Foundation footings – planning for future efficiency and conservation

I was surprised when I saw the extent to which they dug footings for the foundation.


A quick review of the foundation plans shows that there are quite a few load bearing walls in the basement that require footings.

We are still scrambling to nail down the details of all the plumbing that will need be embedded in the concrete – we are expecting to do the first pour this Friday or the following Monday.  Some optional upgrades we are talking about are adding a whole-house grey-water system and eventually adding a fuel cell for power.

The grey water system requires separate plumbing for black and grey water throughout the house.  That is the simple part.  The hard part is figuring out storage, filtration, and how to water parts of the yard in accordance with state and local laws on grey water use (i.e. no above ground spraying).  For now, we need to determine where we are going through the foundation wall and plan for that.

The fuel cell is a slightly different story.  Fuel cells produce electricity from natural gas using a catalyst.  With today’ natural gas prices, the cost of producing electricity with a fuel cell is about $.06/kWh by one estimate I’ve seen.  As I understand it, as a byproduct they produce hydrogen gas which can then be used heat water.  With this hot water, we could keep a pool warm year-round, and heat all of our bathing and cooking water.  But we have to plan on how to get the hot water to and from the pool.

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