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B a s e m e n t    E n e r g y   .C o m
A "Wet Basement" Inspired Invention  
The Fresh-Air "Geo-Ventilation" Energy System


Basement Energy / Geo-Thermal Mass / Whole Home

Fresh-Air Ventilation /Cooling and Heating System


Imagine your moldy damp basement becoming a dry, mold free, allergen free, radon free, healthy usable living space. Then imagine that same space creating the energy needed to heat and/or cool your home lowering your utility bills significantly.  Imagine the real-estate value added to your home when all of the above is coupled with the new square footage found in what was considered an unlivable basement. Imagine no more because this dream is a reality created by Basement Energy. 


Annapolis has the world's first Earth or Geo-Ventilation, "Basement Energy" system. After months of research the first prototype began development in winter of 2010 and by the fall of 2011the plans were underway to install the first system in the Bardwell Residence. Just completed in the fall of 2012, the first installation of its kind using this patented energy system confirms this system as a new viable energy source. Realized through collaboration between a builder, scientist, and an architect, this geo-thermal system is pending 30% federal energy tax credit approval for all associated cost of the energy system. 


After years of development the creators met at the gutted remodel of the Bardwell construction project to plan the first application of the Basement Energy System. When they left the dwelling, they shared the same enthusiasm similar to that of young pioneers about to navigate uncharted territory. Together they developed a new system utilizing the basement slab and foundation walls for geo thermal energy transfer and storage. Geo-thermal or “Geo Ventilation,” in a nut shell, uses the earth to provide cooling and heating, by ventilating a basement structure that has been encapsulated with air tight insulated panels creating the “Geo Cavity.”


Skip Bennett, Klas Haglid, and Jimmy/James Wright meet at Middleton’s Tavern during the winter of 2011to further plan the Bardwell install.  At dinner, they discussed the current state of the home building industry, and the possibilities of the "Geo-Ventilation” prototype’s potential impact on the future of home construction. While sitting in front of the warm glowing fire, the "Trio" toasted with passionate energy to the future. The ambience, combined with the historical setting of that fire lit dinner, reminded James, that possibly, George Washington , Thomas Jefferson , and Benjamin Franklin may have dined together in the very same spot, 236 years ago celebrating the independence of our country.


           At Middleton’s Tavern the trio discussed, in home air quality issues, and rising energy costs and how each has affected the recent changes in the home building industry. The "tightening up" of our homes to save money is creating unhealthful living environments. Moisture caused by “Dew Point” inside of your basement from high summer humidity and a cool basement structure, can become very unhealthy. The traditional solution is to increase dehumidification, causing over-cooling and excess energy use. In a response to the issues associated with indoor air qualities, and energy conservation, the concept of a "home as a system," has been adopted as the new approach advocated by the leading building science professionals of today.  The traditional home is now becoming more air tight and very well insulated. These are the fundamental principles of a "Passive House.” An air tight home, with a fresh air energy recovery ventilation system, that uses less power than a single 100 watt light bulb.


           Tightening up of our homes has resulted in government awareness for health concerns relating to indoor air quality. For example, now in California the new building code requires mechanical fresh air ventilation for all new residences and remodels of 1000 square feet or more.


With the current government incentives of tax credits for solar and geo-thermal systems, it has inspired the geo-cavity / whole home ventilation system. Your existing home's basement, can now become an energy producer, creating a return on investment (ROI), by the utility bill savings each month. In addition your moldy and damp basement, can now becomes a radon free, healthful quality space, and adding to the equity of your home.

Klas Haglid who did the technical engineering for the Bardwell residence, holds over 300 patents, and specializes in energy recovery ventilation. Klas says, “There is a balance between excellence in building envelopes and HVAC optimization, and we do this a with computer algorithms”. The computer modeling energy data of the basement energy system, shows that the basement geo-cavity of the Bardwell House gets this amazing performance by using geothermal pre-tempering of outside air or cooling the internal air with the thermal mass in the floor and walls of the basement from the special under the floor ventilation system than can for a period of time provide up to 1.52 tons of geothermal mass cooling. Typically, the HVAC system for a house of this size would normally be 5 tons, but with the high efficiency building envelope, basement geo-cavity thermal preconditioning, and Klas’s energy recovery unit (an heat exchanger or energy recovery device to precondition outdoor air with exhaust air) the HVAC system can be replace with a unit under a single ton or with a ¼ ton dedicated dehumidifier system that will not have to run very often.  In addition, to amplify the dehumidification by another 80%, using a direct counter flow energy recovery unit, the patent device delivers dehumidification reduction in the order of one dollar spent to three dollars saved.

This earth / geo air conditioning based on the calculations from the energy modeling program, shows no cooling required.  In fact with night time and periods of cooler weather, the system can over cool, allowing the thermal mass to fly wheel or drift for an extended period of time during sweltering hot muggy weather, therefore never requiring cooling, only dehumidification.  This cooling contribution, by the earth tempering of the air, enables the pending federal energy tax credit of 30%.

When a “Basement Energy System” is placed in series with a Passive House energy recovery ventilation system, it requires no additional power to operate. Passive houses consumes 90% less energy that typical homes. With this Geo-Solar hybrid “home as a system,” we predict performance to be close to 95% annual energy reduction. The biggest bump for this system is a super air tight enclosure with fortified insulation. Our combined system is approaching "Net Zero,” which can simply be accomplished with a small photo voltaic array of 5KW or less.

The potential for historical preservation by ventilating very old structures replacing the infiltration (air leakage), standard for building health and preservation. We can now allow historical dwellings to become energy efficient. "I am particularly excited about old historic buildings", says Wright. "In fact, we currently have a historic landmark home in California that we have renovated to passive house standards, as well as exceeding the Net Zero status. Actually, this 1892 six bedroom residence has become a Net Positive dwelling producing excess power for its future guest house or electric vehicle."

Basement energy is waiting beneath the 102 million homes that exist in the United States alone, and if we can capture only a small portion of this resource, we can greatly contribute to the growing energy shortage facing the sustainability of our children's future.


Skip Bennett South River Marina 1061 Turkey Point Road Mayo, MD 21037(410) 798-1717

Haglid Engineering & Associates, Inc. 80 Broadway Hillsdale, NJ 07642 (201) 722-1233

James Phillip Wright Architects 209 Moraga Way, Orinda, CA 94563 (925) 945-1111





Orignal 1940's Basement


Floor Encapsulation


Thermal Mass Slab



Interior Moisture control with "Geo-Ventilation"

Air Tight Encapsulation


Typical Interior Wall Framing

Mechanical Room




No Mechanical Maintenance (only simple air filter cleaning)