Special to the Washington Post
Friday, October 8, 2010; 9:15 PM – Icicles hanging from the eaves were not the result Dave Parsons had in mind when he installed a geothermal heating system at his Oakton home during the summer of 2009. But that’s what he got during last winter’s brutal cold spells, when the new system leaked hot air into his under-insulated attic. And monthly electricity bills as high as $560, the result of his geothermal’s backup electric resistance heater kicking on too frequently, weren’t welcome, either.
“The icicles made me say, ‘Hey, there’s something wrong here,’ ” said Parsons, who runs H 2 Options, a local company that evaluates condo and apartment buildings to reduce their water usage, usually by finding hidden leaks.
This winter, Parsons’s home is armed with an abundance of insulation, two geothermal heating/cooling systems (the original system having been repaired), a solar-powered hot water collector, several efficient mini-split heating/air conditioning units, Internet-based energy-usage monitoring, and a “smart” thermostat, equipped with WiFi, that can read the weather report.
He has replaced nearly every light bulb in the house with bright, white compact fluorescents and other modern bulbs and redecorated with paints and carpeting that are made with fewer volatile organic compounds, or “low-VOC,” and do not give off the noxious fumes of traditional versions.
His home – which is decidedly not for sale – is open for free public tours on Oct. 16, so other people considering a remodel can get a look at the technology.
Read the full article here.