Rumer-Loudin, Inc.

150 Year Old Farmstead Updated With Geothermal Technology


Cockayne House after exterior renovations” by Cockayne Farmstead – given by historical society representative. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Cockayne Farmstead, originally named Glen Dale Farm, located in Glen Dale, West Virginia, was originally an internationally prominent American Merino sheep farm covering over 300 acres in the 1870’s. When the reclusive final heir, Samuel A. J. Cockayne, passed away in 2001, he left his home and contents to the city of Glen Dale. The Marshall County Historical Society and The Town of Glen Dale set about to preserve the farmstead.

The Cockayne Farmstead Preservation Committee was formed and one of the first things they did was make application for the Farmstead to be placed on the National Registry of Historic Places, which occurred in December of 2002. They developed a master plan, conducted an archeology survey, and began preserving the exterior of the home using various grants and donations. That phase was completed on November 3, 2009.

When preservation of the interior began, one of the first tasks was to log, tag, and remove over 1500 items accumulated over three centuries such as art, glassware, furniture, and correspondence. When the interior work was completed and the items returned for display, their preservation as well as that of the home was of utmost importance and climate control with energy conscientiousness was a primary factor.

Original “green” technology for the home included strategically placed windows, attic dormers and doors for ventilation and light, fireplaces in every room, and a wrap-around porch. Current “green” technology was going to be a bit more sophisticated with a remotely monitored and controlled temperature and humidity system , a geothermal heat pump and steam humidifier. All of this new technology needed to be installed with little structural impact.

For the geothermal heat pump portion of the project, Rumer-Loudin, Inc. was chosen because of their 24 years of experience installing geothermal systems in residential and commercial properties. As well, due to the property’s proximity to the Ohio River, Sid Loudin, President, knew there would be challenges drilling the wells. During a commercial geothermal installation on the Ohio side of the river, ancient riverbed was encountered, consisting of primarily gravel until bedrock was struck. The gravel keeps falling in and filling the holes so Sid knew the driller had to be able to case the wells until gravel was no longer an issue. Dillan Drilling from Darlington, PA, a West Virginia licensed driller, was chosen to complete that portion of the loop installation. Because dirt was being disturbed at an historic site with an Indian burial mound nearby, an archaeologist had to be available to examine any artifacts which may have been unearthed.

Another challenge was how to configure the loop. Over the years, the farmstead had been reduced to the home plus 1/2 acre of ground. To accommodate the linear footage necessary for the 6 ton loop, four 320 foot wells were drilled rather than fewer and more shallow wells.

To move air without disturbing walls with duct installation, the fireplace chimneys were used as chaseways and lined with stainless flex pipe. Insulated ductwork was installed in the attic. The geothermal compressor bearing unit was accommodated by a second floor bathroom, but the pumps to circulate the loop water were installed in the cellar. The brand and model used was a Bosch 6 ton 2-stage model TA071 with a high pressure Bosch flow center model 7738. The system went into operation in October of 2013.

The architect was Heritage Architectural Associates. The general contractor was Centennial Preservation Group. The control system was installed by Quantum Controls Group. 2Funding for the interior preservation, including climate control, came from a federal Transportation Enhancement grant and through a Cultural Facilities Capital Resources Grant awarded by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, and the National Endowment for the Arts with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts as well as donations from many citizens and businesses.

Why preserve such a place? As the Farmstead website states, “The house and contents are a living museum, representative of the lifestyles, values and work ethic of those Americans who helped to build this State and this Nation.” Read more about this project on the The Intelligencer/Wheeling News Register website.

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