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Design, Construction, and Performance in Ohio

January/February 2007
This article originally appeared in the January/February 2007 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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January 01, 2007
Designing and building a house enabled me to put into practice many of the building science and engineering concepts and principles that I cover in my courses.
My wife, Susan Choma, and I built our home in Ohio in 2000. I am a college professor, and my teaching responsibilities include engineering technology coursework in the areas of residential mechanical systems and energy-efficient construction. Designing and building the house enabled me to put into practice and observe the results of many of the building science and engineering concepts and principles that I cover in my courses. Our overall goal was to build a home that was comfortable, safe, healthy, durable, quiet, low maintenance, practical, energy efficient, compatible with the site, affordable, and aesthetically appropriate.  We considered all of these criteria when making trade-offs and decisions concerning size, design, materials, and equipment. Location, Location, Location The building site is in north central Ohio. It consists of a 6-acre meadow on the top of a ridge that overlooks several miles of wooded or farmed hills and valleys.  Natural gas is not available in the area.  The electric supplier is a local co-op that provides electricity at very low rates, for three reasons. First, the co-op is member owned and managed as a nonprofit as opposed to being an investor-owned, for-profit utility. Second, overhead costs are kept low by ...

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