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Featured System Installations

These pages show some of our finest system installations and “rescue” projects  in businesses and residences on the Vineyard.

Air conditioning Rescue – Corbin Norton House Chilled Water Retrofit – Oak Bluffs

Corbin Norton House on Martha’s Vineyard The Norton Residence is the most famous house on Martha’s Vineyard. Built in 1891 by Philip Corbin, manufacturing tycoon, it was the most extravagant summer mansion in the town of Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard. After a 100 years of neglect, it was bought in 1991 by Peter Norton, the computer software pioneer, and carefully restored…

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Atria Restaurant Solar Hot Water

The Atria Restaurant in Edgartown is the site of the Vineyard’s first restaurant solar hot water system.  This system successfully generates 700 gallons of hot water every day during the summer to meet the load of the restaurant and the bathrooms.  It is a drainback system – only when the solar collectors get warmer than the storage tanks does water flow up…

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Carrier Variable Speed Heat Pump System

The Carrier Greenspeed variable speed heat pump is the most efficient air source heat pump on the market.  It is smooth, powerful, robust, and quiet and illustrates the lessons learned by the American manufacturer from the innovations of Daikin and Mitsubishi. We see advantages in the very user friendly thermostat;  it is nicely intuitive for the customer and very powerful for the service…

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Chiller Replacement is a Tight Fit

We recently were asked to replace a 10 ton chiller unit (air to water) that was rusting away in the salt air.  Our concern was that the failure of the chiller’s case would lead to fractured refrigerant or chilled water lines which would result in a total loss of cooling for the residence.  The entire base pan of the unit had rotted…

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Chilmark Residence is Island’s First LEED Home

This residence, overlooking the Vineyard Sound and coast of Massachusetts, is Martha’s Vineyard’s first LEED for Homes project. A ten ton closed loop horizontal geothermal field serves five water to air heat pumps (five forced air zones) and one water to water heat pump (three radiant floor warming zones and domestic hot water preheat). Individual loops in the field were increased in…

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Daikin Altherma Heat Pump Pilot in West Tisbury

Daikin Altherma Air to Water Heat Pump Pilot Project in West Tisbury: Ted Bayne and Lea Delacour live on Martha’s Vineyard in a 3,000 square foot home heated by radiant floors and a Viessmann propane boiler. Their goal was threefold – to find a heating source that would make their existing 90% efficient heating system more economical to run, would not involve…

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Direct Exchange Geothermal and Radiant in Edgartown

We completed this project in 2007 and it is still working nicely.  The homeowner added solar electric (PV) panels on his roof and is now “net-zero”. A direct exchange geothermal field of 1/4″ copper was installed in a horizontal array 6 feet below grade:         The 1/4″ copper lines were connected to a manifold that was then piped inside…

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Geothermal Rescue – Closed Loop Circulator Too Small and Heat Pumps Won’t Work

This geothermal rescue involved a closed loop system that had 21 geothermal heat pumps that would not stay operating – they were going out on fault codes several times a week.  The fault codes were either low temperature in the winter or high temperature in the summer.  When we were called to evaluate this system, we were told that the heat pumps…

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Geothermal Rescue – Closed Loop Inadequate Flow Damaging Heat Pumps – Edgartown

  This project is currently underway – we have been retained to resolve geothermal flow issues that have severely damaged several heat pumps and ruined several others.  As we have more developments, we will add them to this page. This is our recent report to a forensic engineer about our findings after careful examination of the geothermal system: My firm, Nelson Mechanical…

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Geothermal Rescue – Closed Loop Too Small and System Won’t Cool – West Tisbury

This is an on-going geothermal “rescue” that involves increasing the cooling and heating power of a large geothermal system.  The original system was designed for a cooling setpoint of 76 F which meant that the outside geothermal field was quite small.  Cooling the house to 72 F or 70 F was a strain on the outside geothermal field (the geothermal water got…

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Geothermal Rescue – Closed Loop Too Small and System Won’t Heat – Chilmark

This geothermal rescue involved a closed loop horizontal geothermal field that was too small for the heating load.  Halfway through the winter heating season, the loop temperature would drop and the heat pumps would experience continued fault codes and would stop working.  This issue had not been a problem in the past due to the seasonal nature of house occupancy – the…

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Geothermal Rescue – Closed Loop Too Small and System Won’t Heat – West Tisbury

