RE: central heating & BTU's
From: Susan Sweitzer (
Date: Sat, 4 Feb 2006 06:13:27 -0800 (PST)
Cobb Hill Co-housing in Vermont has a single, wood fired, central heat source
for all 23 units (1400 to 1800sqft each).  It originally provided DHW (domestic
hot water) although most homes have since retrofitted that for solar DHW now.
The source is a Garn ( ).  If you want
data, we've got data; on BTUs, on wood used, on sunny day BTU usage vs cloudy
day etc.  If you could send me your personal email address I will put you in
touch with the data person here and you can analyze/compare to your heart's

The usual way to figure your BTU needs is by having an engineer develop heat
loss calculations for your homes based on insulation, window ratings and blower
door tests etc. Then they give you a needed-BTU number for a worse case scenario
(I think our maximum BTU need was calculated for minus 23 degrees, at night,
with all rooms in all homes heating to 70 degrees).  We actually had blower door
tests done on our houses once they were complete and found our average to be in
the 200-300 CFM50 range.  The blower door test can usually be done by a group
connected to energy star ratings in your state and it tells you how well sealed
your homes are.  Ours are very tight and super insulated with triple pane
windows.  We find that we loose a lot of heat in the underground lines from the
heat unit to the homes, even though we use Ecoflex insulated lines.  At any
rate, probably more than anyone wants to know.  Good luck with the whole thing. 

Susan Sweitzer
Cobb Hill Co-housing
3 Linden Road
Hartland, VT 05048

-----Original Message-----
From: kshute1 [at] [mailto:kshute1 [at]] 
Sent: Friday, February 03, 2006 8:16 AM
To: Cohousing-L
Subject: [C-L]_ central heating & BTU's

Hello Greater Community
Are there any completed cohousing communities that have individual units 
with A central heating system/plant for all units? If so, what is the BTU rating

on your heat plant? And is it for just heat or heat and hot water? Thanks!

Kim Shute, Mosaic Commons, Berlin, MA

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