4124 Reynolds Road

The house is 2 stories tall sitting in the middle of a pretty open, wind-swept area. The roof has 3 feet of fiberglass insulation, and the sill plate is insulated with spray foam. Otherwise, the house is reasonably insulated but not super insulated, and most windows are medium-quality double-glaze Andersons that date from an early 1980s remodeling. We are largely carbon neutral, as of the fall of 2014.

Contact Name(s): Bob Howarth & Roxanne Marino
Year Built: 1890
Building Features: 

  •  Domestic hot water: we installed an air-sourced heat pump (GE Geosprings, COP=2.35) in the basement in April 2011. This replaced an oil-based heater tied to our then home-heating system. We estimate that we reduced our use of oil by 245 gallons/year (34 million BTU/year), which was 25% of our total oil consumption prior to 2011. Our electrical consumption increased by 1,800 kwh/year (6.1 million BTU/year), for a net energy savings of 28 million BTU/year (82% reduction). Greenhouse gas emissions went from 5.5 tons CO2-equivalents per year to zero (since our electricity is and was 100% renewable). We estimate that the system paid itself off as of March 2014. We detected no significant cooling of the basement. We are considering replacing the unit with a newer, more efficient unit.
  • Space heating & cooling: we installed a ground-sourced heat pump in November 2014. The unit, a dual-compressor 5-ton water-to-water Waterfurnace (COP=3.1), was installed by Daley Geothermal and Moravec Geothermal of Penn Yann, NY. The system has variable temperature output, set at 100 to 235 deg F, tuned to the outside temperature. This is a vertical well system, with three 350-foot deep wells (6 ton capacity for the wells). Inside, we have hydronic heat delivery through 9 zones. Individual zones are based on high-efficiency baseboards (Heating Edge model HE2), pre-existing lower-efficiency baseboards, in-floor radiant heating, Designline Thermaquiet radiator/fan coils, or Aermec fan coils. The Aermec fan coils provide both heating and air conditioning, while the other zones provide only heating. Note that Aermec fan coils are very fast to respond and are reasonably quiet; Thermaquiet radiators are reasonably fast to respond and very quiet; high efficiency baseboards are slower respond but are very quiet; in-floor radiant heating (which was installed a long time ago for use with oil furnace) is not as effective. The geothermal system replaced our oil furnace, resulting in a savings of 740 gallons/year (103 million BTU/year) of oil not burned. Electricity use for the geothermal system has averaged an 8,000 kwh/year (27 million BTU/year), for a reduction in total energy use of 76 million BTU/year. Greenhouse gas emissions went from 16.6 ton CO2-equivalents per year to zero. We estimate that the system will have paid itself off (including energy costs, maintenance costs, and installation costs after tax incentives) by March 2022.
  • We also partially heat the home with a high-efficiency, low-emitting wood stove, a Yøtul 8 installed in 1986. We burn approximately 1 ton of “Eco Bricks” plus 0.2 cords of hardwood per year.
  • We have a 9.75 kw PV solar system, installed by Renovus Energy in May 2015. The unit is free-standing, since our roof alignment and nearby trees make the house a poor candidate for a roof-mounted system. The system produces an average of 10,600 kwh/year.
  • We consume more electricity than we use, and we purchase this extra electricity from Energy Cooperative of America Renewables. They provide electricity from certified sources. Until recently, the electricity was 100% renewable from hydro and wind. Currently, which they source electricity that is ~ 45% hydro, ~30% wind, and ~25% methane from land fills. They describe this land-fill methane energy as renewable, which it is not, both because CO2 is released to the atmosphere when it is burned and because sooner or later the land fill will (hopefully) no longer produce methane. Nonetheless, it is far better to burn and use the methane than to simply let it leak to the atmosphere, since methane is 105-times more powerful than CO2 as a greenhouse gas; thus, this source of electricity has a net negative release of CO2-equivalents, even though some CO2 is emitted.
  • We have driven an electric car since June 2012. From 2012 to 2015 we leased a 2012 Nissan Leaf, from 2015 to 2018 we leased a 2015 Nissan Leaf, and in 2018 we bought a 2017 Chevy Bolt. We have a 220-volt charging station in the parking area behind our house, and almost all of our charging is done at home.
  • Last updated March 9, 2020