Geothermal install delivers net-zero for the newest Proud Green Home

Sept. 1, 2015
The Proud Green Home of St. Louis is a two-story, five bedroom home designed in the Prairie-style by architect Curtis W. Byrne. At its heart is a geothermal system installed by Scott-Lee Heating Co., a company headquartered in Sunset Hills, Missouri.
The Proud Green Home of St. Louis.

WILDWOOD, MO. — The Proud Green Home of St. Louis actually had its start in Fort Worth, Texas. That was the former home of the Kuentz family, before news of a job transfer started them planning their future lives in Missouri.

The Kuentzs knew they wanted to build, and the respiratory problems of their middle child had them investigating the latest in indoor air quality technology. That, in turn, led them to the idea of building a green home.

The builder they finally chose, Hibbs Homes, was not only experienced with green building, they had on staff as a consultant Matt Belcher, director of the High Performance Buildings Research Center, part of the Midwest Energy Efficiency Research Consortium at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Through him they were able to form a partnership with ProudGreenHome.com, an online publisher, as well as several suppliers and manufacturers.

ProudGreenHome.com has struck up partnerships to build Proud Green Homes at Serenbe, Georgia and Cincinnati, Ohio. The intent is to use the buildings to show what is possible with current energy- and water-saving technology; to inspire and educate professionals and consumers about the benefits of sustainable, high-performance home strategies.

The mechanical room at the Proud Green Home of St. Louis.

The Proud Green Home of St. Louis is a two-story, five bedroom home designed in the Prairie-style by architect Curtis W. Byrne. At its heart is a geothermal system installed by Scott-Lee Heating Co., a company headquartered in Sunset Hills, Missouri. The company has been in business for over 37 years serving six counties in Missouri. 

“We’re extremely diverse,” said Jeff Garner, an estimator working for Scott-Lee. “We have a full, 24-hour a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year service department. We have a commercial division. We have a production division that is our new construction-remodel-room addition division. We do a lot of off-site sheet metal work. We can do a bit of everything.”

The full union (Local #36) company has been doing geothermal work for the last ten years. In the last five they’ve partnered with Enertech Global, a geothermal system manufacturer. “We are the number one geothermal dealer-installer for Enertech in St. Louis, and have been for several years,” Garner said.

Scott-Lee began work during the design phase of the project back in 2013. Between October of 2014 and February of 2015, Scott-Lee technicians installed all the ductwork for the home, as well as installing a 6-ton GeoComfort system, and helping to install a Zehnder heat recovery ventilator. Drilling for the geothermal field was subcontracted out to Wideman Well Drilling, Inc.

“This house was somewhat challenging,” Garner explained. “You had several different areas or climates throughout the home you needed to heat and cool, and doing it in just one system with no zoning at all would not work. So that’s when we broke it into the four zones that actually went into the home.”

There ended up being a zone for the master bedroom side of the home, another for the middle living area, another on the first floor for the children’s bedrooms and play area, and a last one for the finished portion of the downstairs.

The GeoComfort system has a built-in desuperheater — a secondary heat exchanger — that assists in bringing the domestic hot water up to temperature. Additionally, there is a hook-up for solar-powered water heating, should the Kuentzs want to add flat plate solar collectors to their home at some point in the future. An EcoDrain hot water heat recovery system is installed in each bathroom to help wring every last therm possible out of each shower use.

To help conserve water, low flow faucets, fixtures and toilets from Kohler (another manufacturing partner in the Proud Green Home project) were installed.

All told, the home now meets a number of green building standards, including: Energy Star for Homes, ANSI ICC-700 The National Green Building Standard, the DOE Zero Net Ready home, EPA Indoor airPlus and WaterSense.

And it has been delivering on that net-zero energy use promise during the last six months it has been in operation.

“It’s been working out great,” Garner said. “Their utility bills are low, comfort levels are fairly even throughout the house. At this point everything is working exactly as designed… We had some great homeowners to work with, which helps on any project.” 

About the Author

Steve Spaulding | Editor-inChief - CONTRACTOR

Steve Spaulding is Editor-in-Chief for CONTRACTOR Magazine. He has been with the magazine since 1996, and has contributed to Radiant Living, NATE Magazine, and other Endeavor Media properties.

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