The home, dubbed the Edelweiss House, is a demonstration home and thus has more features than an average home would need. For example, it boasts three heating systems with the primary heating source coming from the sun. “The majority of the heating requirement is met by the windows,” Reynolds said. “Our primary heat source would be passive solar gain.”
In addition, a 10-zone hydronic radiant floor distribution system was paired with an electric boiler to eliminate cold floors (even with a R-32 worth of mineral wool under the slab). Finally, a ductless air-to-air heat pump should work when solar doesn’t provide enough heat. “The radiant system will guarantee that the slab will never get icy,” Reynolds said. And with the harsh Canadian winters, the radiant heat will be much appreciated by homeowners who will feel ultimate thermal comfort and superior air quality with Uponor’s radiant system.
With a goal to use the home as a teaching tool, the Edelweiss House includes finishes, materials and fixtures with low environmental impact including low-flow plumbing fixtures, mineral wool insulation (including that used under the slab), a vegetative roof and interior paints and floor adhesives with zero volatile organic compounds.
“The biggest message we are after is not to look at the building-code base requirement as a target to achieve and then just resign yourself to spending tons of money every month to pump heat into your house, “Reynolds said. “People think the payback is going to be 25 years, and it’s not. The payback starts when your neighbor turns on the heat and you don’t.”