Kaufman Homes

Energy Saving Heating and Cooling Systems

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Energy Saving Heating and Cooling Systems

NW Natural Gas has a great website on energy saving issues as well as new trends in the building industry.  They are very proactive on presenting new natural gas technologies to save energy.  It is interesting to note that in spite of NW Natural providing ways to save on energy costs, gas prices in Oregon have still decreased 26% in the last 3 years! Below are two articles that I thought were interesting. Please leave comments and let me know what you think as well.

Solar in the Willamette Valley

The article (found here) on Solar Assisted Absorption Chilled Water systems shows the possibilities and yet challenges to solar energy.  While this article talks about a specific application, solar chilling, I thought that it would be important to speak about solar in general. Kaufman Homes does not have any experience in installing any kind of solar energy systems because of our climate and lack of interest. In the sun deprived Willamette Valley, where we do most of our building, solar does not at this time seem to be cost efficient unless government subsidies greatly assists in the cost.  We know subsidies costs all of us taxpayers and in the long run diminishes the value of solar.  I am sure that as technology advances solar will still have a place in helping America solve its energy issues but until technology improves I am not sure that solar will be that viable in the Willamette Valley.

In Floor Radiant Heating

The in floor, radiant, hydronic heating system article (found here), was very well written explaining the merits of liquid delivered heating systems.  Several years ago Kaufman Homes built a home with this type of heating system using lightweight concrete poured over the piping system.  This system was quite costly to initially install but the homeowners have been very happy with the comfort level and the heating efficiency.  There were several issues that were encountered:  if you are gone for an extended period and want to turn down the heat it will take a fairly long time to get the heat back up to a comfort level when you return.  Some of the electronics now available VIA our computers or cell phones can probably solve that situation.  Cooling your home especially where there are extreme high temperatures can be a challenge.  Also the equipment, boilers and pumps were in this case installed in the basement of the home and with the rigid concrete and tile floor,  we had some very slight noise issues in some of the areas.  It was overall an impressive system and as technology advances and placement issues evolve it will surely become more cost effective.

It is very important to hire a heating contractor who has extensive experience installing hydronic type heating systems as they are quite complicated and once installed very difficult to change the results. Kaufman Homes has available, highly qualified heating contractors who can design and install these hydronic heating systems. Please don’t hesitate to call us at 503-370-8390 and we will help you with these needs mentioned above and anything else that you need.

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