- 7,400-square-foot, 23-room, two-story home
- Consultant John Palecek recommends Uponor PEX-based systems
- Radiant system helps keep wintertime energy costs under $5 per day
- Grand Prize winner in the Uponor Dream Home Competition
In planning their 7,400-square-foot dream home in Lewiston, Idaho, the Armstrong family made energy efficiency a top priority. Also, because of one family member’s health problems, they sought to minimize toxins and pollutants, including those arising from materials used to build their home.
With the help of engineering and technical consultant John Palecek and his company, Smart Solutions Inc. of Kamiah, Idaho, the Armstrongs’ new home was designed to be at least 75 percent more energy-efficient than homes built to the 1993 Model Energy Code benchmark. This is just one of the reasons the two-story, 23-room structure recently earned the grand prize in the first annual Uponor Dream Home Competition.
Installation process at the Armstrong residence
Uponor Delivers on All Counts
Palecek chose Uponor's Wirsbo AQUAPEX® tubing for both the plumbing and the radiant heating and cooling system, selecting the latter for reasons of comfort and health as well as efficiency. With radiant, heated or cooled water flows through PEX tubing installed beneath the floor in a looped configuration. Heating or cooling is quickly and evenly dispersed at floor level where it is most needed by the home’s inhabitants – not at the ceiling. The temperature remains consistent from room to room, despite the home’s 12-foot to 24-foot ceilings.
Unlike forced-air systems, radiant doesn’t use noisy blowers to circulate the warmth or cooling through the air. As the name “forced air” implies, all that air movement also keeps dust, allergens and pollutants in circulation, which would hardly have met the Armstrong’s demand for a clean environment.
The crowning touch is the system’s superior efficiency: Owner Rebecca Armstrong reports that the heating system cost an average $4.23 per day to operate during the winter of 2005-2006, including domestic hot water and ventilation. A typical wood-framed home in the area with a forced-air furnace would incur fuel bills three to five times that amount, Palecek estimates.
Benefits to the Armstrong Family
The Uponor plumbing system features ProPEX® fittings, which use the shape memory of the tubing to form a fast, permanent, reliable connection. “It was important to find a piping system that required minimal welding,” says Palecek. “We built the home with insulated concrete form walls, consisting of expanded polystyrene, which can melt or recede if it comes in contact with a soldering tool.”
Lower Fuel Bills
Better Air Quality
||7,400 square feet |
||Wirsbo AQUAPEX for plumbing, heating and cooling systems|
|Amount of Tubing
||10,500 feet of 1/2" tubing for in-floor piping|
700 feet of 3/4" tubing for supply-and-return piping
100 feet of 1" tubing for heat pump room piping
||ProPEX Fitting System|