I'd appreciate any thoughts, advice, or reference material.
I'm remodeling a 3000 square foot home which currently has only electric radiant heat and poor insulation. I want to go overboard on creating a "green" heating system. I don't mind spending a lot of money now, as long as the system is efficient. I'm expecting energy prices to go up a lot before I move out of this house.
The rough plan:
1) Insulate everything better.
2) Install a normal forced-air system except with an extra heat exchanger upstream of the furnace (see 5).
3) Collect solar heat with 7 Thermomax panels (over 300 square feet of collector area). These are supposed to work well in cold or even cloudy weather.
4) Store the heat in 360 gallons of water/antifreeze solution.
5) Use a separate water loop to carry heat from the storage tanks to heat exchangers in the force-air heater system.
I have tried to size this so that it will provide all of our heat during most of the year, with only the fan running in the heater system. On the coldest days the furnace (propane fired) will make up the difference. The hot water tanks can also preheat water going to the hot water heater year round.
We live at 3000 feet altitude in the Sierra Nevada, West of Yosemite National Park. There is a lot of Winter sun, and only occasional snow.
I'm working with an architect and general contractor who are open-minded, but don't have much experience with nonstandard HVAC systems. I'm just trying to do some "legwork" so they have a good starting point. Any help will be appreciated.