Re: Cost of eco building
From: Deborah Mensch (
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2005 21:37:59 -0800 (PST)
At Pleasant Hill Cohousing we were originally planning on in-floor radiant
heating (hydronic, that is, hot water circulating through pipes provides the
heat), but it was changed to baseboard hydronic heating for cost reasons
before construction. It is still very efficient and quiet. The baseboard
units can make it a little challenging when you're deciding where to place
furniture, since putting something like a bed or sofa right over/against
them could make the heat not circulate so well to the rest of the room. We
have been able to deal with this all right; it just took a bit more thought
because of the added constraints. The units are cool enough to touch, so I
don't worry about my baby being able to reach them.

I have been in some houses and school buildings that had in-floor heating.
It was delightful. Your feet are never cold on the floor, and that's
something in the winter! We're in the Bay Area, so the winters aren't
bitter, but it was still very nice when it got near freezing outside.

Now, we have had LOTS of problems with our hydronic heating, which is tied
into the same system as our domestic hot water. It's a complicated system
and prone to problems, and we have had a bundle of them. (It probably
doesn't help that the plumbers working on our construction seem to have made
a lot of errors; but many of the problems have been with the boilers
themselves.) I don't know whether you're considering that kind of tie-in,
but if so, please check out the problems with similar existing systems
carefully. I am willing to discuss specifics off-list if you like.

Deborah Mensch

On 11/12/05, Nancy Baumeister <nancybee [at]> wrote:
> ...
> Do any communities have in floor radiant heating installed? How do the
> costs compare to other sources of heat? And how does the comfort rate?
> We are currently struggling with the decision of whether to go with the
> in-floor heat, or with hydronic baseboard heating, fired by a high
> efficiency gas boiler.... We are in a relatively mild
> climate (the pacific northwest) and there don't seem to be a lot of
> in-floor radiant heat systems installed around town that we could go
> look at. So any information would be welcome.

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