Holliston LEED House

This is the story of a family who built the first LEED "green" house in Holliston, Massachusetts. We were trying to spend no more than it would take to build an ordinary house,and maybe even succeeded. The dust is still settling.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Taking it down a peg

Eli's guys arrived on the heels of SCPB's guys checking out. Although we had put in a well down to 140 feet for water, we need to take it down to 540 feet, according to Eli, in order to tap the geothermal energy for our heating system.

What's geothermal energy? Like my friend Roger says, it's cave man thinking. Inside a cave, the constant temperature is approximately 55 degrees. Sounds warm on an icy New England winter day, and cool on a blistering humid August one. All we're doing is bringing up water at a constant 55 degrees, adjusting the heat with a heat exchanger to one comfortable to us, and in that way reducing the energy it takes to heat or cool. It's much easier to heat 55 degrees to, say, 70 degrees than it is to heat 1 degree. Similarly, it's easier to cool the same way. When you have geothermal energy, you have both heating and air conditioning at a very modest carrying cost.

We are installing a standing well open loop geothermal system with a 5 ton air system. There are many types of geothermal systems; this was the one we could afford since we already needed a well (to see previous posts on this subject, click on "HVAC"). For this system, we don't get radiant heat (that involves plumbing the floors), but we do get air conditioning.

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