Arlington Designer Homes is committed to green building for the health benefits, energy savings, and reduced environmental footprint it provides for our buyers and our community. With constantly changing regulations, technologies and products, buidling a new green home from the ground up isn't always easy - but it's always interesting!

Welcome to our behind-the-scenes blog about green building and remodeling, where you can watch a green home go up step-by-step and learn about using green building techniques for your own home. And visit our website at to learn even more about green building and remodeling.

October 15, 2013

Geo-thermal and the Whole House System

                Arlington Designer Homes has started drilling for our next new custom and new home For Sale: 4033 N 22nd St. Arlington, Va. 22207. We are drilling for our Geo-thermal wells. It is a very exciting time and process. We have been through county review, we have our plans and permits approved and we are ready to go.
                Geo-thermal drilling is a loud and sometimes messy process. We will be drilling 3 wells total for the two homes. The first well we are digging will be 290’ with the 2nd and 3rd being 220’ deep each. The depth of the wells is determined by the size and construction of the house. For more information on Geo-thermal systems see our blog from 11/5/2010.

                Let me take you back a few months. The first thing that you need to do when you are considering Geo-thermal well installation is to calculate the load of the house. The ‘load calculations’ are based upon the specifications of the house. In our case because we will build a tight house, 2x6” walls with exterior ‘out-sulation’, high performance windows and doors and advanced framing. Using these techniques we were able to keep the total heating and cooling load for the house down.
                What this means is that because we are designing a more energy efficient, tight house to begin with we start saving money and creating a more comfortable home immediately. Before we have even put shovel to dirt we are already reducing overall construction costs and ultimately overall operating costs for the home. Proper prior planning is a key component of the LEED certification process, more on that in our next Blog.
                Specifying and modeling the house is a key component of what Arlington Designer Homes does. We plan for the heat load based upon the super energy efficient houses we build, then we monitor how the plans and decisions we made sometimes years ago affect the energy efficiency, performance and overall comfort of the home. With the new data we can tweak our systems, update our modeling and continue to improve our systems.
                We look at the whole house, and the construction of the whole house as a systematic process. A affects B which in turn affects C. The decisions we made a year before we decided to go Geo-thermal necessarily affects the HVAC system and beyond. It changes the whole level of efficiency performance and comfort for the whole house. Having made these decisions we are excited to finally be putting them into practice.

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