Entry # 68

Energy 1, LLC

Designer: Adam Hawks

Customer: Big Sky, Mont.

Installation Location: Geothermal Retrofit

Brief overview of the project

Energy 1, LLC was tasked with designing and installing a geothermal heating and cooling system into an existing 10,000 sq. ft. main house and detached 2,300 sq. ft. garage/guest house with all of the new mechanical equipment located in a new below-grade wine vault that was to be built onto the garage/guest house.  Three WaterFurnace high temperature water-to-water heat pumps were installed to provide heating for the in-floor radiant heating systems in both buildings, an A/V room cooling system was replaced with a Liebert water-to-air heat pump and two water-to-air heat pumps were added to provide cooling to bedrooms and a loft space.  With the diverse and variable loads on the ground loop, a Caleffi Hydro Separator was used to separate the borefield from the heat pumps and Caleffi storage tanks were used to buffer the water-to-water heat pumps from the radiant heating loads.

Design goal

The primary goal of the project was to reduce overall propane consumption/cost of the existing 85% efficient boiler plant by installing a geothermal heat pump system and high efficiency boilers.  The installation of the geothermal system was also an opportunity to remove the existing noisy outdoor condensing unit for the A/V cooling system and add cooling to spaces in the house that routinely overheated due to high solar gain in the summer months.  An additional benefit of the project was to provide an entry way art piece for the new wine cellar.

Installation description

With the project being a retrofit there were multiple challenges during installation.  The biggest obstacle during construction was the installation of the insulated piping between the wine vault and the two buildings and minimizing the impact on the existing landscaping and other underground utilities.  Decommissioning the existing main house boilers and tying in the new boilers in a timely manner was very important as it was completed during peak heating season.

System performance

The system has been operating for several months now and has been working well.

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