Glad to hear you want to build an efficient home. Don't start with "SIP", even if you choose that technology in the end.
I'm in the middle of reading Heating, Cooling, Lighting by Norbert Lechner http://www.amazon.com/Heating-Cooling-Lighting-Sustainable-Architects/dp/0470048093. Probably the best resource I've seen in one place.
One of the first points Lechner makes is that buildings should be designed with three tiers
Tier 1: Basic Building Design (Heat retention, Heat rejection, Heat Avoidance)
Tier 2: Passive Systems (Natural Energies)
Tier 3: Mechanical Equipment (Heating & cooling equipment, renewable energy, lighting equipment)
"Right design choices in tier one can reduce the energy consumption of buildings as much as 60 percent. The second tier involves the use of natural energies through such methods as passive heating, cooling, and daylighting systems. The proper decisions at this point can reduce the energy consumption another 20 percent. Thus, the strategies in tiers one and two, which are both purely architectural can reduce the energy consumption of buildings up to 80 percent. Tier three consists of designing the mechanical equipment to be as efficient as possible. That effort could reduce energy consumption another 8 percent. Thus, only 12 percent as much energy as needed in a conventional building."
Your SIP idea fits into tier 1, but you should look at the other options available too.
Another good book, but somewhat less practical slightly less up to date is http://www.amazon.com/Passive-Solar-Primer-Sustainable-Architecture/dp/0764330705 a reprint of his 1970's book, which is very likely in your library system somewhere.
At a minimum, do a bit of reading before you build. Make it a house worth building and living in for generations.
Those tiers are a really good idea. We are in the middle of our passive solar home now. With out knowing your location look into what the location offers as far as passive approaches. Ours had a natural spring so we built the house below it...aimed it south , bermed etc. Maybe a nook from a previaling wind? Maybe orient house long ways towards south?
One caution that I do not hear enough people bring up is air exchanges. Those air tight homes will become sick homes in time. You need fresh air. If you have high medical bills that will wipe out any heating savings fast.
Since we are all about being as passive as possible we have used earthtubes other options include heat recovery air exchange units. The heat recovery units cost a bit ($1,500?) to install and then they need to maintained, they also use electric. We are hoping convection will power the earthtubes. You might want to check out John Haits book, Passive Annual Heat Storage.
good luck in your venture it's an awesome goal!.
The April edition of The Journal of Light Construction had an article on Super Insulated Slab Foundations that was a decent read. http://www.jlconline.com/cgi-bin/jlconline.storefront/4c3e60a401e31d5c27180a32100a05e1/Product/View/1004sup
You can find the author's web site here http://gologichomes.com
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