Re: Liveable temp/ geothermal
From: Michael Barrett (
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 07:46:31 -0800 (PST)
Randa is another one of those folks who, regrettably admit, to no location -
either city or state. But for geothermal it doesn't matter- down below it's
always 55° F.

If you can afford the higher capital cost of geothermal, I say go for it,
it's wonderful -  that is if your experience turns out to be as good as ours
at Liberty Village in Maryland. Very quiet, efficient, reliable, economical,
and unlike conventional air source heat pumps, it produces smaller
quantities of "toasty" air rather than a chilling and noisy draught.  One
very very cold spell in January in Maryland several years ago when I had to
schedule a shut-down of the ground source (due to a sink hole!) and use the
built-in electric back-up heat exclusively, my carefully metered total
electric cost/day  went from  $4 to $14.  Another substantial benefit is
that the system used the surplus ground source heat to "preheat" my (electric) hot water heater. And for further economy one has the option of turning off the electric boost
heat/backup (designed to handle the desire for rapid warm-up if you choose a
warm/cool day/night mode of operation).

One caveat: When we were buying (circa 1999?) there were very few
contractors with geothermal experience.  You have to decide how much risk
you are prepared to take. We had very good experience with a small company
way out in the Maryland boondocks.
Our units were made by WaterFurnace.

Michael Barrett
now at Shadowlake Village, Blacksburg, VA where my air source heat pump
periodically disturbs me with its start-up and shut-down thunks and then
cools me with blasts of only slightly warm air.

I would love to get more information on Takoma Village's geothermal set up
(and any one else who has geothermal). Half our buildings are too shaded
for solar, and at the moment we have all electric heat. Who at Takoma
Village and elsewhere would be a good person to talk to about feasibility,
cost, advantages/disadvantages?

 Randa Johnson
 New Brighton Cohousing
 cohoranda [at]

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