12 October 2009

Getting Closer

We met with R again this evening. He thought one of his current projects would be a good model for some of the issues we needed to discuss, so we met there. We ended up spending another 2 hours at that house, looking at its features and discussing our plans and his bid. During the day, R had talked his foundation subcontractor down by $.30/foot (about $1,000) and had gotten bids on the specific plumbing fixtures I had sent to him, which totaled about $2,500 less than the figure he had put in his bid. (Builders get tremendous discounts on all sorts of things. The fabulous Kohler sink we found retails for $413, but his price is $248.) We were thrilled that he is being so proactive about helping us bring the total down. He is also going to get another electrical bid from another company, and we discussed removing some recessed lights from our plans to save some more there.

We also settled on a water heater. We had originally thought we'd have a tankless water heater (two, actually -- one on each side of the house), since they have gotten so much attention for their energy efficiency, but recently there's been a movement toward other options. Unfortunately, most of these options are really expensive, and given our constraints, we've been at a loss to find a good compromise. Well, now I think we've got it. General Electric is about to introduce a heat pump water heater (technology that's been around for a while, but finally incorporated into a mainstream all-in-one unit). Basically, it uses a heat pump to extract heat from the air around it and then transfers the heat to the water, with an electric element as backup/supplement. I can't really do it justice, but you can read about it on the GE website. Since the kitchen is halfway across the house and two of the bathrooms are all the way across the house, we'll have an on-demand (push button) recirculating pump to ensure that we're never wasting water while waiting for the water to heat up. Saving power and water!

Note from the future: We thought we had finally settled on a water heater, but we had not. Read more about other options we considered, and how we ended up using a plain old electric water heater in a very energy-efficient way here and here.

No comments:

Post a Comment