Designer Builders' Monthly Newsletter
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For insider tips, read our newsletters to learn the latest in the industry as well as ideas to help turn your home into your dream one.
Current Designer Builders' Newsletter
Visit us at the live south shows!
Todd will be attending the Ideal Living Retirement Expo with Woodside Plantation:
Tysons Corner, VA
If you live nearby, please accept our invitation to meet with Todd to discuss designing and building your retirement home.
He will provide insight into current design trends, construction costs and cutting-edge procedures developed to make building with us an efficient and enjoyable experience. This is the perfect opportunity to meet Aiken's premier builder right in your own backyard!
To schedule your appointment call our office at 803-642-8340 or by email.
Building Success 101
Q: How deep are the pipes of a ground-source heat pump?
A: For the most part, the temperature of the ground becomes predicable and constant at about 8 feet below the surface. Vertical GSHP piping loops, used in small-lot conditions, are excavated much deeper to enable an effective transfer of temperature between the ground and the pipe's fluid.
Is Geothermal in Your Future?
Improving home energy efficiency and building more sustainable housing is no longer a trend -- it's mainstream. As a professional builder, we feel it's important to keep up on emerging technologies that may soon help our clients save money, improve comfort and reduce our impact on the environment.
In the spirit of learning about these new technologies, we profile a rising star in the world of heating and air conditioning: Geothermal (or "ground-source") heating and cooling systems. Simply, a geothermal system uses the temperature of the ground to condition the air that is distributed through the house using conventional ductwork.
To transfer ground temperature to the home's central air distribution system, a closed loop of narrow, flexible pipe is installed at least 8 feet underground, vertically or horizontally.
The temperature of the ground is about 68 degrees. Conductive, non-toxic fluid is pumped through the pipe and is heated or cooled (depending on its temperature) by the constant temperature of the ground. When that fluid returns to the surface, it transfers its temperature to the air being blown into the home's ductwork.
That's exactly how conventional, air-sourced heat pumps work, except that those systems use the temperature of the ambient outdoor air, which is far less predictable and constant than underground temperatures.
In winter, for instance, if the thermostat is set at 72 degrees, the heating coils in the pump only need to boost the incoming ground-conditioned, 68-degree fluid by a few degrees to achieve the desired temperature. The outdoor air temperature that day, however, is likely much colder, which requires far more energy from the pump's heating coils to warm it sufficiently.
Because this type of ground-source system requires far less supplemental heating or cooling measures to achieve desired indoor temperature and comfort levels, it uses less energy. In turn, there's less wear and tear on the heat pump, allowing it to operate at optimum efficiency for a longer period of time and with less maintenance.
Cost and payback: Until 2016, the Federal Government is offering a 30% tax credit on geothermal systems with no upper limit. This covers both the cost and installation of the units. These credits apply to both new construction and existing homes. The cost to install a geothermal system and the savings vary. Hypothetically, if a Geothermal system costs twice as much as a conventional air-sourced system, and cuts the monthly energy use and cost in half, there will be a substantial return on investment within a few years.
People with geothermal systems also report better and healthier indoor comfort, especially in the height of summer or winter when a conventional heat pump has a hard time conditioning the outside air to the desired indoor temperature.
Geothermal heating and cooling systems may not be for everyone or every new-home condition, but they are a proven, energy-efficient option that delivers better performance and lessens environmental impact.