Nestled in the small town of Strafford, New Hampshire is a home owned by Melissa Aho. This home is easily one of the nicest on the street, with spacious rooms and big windows. Yet what sets it apart is not the vaulted ceiling or gleaming floors, but rather the set of PV panels next to the driveway, and the geothermal heat pumps in the basement. The owners knew when they set out to build their dream home that it would not only be spacious and beautiful but also be minimally harmful to the environment. When examining the various options for construction Aho felt compelled to create the most sustainable house because she knew “If you put the effort in you will have a beautiful home that will pay you and the environment back for decades to come.”
This home features 5800 sqft of heated and cooled space. The single floor living area features a loft space and includes an expansive basement (close to 3000 sqft) heated by radiant in slab. The green aspects of the home include a vertical closed loop geothermal system, ground mounted solar PV, rain barrel collectors, and natural landscaping completely derived from materials found on the 11 acre property. In addition, other measures where included to further increase the home’s energy efficiency including insulating the exterior with structural insulated sheathing, using blown-in natural insulation on the interior, and using all low, or zero VOC products for paint and stain.
But by far the super star of the green components of the home is the geothermal heat pumps supplying the green energy to heat and cool this large home. Geothermal heat pumps, which operate at 450% efficiencies throughout its life, will save Aho 60-80% on her annual out of pocket heating costs. This home is heated by a vertical closed loop system with a total of four vertical boreholes. The heat collected by the closed loop system is then transferred to the home via radiant in floor heating in the basement and garage. In the summer, when cooling becomes the priority, a water-to-air heat pump takes over and provides cool air to the main part of the house through a ducted system. In both applications Aho chose a NORDIC® geothermal heat pump to serve all heating and cooling needs, provided by Ultra Geothermal.
These green measures have culminated in an overall HERS rating of 35, allowing this home to attain Emerald status in the NGBS. This means that the home follows the most stringent green guidelines of the National Green Building Standard. The NGBS rates homes on a variety of factors including lot design, resource efficiency, energy efficiency, water efficiency, and indoor environment quality. Homes are then given a rating of bronze, silver, gold or emerald. By attaining a ranking of “Emerald” on her home, Aho has can be assured that her dream home did not come with a big environmental price tag.
For more information on geothermal heat pumps, visit www.nordicghp.com
For more information on the New Hampshire Emerald Green Home, visit www.nhemeraldgreen.com
For more information on installating geothermal products in New Hampshire, visit www.ultrageothermal.com