I will soon build my first house and I need to choose what type of heating/cooling system I'll have installed. I know very little about this and I'm seeking recommendations, ideas, suggestions, etc.
The details: The house will be in the city limits of Asheville, NC. It will be a three story house with a basement foundation (I'm counting the basement as the bottom floor). The footprint of the house is approximately 24'x24' (I'm still working on the design/plans), and the top two floors will be approximately 1000sf. The main/first floor will be open, essentially one big room with kitchen/dining/living room/half bath, and the top floor will be two bedrooms and a full bath. The walkout basement will be finished as a den with storage area and full bath and sauna. The home site is very shady, under huge oak trees, so using passive solar is not really an option. In terms of my priorities the order is 1) simple/low maintenance, 2) efficient/low operation cost, 3) up front cost, and 4) "green".
I'm interested in heating using a wood stove because it's such a simple system (i.e. very few moving parts to break), it seems like a low maintenance way to go, and the wood stoves available now are very efficient. However I feel like I should have a wood stove as my back up heating system, even if I do use it most of the time, for resale value purposes (many folks don't want to bother with chopping wood, loading/cleaning the stove, etc.). Another aspect of a wood stove that's attractive to me is that I can still heat my home during a power outage. Around here wood is plentiful.
A geothermal heat pump is also interesting because of its high efficiency and because it also doubles as an AC system. It's also likely to be very attractive to buyers if I ever sell the house. However I'm concerned that a geothermal heat pump system is pretty complex (it's not likely that I could fix any part of it myself) and may require considerable maintenance, and it won't blow very warm air (I've slept under a heat pump vent/register in the winter and it felt like I was under an AC unit -- not pleasant).
Can you comment as to which HVAC options are appropriate for someone in my situation? I know there are numerous other alternative heating/cooling systems available that I've not yet considered, and the two mentioned above are probably on opposite ends of the spectrum.