Question

What are the pros and cons of electric cove radiant heating for our home in terms of efficiency, safety, and reliability?

Asked by Shelly
Manhattan Beach, CA

We are purchasing a "fixer" home and want to make good environmental and economic choices for our remodel. The home is from 1942 and was last remodeled in the '50s. It's a one-level ranch-style home, approximately 3,000 sq. ft. We are looking at the wall-mount cove radiant heaters and want an outside opinion.

Answer

Cooling and heating your building costs you up to 60% -- or more -- of every month's electric bill. Why would you invest in an energy-sucking heating solution if you can eliminate the heating and cooling portion of your electric bill forever, and cool and heat your home with solar energy?

Solar energy systems typically have a high initial cost and extremely low operating costs. To reduce the high initial costs, we recommend you remodel your "fixer" home to the passive house standard, which requires sound insulation, high quality windows, high air-tightness and heat recovery from exhaust air. More information about the German Passive House Technology can be found at The Passive House Institute U.S.

To heat a space with solar energy is a very obvious and affordable solution. Water, which is a much more efficient heat transfer medium than air, gets heated in tube collectors on the roof and transported to your space. Solar cooling is a brilliant solution because the highest heat load during the day occurs during the highest solar heat gain. Therefore the most energy can be harvested from the sun at times of greatest demand.

SETIS, the strategic energy technology plan information system of the European Commission describes the application of single family house combi-systems that deliver both hot water and spatial heating.

Any necessary equipment is available at your fingertips. Solar Panels Plus, for example, carries most products to upgrade your home.

Last but not least, we recommend you work with a licensed architect who can not only show you how to save money and build a more energy-efficient home, but also how to transform your "fixer" into a piece of architecture. La Nanette, in Granada Hills, California, was remodeled to provide a healthy and sustainable environment for its contemporary users.

Tagged In: passive solar, heating cooling

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