Past Predictions and Today’s Practices

Aug. 7, 2017 | by Dave Sweet

Fifty years ago radiant heating might have sounded like science fiction. Remember the “home of tomorrow” reels from the 1950s that showcased how all of your home conveniences would be a push of a button away? Today there’s a saying about concrete and underfloor heating systems that goes, “friends don’t let friends pour concrete without PEX in it”.

I used PEX tubes in the garage and basement slabs, a fairly common feature of radiant systems since the only additional cost is the tubes. When I was up in the air about whether to install underfloor heating in my basement and garage Dave Holdorf, a leading expert on underfloor heating and many other HVAC topics paid me a visit. As a residential trainer for Taco Comfort Solutions he counsels contractors, reps, service technicians, and business owners and facilitates the growth of a healthy industry.

The radiant system I designed has four zones in the main part of the house and a fifth for the whole second floor. I don’t plan on doing much with the second floor, since my daughters are grown and the rooms will be mostly unoccupied. I’ve zoned the master suite, great room/kitchen, dining room, and study/laundry room.

Although many of those 50’s predictions came true, I don’t think anyone could have pictured the rise of the internet and our world of connected devices. It can be mind-boggling to try wade through all the different options available today. Before making any decisions about what to automate, I have to ask myself what makes the most sense and is it worth the expense.

I like my gadgets to be functional and not overwhelming. It makes sense to have a bird’s eye view of my home’s temperature and mechanical systems and be able to change it at any time. Automating elements of my home like the lighting and the shades are conveniences that will make our lives easier and the home more comfortable.

To learn more about home automation I enlisted the help of Gerard Lynch of System 7.  Gerry has worked in the home automation business for many years and is an expert on planning these systems. One of my big takeaways from Gerry was that a lot goes into creating the systems but it’s manageable as long as I break the process down into smaller portions. I’ll meet with Gerry a few more times through the course of my project and update you.

What about the kids of today? Lots of people interested in projects like mine have children to consider. Calgary's Child has a good article that addresses many common questions parents might have about eco-friendly building design. One of the biggest items parents should keep in mind is the chemicals used in furniture and home products. Did you know particleboard is often manufactured with formaldehyde and can emit toxic gasses over time, or that laminate countertops can potentially contain toxic materials? 

This blog was developed by Taco Comfort Solutions. All posts, sponsored and un-sponsored have been reviewed and approved by the Sustainable Community Media Editorial Team to ensure quality, relevance/usefulness and objectivity.


Topics: Building Green, Radiant Heat

Companies: Taco Comfort Solutions



Dave Sweet
My name’s Dave Sweet. I’m an eco-friendly homeowner and builder who’s been building his own homes since the 1980s, and I’ve had a great time doing it. Each time I’ve built a home, I’ve tried to include as many environmentally-friendly features as I can. This time, my goal is to use as little energy as possible while maximizing comfort for my wife, my daughters and I. This blog is about helping each other - whether you’re a homeowner or a contractor in the field. Ask questions, exchange ideas, share resources, and more! I encourage you to be a part of this community, and share your experiences. www

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