Case Studies

Heating Case Studies: Retrofit Net-Zero Project in Brewerton, NY

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018 by Kelsey Belile


This Brewerton, NY home also functions as a working horse farm. Due to their expensive fuel oil bills, the owners were inclined to visit our booth at a local farm show. The couple was impressed by Halco’s commitment to the ‘reduce before you produce’ approach to business and signed up to have a no-cost energy assessment performed on their home. During the assessment, plans were made to completely eliminate their fossil fuel usage for their entire property.


The first step in the process of overall energy efficiency was to reduce the load of the residence. Our crews installed spray foam insulation on the underside of the roof as well as in the basement. By insulating previously uninsulated space, this reduced air infiltration and effectively created more usable space.

With these steps complete, we were able to properly size the heating equipment that would be needed. With energy efficiency being the focus, we designed a 6-ton horizontal direct exchange geothermal system. The system needed properly redesigned ductwork to accommodate the increased airflow necessary for geothermal. All new ductwork was installed in the basement as well as being chased up to the second floor. The second-floor ductwork was exposed to provide a look that the customers preferred, a mix between country cottage and light industrial. The heating system now couples with a heat pump water heater to provide domestic hot water.

The horizontal loop field was installed using Halco’s 40,000-pound Hyundai excavator that utilizes a four-foot bucket. Each one of the six copper loops were laid in individual 125-foot trenches. We were able to remove their buried fuel oil tanks during excavation. This was of importance to the homeowners, who recently had a relative pay over $100,000 to clean up oil spilled from their buried tanks.

With the geothermal system up and operating, we then moved on to Solar PV. One of the large horse barns provided enough space to install the large, 39.9 kW roof-mounted system. The roof now supports a system that covers not only 100% of their load, but also provides power for the charging station the customers use to charge their Chevy Volts.

In the end, everything came together, and we helped make a retrofit net zero dream a reality!

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