When it comes to creating the most energy efficient homes possible, there are two particularly great choices for Northern Virginia homeowners: geothermal heating systems and foam insulation. Below is more information about both:
Geothermal systems – also known as Ground Source heat pumps (GSHPs) – use the stored energy of the earth to make heating and cooling your home more efficient and less expensive.
Without diving into too many technical details, here is a brief explanation of why it works so well. The earth maintains a relatively constant temperature – it is not as subject to temperature change as tha air above the ground. A geothermal system takes advantage of the earth’s temperature consistency to provide heating, cooling, and hot water for homes.
The systems are electrically powered and work on either a closed loop or an open loop. A closed loop has a water or anti-freeze solution circulating through plastic pipes below the surface of the earth. In winter, the fluid collects heat from the earth and the system uses that to help naturally heat the home. In summer, the system works in reverse – it “pulls” heat from the home and transfers it to the earth.
Open loop systems use the exact same principles as closed loop. The difference is open loops can be installed when an adequate supply of water is available and also has a place where the water can be openly discharged. If all these details sound complicated, don’t worry – that’s why we’re here! We “know our stuff” and can lend you our expertise to get the most energy efficient solution for your home.
You might also wonder about how the loops are installed. There are 3 different ways: horizontally, vertically, or in a pond/lake. The type chosen depends on the available land area, and the soil and rock type at the installation site. We can help advise you on the most economical choice for your specific circumstances.
The bottom line is that geothermal systems are a superior way to heat and cool your house for less. If an environmentally friendly home appeals to you, a geothermal system can be the foundation to a greener home and more energy savings. These systems are growing in popularity. Even though the initial cost is higher than a more traditional system, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program says the additional costs can be made up in as little as 3 to 5 years.
If you want even more detail, we have it. Download more information about these systems here:
The heart of a typical geothermal system is a ground-source heat pump that cycles water through an underground piping loop. The water piped through this loop uses soil temperature to warm or cool the heat pump's refrigerant. Significantly, the heat pump is located indoors, like a furnace, which provides advantages we'll get to shortly.
Are incentives available from the state or federal government? YES. Home and commercial building owners who install geothermal heating and cooling systems are now eligible for federal tax incentives under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1: Div. B, Sec. 1122, p. 46), which removed the maximum credit amount for all eligible technologies (except fuel cells) placed in service after 2008.
The heating efficiency of ground-source and water-source heat pumps is indicated by their coefficient of performance (COP), which is the ratio of heat provided in Btu per Btu of energy input. Their cooling efficiency is indicated by the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER), which is the ratio of the heat removed (in Btu per hour) to the electricity required (in watts) to run the unit. Look for the ENERGY STAR® label, which indicates a heating COP of 2.8 or greater and an EER of 13 or greater.
Craftsman Construction has forged a strategic alliance with Green Hill Mechanical to be our exclusive geothermal contractor. Gregg Drunagel president of Green Hill Mechanical stated, “we are very happy to have forged an alliance with Craftsman construction”. We feel Green Hill Mechanical will bring great value to local homeowners in search of alternative ways to heat and cool their homes.
I am frequently asked about geothermal heat pump systems by my potential clients. Since we at Craftsman Construction specialize in energy efficient homes I thought I would pass this along to all of you interested in learning how this system works. Geothermal or Ground Source heat pumps (GSHPs) are electrically powered systems that tap the stored energy of the earth. These systems use the earth’s relatively constant temperature to provide heating, cooling and hot water for homes and commercial buildings. GSHPs can be categorized as having...
There are four basic types of ground loop systems. Three of these—horizontal, vertical, and pond/lake—are closed-loop systems. The fourth type of system is the open-loop option. Which one of these is best depends on the climate, soil conditions, available land, and local installation costs at the site. All of these approaches can be used for residential and commercial building applications. Closed-Loop Systems Horizontal This type of installation is generally most cost-effective for residential installations, particularly for new...
The biggest benefit of GHPs is that they use 25%–50% less electricity than conventional heating or cooling systems. This translates into a GHP using one unit of electricity to move three units of heat from the earth. According to the EPA, geothermal heat pumps can reduce energy consumption and corresponding emissions up to 44% compared to air-source heat pumps and up to 72% compared to electric resistance heating with standard air conditioning equipment. GHPs also improve humidity control by maintaining about 50% relative indoor humidity...
Geothermal heat pumps (sometimes referred to as Geo Exchange, earth-coupled, ground-source, or water-source heat pumps) have been in use since the late 1940s. Geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) use the constant temperature of the earth as the exchange medium instead of the outside air temperature. This allows the system to reach fairly high efficiencies (300%-600%) on the coldest of winter nights, compared to 175%-250% for air-source heat pumps on cool days.
Would you like a free consultation about your project? We can help you understand your options, including how to make your home as energy efficient as possible. Give us a call to get started.