This particular geothermal system experienced heat pump faults and unreliable operation due to an undersized horizontal closed loop geothermal field.   The field was not large enough for the heating load of the house – the heating system and the heat pumps would work well at the beginning of winter but by January the Sun’s heat had been extracted from the Earth…

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Geothermal Rescue – Direct Exchange Heat Pump Repiping to Save Compressor – West Tisbury

This geothermal rescue involved repiping the refrigerant lines for a five ton direct exchange geothermal heat pump.  We were brought in to the project because the heat pump was overheating and not operating reliably.  The homeowner was concerned that long term damage would result and wanted to know why his system was malfunctioning.   We determined that the root cause of the…

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Geothermal Rescue – Open Loop Water Turns Acidic

This geothermal rescue project involved an open loop geothermal system, corrosive water, and saving multiple heat pumps from premature failure.  Open loop systems use well water to convey the Sun’s energy from the Earth to the geothermal heat pumps inside.  Because heat pumps need up to 3 gallons per minute per ton of capacity, the required flow of water can quickly become…

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Mansion House Heat Recovery Saves $17,000 Annually

The Mansion House is the largest hotel on Martha’s Vineyard as well as the greenest.  They use the 16,000 gallons of groundwater that they pump out of the basement on a daily basis as a source of cooling for their air conditioning system – turning it into a hybrid open/closed geothermal system. For 9 months out of the year, there is an…

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Mansion House on Martha’s Vineyard Goes Geothermal

The Mansion House has over 16,000 gallons per day of groundwater in the basement that must be pumped out.  This represents a tremendous open source geothermal resource that can be used to cool the hotel.     The groundwater is pumped outside to the fluid cooler to remove heat from the geothermal building loop that circulates in the hotel.  The heat pumps in…

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Mansion House upgrades 10 ton Geothermal Heat Pump

We recently replaced the aging 12 ton geothermal heat pump that served the health club at the Mansion House with a new and more efficient 10 ton unit.  This involved a lot of planning and thinking on how to best navigate through the hotel, what heat pump models had different dimensions, and where the tightest fit was along the route from the…

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Net-zero in West Tisbury: Wind Turbine and Geothermal

Nelson Mechanical Design, Inc. installed a geothermal heat pump system in a West Tisbury residence that was electrified by a 5 kW wind turbine.  The use of wind energy and geothermal heating and cooling led to a net-zero energy and carbon footprint for this home.  Since the project was finished over 5 years ago, the homeowners have had no service issues with…

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Net-zero on Lambert’s Cove: Wind Turbine and Direct Exchange Geothermal

This 5,000 squarefoot timber frame Net Zero residence located on Martha’s Vineyard is powered by a 10 kW wind turbine.  One of the primary goals of the mechanical system at the Longview Residence was sustainability – we had to ensure that our annual power use of the mechanical system (combined with the power use of the whole house) would be met and/or…

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Net-zero Yoga Barn: Wind Turbine and Direct Exchange Geothermal

  West Tisbury Net Zero Residence – description This mixed use residence has a large yoga studio on the first floor and living quarters above. Built around the frame of a reclaimed barn (originally built in 1852), this structure features an extremely tight and energy efficient building shell.  As one of Martha’s Vineyard’s two net-zero buildings powered by wind turbines, a 5…

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NMD Lab Geothermal System

The residence of Brian K. Nelson and family houses a very unique mechanical room. For years, the basement of the Nelson Residence has been used as the heating, cooling, and domestic hot water plant for their home. But it has also been used as a testing grounds for new heating and cooling technologies and control systems. Currently, an eight ton horizontal geothermal…

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Radiant Rescue – Inadequate and Uneven Floor Heating – West Tisbury

We were asked to “rescue” a radiant floor heating system in a large Vineyard home – the heating with the radiant floor had always been inadequate for the coldest days of winter, there was not enough tubing installed in the floor, it was poorly zoned, and it was built around a fixed water temperature.  The fixed water temperature meant that the radiant…

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Solar Hot Water – 20 panel Solar Pool and Radiant Heat

We installed this 20 collector solar hot water drain back system to provide pool heat, radiant floor heating, and domestic hot water pre-heat.  It featured a 700 gallon storage tank, primary and secondary circulators, and motorized mixing valves to optimize the use of collected solar energy. Because the solar collectors were recessed into the roof line to make them flush with the…

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