-2012, 07:50 PM
 
Location: Volcano
12,969 posts, read 28,468,589 times
Reputation: 10760
I'd definitely consider a solar water heater. After the HVAC, the water heater is the biggest energy user in most homes.

And Central Texas is a great location for solar.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-21-2012, 08:05 PM
 
Location: Buda
97 posts, read 418,108 times
Reputation: 131
MARATHON WATER HEATER

http://www.marathonheaters.com/cons_solarapps.html

Great warranty, good energy rating, and no rusty metal.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-21-2012, 08:09 PM
 
319 posts, read 610,794 times
Reputation: 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by OpenD View Post
I'd definitely consider a solar water heater. After the HVAC, the water heater is the biggest energy user in most homes.

And Central Texas is a great location for solar.
Yeah I considered that but it's probably too exotic for a home going up in 4mo.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-21-2012, 08:13 PM
 
Location: Volcano
12,969 posts, read 28,468,589 times
Reputation: 10760
Quote:
Originally Posted by balor123 View Post
Yeah I considered that but it's probably too exotic for a home going up in 4mo.
Why not ask an expert? Personally I think the most exotic thing about it is the 30% tax credit and the $2,000 rebate if you're in Austin Energy area.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Settings
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2022 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Texas > Austin

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2024, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top