When a client wanted to “go green” remodeling a small bathroom in a 1920s house, AJ Stones of AJ Stones Design Contracting, Pittsburgh, showed how overhauling the heating system could increase comfort in every room and pay off in significant energy savings over the long term. During the course of the project, Stones insulated the envelope with cellulose, replaced a larger atmospherically vented boiler with a smaller, sealed combustion boiler (92%), and added a hot water tank, which is heated by the boiler. He also changed the distribution system to primary/secondary piping, thereby creating four zones to heat the house, including radiant heat from a slab sensor under ceramic tile for the bathroom and adjoining bedroom.
This integrated, systemwide approach produced maximum comfort using minimum energy. “I see a trend: more customers willing to invest in home performance,” Stones says. “When owners realize that comfort can be significantly improved and utility bills lowered, they are willing to pay for the additional services. Plus, overall satisfaction with the remodeling is greatly enhanced,” he adds. — Colleen C. Derda is a is a Pittsburgh-based freelance writer.