whistlenut wrote:I would purchase a used oil boiler, late model, triple pass or tube (very reasonable as folks change out to NG) and a Super Stor or equivalent indirect water heater(also many used at 40% of new costs). You cannot OD on insulation, and if budgeting permits start looking at spray foam. Hydronic heating and as much radiant as is practical. The 'latest and greatest' will probably not save you a dime over time. IF solar siting is favorable, I'd support that LONG before the Geo-Thermal. Obviously I prefer coal, however oil is the best hedge right now as a 'Lender Friendly' primary fuel.
Chimney: No matter what, some form of a 2 flue chimney, preferable within the structure and not on a outside wall. SS costs about the same and has no where near the longevity. Be flexible if you want to remain married/shackled.......whatever they call it now, or she will own it and you will be standing outdoors with Mr. Happy in one hand with a bewildered look on your face, with a stack of payment obligations..
Look around for a coal boiler, there are many to choose from; used or new. I might add if you are worried about the coal supply, I have been burning for 48 years without any issues, so the money you save every year, sure makes your choice a no-brainer IMO. Try to make an area dedicated to the boiler room and not so small that a troll is the only one who fits into it. If you were lucky, you might be able to design a waterproof coal bin outside with access through your new foundation.
....also forgot, if you wanted to do an ISO insulated concrete foundation, there is another way to save more money over time. If you can ever go into a basement with ISO forms, you will be amazed at how sound deadened it is. Never feels cold and saves every day you live there. That would allow the wifey to have her dream kitchen, and you could be warm and comfy in the basement.......just thinkin' down the road.
Lots of good advice here. I will second the ISO foundation, my brother chose that route when he built his house and I continue to be surprised at how warm/dry/quiet the basement is. Chimney should go up through the house, period. Put a lot of thought into how you will handle the coal and ashes. Ideally the boiler will be close to the basement entrance.
Something else to consider, the orientation of the house in relation to the sun can make quite a difference in the lifetime heating/cooling costs of the home. A proper overhang will shade the windows in the summer and allow solar gain in the winter.