Is hydronic slab heat appropriate in a super insulated home?

Andrew Wright
Updated: Feb. 8, 2021

I'm designing our new home in Anchorage, Alaska (building zone 7) to be insulated to R-40 or better ICF walls and an appropriate level of insulation in the roof and slab. I'm taking inspiration from Passive House but not pursuing the official certification. We've already decided on finished concrete floors throughout the home for durability and thermal mass. We are planning to utilize a Sanden air-to-water heat pump for domestic hot water and hydronic heat. I'm inclined to have the hydronic heat installed in the floor but I've heard that it's not necessary and will "overheat the house". One local supplier recommends the Minotair HRV with integrated hydronic heat loop, essentially an improved forced air heating system. My concern is that the slab will be uncomfortable to bare feet (all Alaskans take off their shoes in the home, even at parties) and I would regret not heating the floors. How did you execute in floor heat on the Kenogami house and keep it from overheating?   

PS- I don't expect toasty warm floors, just not chilly floors. Thank you for your time!

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