On Friday, July 3, the big machines again swung into action at Bunny Vista. This time, Lewis and crew were digging two 300- foot trenches, each one to contain three loops of tubing, for the geothermal heating and cooling system. Shelby, who several months ago helped gather the sandstone from the old barn, arrived with his trackhoe at 6:30 a.m., and the men were working hard by 7:00a.m.
Geothermal heating and cooling systems use ground-source heat pumps, similar to conventional heat pumps, to heat and cool efficiently. Geothermal heat pumps, taking advantage of the relatively stable temperature of the earth, pull warm air inside during winter and cool air inside during summer. Kelley and I decided to install geothermal heating and cooling, because, although the systems are initially more expensive than some other forms of heating and cooling, they are very energy efficient and have low operating and maintenance costs. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that geothermal heat pumps can save 30 to 70 percent on heating costs and 20 to 50 percent on cooling costs over conventional systems. The EPA also say that ground-source heat pumps are the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean, and cost-effective heating and cooling systems available.
Eric Thompson, owner of Earthstar Energy Systems in Waynesboro, designed the system that we will use. In addition to the geothermal heating and cooling, we will use solar panels to provide most of the hot water for the house.
Kelley says the crew finally finished up at 7:00p.m.–a long, hot twelve hours of hard work. Today, they used Aaron’s Bobcat to smooth over some of the rough ground, and Kelley seeded and watered.