retirement home ideas?

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by BurkeyChuck, Dec 11, 2018.

  1. BurkeyChuck

    BurkeyChuck New Member

    Greetings! I just found this forum today, so I would like to pick some of your brains if you have already been down this path.

    I am about 10 years away from retirement. We are planning on selling our home, buying some acreage in western or southern Colorado, and building our dream home. We want to be as much off of the grid as possible, with no utility costs eating up retirement dollars if at all possible.

    My idea is to build a ~2200 SF house with ICF. I would like to go with concrete floors and a central concrete wall that would house a fireplace or two for thermal mass. I plan on having a large solar array for electricity, and can picture some sort of geothermal / hydronic / hybrid system for heating and any cooling. If at all possible we would like the system to be able handle heating a pool as well.

    Since this is still in the concept stage, what are your thoughts? Am I missing anything? Or am I completely barking up the wrong tree? For me, the ideal solution would be a reliable system, that can keep the house around 72 degrees year round, that will not cost a dime in utility costs..

    Thanks for you time

  2. nc73

    nc73 Member Forum Leader

    Cheaper to buy existing home. Utility cost will never be zero. Oh and a condo would probably be the cheapest once you retire.
  3. BurkeyChuck

    BurkeyChuck New Member

    Thank you for your reply. Perhaps because I mentioned I want no utility costs, I mis-stated my priorities. We want to retire into the woods, off grid. We envision some sort of renewable / sustainable way to heat and cool our home and to me this path seems like it makes sense to do so.

    A well insulated home, with a large thermal mass, should need considerably less energy to maintain a steady temperature than a conventional home. Further, I am thinking that with solar it is possible to not be connected to utilities at all. I don't mind paying the up-front cost of designing and building this kind of home so that It accomplishes what we are looking to do.

    I am sure a condo would be cheaper, but cheap is not why I am looking to do this
  4. Noobie

    Noobie New Member

    I am new to much of this, but if you’re off grid, your battery options are much simpler. You would still want power for lights, cooking, internet/TV, etc even if your thermal mass doesn’t require a lot for heating/cooling.

    On grid, Tesla Powerwalls wouldn’t work for us. Sonnen battery apparently does (still in contracting stage).

    Off grid, as I understand it, almost anything works.
  5. BurkeyChuck

    BurkeyChuck New Member

    Thank you for responding.

    I currently have solar on my home, and plan on doing the same for our retirement home. You nailed it exactly: lights, cooking, internet/TV, etc. Might even go a bit bigger in case we go the electric car route. Depending on location, we might toss in a small windmill to have a back up for cloudy days. I am still looking for basic info on utilizing geothermal / hydronics / hybrid systems to heat and cool it. I am a radiant floor system, but I have no idea beyond the basic concepts Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  6. Noobie

    Noobie New Member

    I wish you a long and healthy retirement, in which case an EV is in your future :). I have a Tesla, on its own 100A circuit (car is limited to charging at 72A at home).

    I wish I knew more, but I’m in the sale/contract/deposit stage of adding a Sonnen battery, which is a game changer for me. It might work for you also. Google it.
  7. BurkeyChuck

    BurkeyChuck New Member

    I am leaning towards the tesla battery, and it would be my choice if it were to be done today. I am hoping that the tech for a system like the Aquion Aspen matures and is a viable option when we retire. I like the idea of stackable capacity that is also environmentally friendly.

    Why do you like the Sonnen over the Tesla?
  8. Noobie

    Noobie New Member

    I WANTED to use the Tesla (I love their car and mission). I still have a deposit on a Powerwall installation.

    The technical aspects are beyond my pay grade, but Tesla couldn’t install until they have a 400A gateway (currently they have only 200A). No idea when that’s coming (other than a Muskian “soon”).

    Tesla needed a lot of trenching done between batteries in garage and our utility room, which Sonnen doesn’t. They use a different material for the battery which makes it possible to install indoors. Somehow those two things are related, but I don’t know the details.

    Tesla is very limited for grid connected backup in a large house (ie, >200A service). They would be fine, and less expensive than Sonnen, for off grid use. Additionally, some of these issues are due to it being a retrofit rather than a new build.
    BurkeyChuck likes this.
  9. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    The car batteries will likely be you electricity storage for you house in the future.

    Since you are still in the planning phase, the hydronic heating via geo is the way to go, but I admit I am a bit bias here.

    No question the transportation and the space condition sector (heating) will be electrified. My whole house is electrified with electric cars, geo etc, but I am not off the grid (yet).I do have radiant heat, and hydronic air handlers fed by chilled water via the geo system for a/c.

    I built a few high end homes for some customers.

    Some very high and and luxurious, but same concept.

    This one is all geo, radiant and electric vehicles.
  10. BurkeyChuck

    BurkeyChuck New Member

    WOW! That is much larger than what I had imagined, but has many of the same things I want. Thank you for sharing this one.
  11. Kapitonov

    Kapitonov Banned

    I wish i could build a dream house when i'm retired xd
  12. nc73

    nc73 Member Forum Leader

    Some people have money :)
  13. BurkeyChuck

    BurkeyChuck New Member

    buy a house while your working; any house...values always go up over time. Save 5% minimum of what you earn, and invest in a 401k. Guaranteed results if you start early enough
  14. Liam

    Liam New Member

    Given these conditions and the presence of 2 fireplaces, you need to install a humidifier. Without it, the air will be very dry and will have a bad effect on health. If you do everything right and maintain the ideal temperature + humidity, you will have the perfect home :)

Share This Page