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Shades of heat storage
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Posted: Thursday, August 7, 2008 at 10:43 AM
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In the past while I've run across many types of heat storage.

1) Earthship - store heat in lots of ground under/around your home via solar gain by having a south wall of just windows.

2) Solviva solar greenhouse - tombre wall based, it seems too hoaky to me to fly

3) Kachadorrian passive solar house using a "solar slab" - put the tombre wall on the floor and pass air thru it - use the tens of tons of concrete you're putting in anyways to moderate temperature swings.  This home uses primarily south facing glass for winter heat gain on the time scale of days. The book documents how well the systems works by measurements.

4) One book I'm reading (name escapes me) uses a solar hot water system to dump it's late summer and fall heat into about 100 tons of sand insulated sand bed under the home - which then, slowly, conducts the heat into the concrete floor.  There seems to be little in the way of measurements - the only numbers I've found is that the sand bed gets raised to about 40C.

5) An Alberta project where they use massive water tanks and heat a patch of ground - to then suck the heat out in winter.  This is a technological tour-de-force - complex, expensive; but gosh darn, by the numbers, it's gotta work.

6) The path choosen by most is to use passive solar gain on a patch of ground - sucked and blown for heating and cooling.  While this is simpler than #5 it's not as fancy and gee-wiz.

I like things simple.  A bit more reading and browsing found this:

http://www.greenershelter.org/index.php?pg=1

He uses the ground to store heat - uninsulated, dry, ground under the home.  The climate he's doing it in (Spokane WA) isn't as cold as ours (only hitting about -5C winter); but it is cloudy like us.  I like that it involves really no machines, no refigerants, no pumps or active collectors.  50 years ago people survived and bedpans froze overnight - but it would be nice to have a warmer home than that.

Don of GreenerShelter does point out that you're going to bring the air temperature in a home to around 27C and says that it's uncomfortable; but I disagree.  30C and up starts to get uncomfortable - but 27C is ok.  What I prefer is a constant temperature - not massive fluctations of humidity and temperature.

Anyways- there are the shades of heat storage.  I've been in Earthships here in Southern Ontario and I would not call them cool in the summer - but that makes sense in terms of having to heat up the ground around the home.  I've also seen glass seal failures in both Earthships and they both used sloping glass.

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