Building My Net Zero Energy Home: Air and Watertight Electrical and Plumbing Penetrations

| 10/28/2012 12:51:00 PM

Conduit for electrical and water pipes

As you will recall, we installed insulating concrete forms for the foundation walls. One important detail you must not forget before pouring your footer is to “install” conduit under the footings for passage of electrical service, water lines, etc. Think this through very carefully. It’s not a bad idea to add a few extra pieces of conduit just in case you forget something.

At the bare minimum, you will need conduit for incoming electrical service, water, and sewage. You may also need to install conduit for outgoing electrical service – for example, power to out buildings and to lights at the end of your driveway. If you have a basement-level garage, be sure to install conduit to run electrical service into the garage. You will need to install conduit for solar and or wind systems you install to provide electrical energy to the home.

I like to run conduit under the footings rather than through ICF walls to eliminate the potential for leakage. Water will find a way into a house, if you provide one. Running conduit under the footing makes for a much more water-tight structure.

This photo shows the conduit for the electrical wires for the solar and wind systems that will power the home.

Contributing editor Dan Chiras is a renewable energy and green homes expert who has spent a lifetime learning life’s lessons, which he shares in his popular blog, Dan Chiras on Loving Life. He’s the founder and director of The Evergreen Institute and president of Sustainable Systems Design. Contact him by visiting his website or finding him on .


Hannan Ahmad
12/13/2013 1:19:34 AM

The idea of under-ground water pipes looks great in the first view, but the danger of leakages takes the whole energy out of it since the repair of these leakages cost a lot more than average pipe leak repairs. Besides, the gas pipes must not be wired underground. Every knows that an underground gas leak will create significantly huge damage by creating blasts. While the surface gas leaks are not only easier to repair, but also they do not cause greater damages even in worst situations.

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