Archive for environment

New environmentally friendly home completed

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on September 5, 2014 by michaelfgallagher

A new home I designed has recently been completed near Breckenridge, Colorado with an emphasis on low environmental impact. Here are some of the features that reduce this homes impact on our natural resources:

Most importantly, the home is not huge. Within 2002 square feet of living area there are three bedrooms and three baths. There is also a very comfortable great room with the living, dining and kitchen areas open to each other and to the sun and views to the south. The home features a generous mud room with laundry and dog wash. In addition to that, there is a large two-car garage with a finished attic for hobbies and storage. The building is large enough for this family to be comfortable without consuming unnecessary energy and building materials.

The home has great passive solar characteristics with plenty of south-facing windows and stained concrete floors to absorb and store the sun’s heat. The concrete floors serve  as both structural and finish components reducing the amount of resources consumed in the building process.

The home is very well insulated and sealed with a combination of spray foam and fiberglass insulation.

Passive solar heat is supplemented by a high-efficiency gas boiler heating radiant floor slabs.

To offset the electrical loads, there is a 6.0 KW array of photovoltaic (PV) solar collectors. These are tied into the utility grid so that excess energy is sold back to the local utility company.

A large portion of the lot has been left in a natural state so that the owners can enjoy watching all the wildlife that still life on the property.



Michael F Gallagher, Architect       Breckenridge, Colorado



Geothermal heating for the Bennett Residence

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on November 1, 2012 by michaelfgallagher

Well drilling for the geothermal exchange system has resumed at the Bennett Residence in Breckenridge, Colorado.  There have been delays and equipment problems drilling through the very hard bedrock.

After analyzing very good test results from the first bore, the system has been modified. Instead of using eleven wells drilled 400’ deep, the system will now employ two groups of five wells each. One group will be drilled 275’ deep and the other to 380’.

The system will use electric ground-to-water heat pumps to provide hot water for heating and domestic water use. Electricity will provide 33% of the energy for these while the earth provides 66%. As a result, the boiler system will use 50% less utility energy than a traditional boiler system to heat this 15,000 square foot custom vacation home.

A geothermal system usually makes a significant contribution to a home’s air conditioning needs as well. But because of the cool climate and the home’s design, the home has no need for central air conditioning. Instead, we have included small cooling systems for the Wine Cellar, Living Room and Audio/Video Equipment. Excess heat returned into the exchange loop from these will help enhance overall performance of the ground source heat pump system.

Meanwhile, construction of the home itself is on schedule. The building should be enclosed and ready for winter work in a few weeks. The project should be finished in another year.

Michael F Gallagher, Architect

Breckenridge, Colorado