Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘solar’

Attached greenhouses have numerous advantages in addition to just growing plants.

Attached greenhouses have numerous advantages in addition to just growing plants.


“Building your own greenhouse is a great idea if you are a gardener and want space to start seedlings, or grow plants that require a longer growing season than your climate can normally provide.

But a standalone greenhouse is one thing — an attached greenhouse design for your house brings in a whole other host of benefits to be considered that extend beyond the conveniences of growing food more easily.

Read on ahead to learn about all the reasons to consider an attached greenhouse design for your home — they include providing additional free heat, extending living space, and supplying space to grow food for a longer period of time.”

Read the entire article at the source: The Year of Mud
And while you’re there, check out Ziggy’s Timber Frame Workshops at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage.

Read Full Post »

The Cool Box

How to Make a Pot in Pot Cooler

Much of the content here on our Earthbag Building Blog is based on reader input and reader interest. We’ve already responded to thousands of comments and suggestions. I got an email the other day asking for advice about low cost refrigeration for off grid homes. They said they have the earthbag housing part figured out. And they have a small solar panel for LED lighting and charging their cell phones and laptops. But they’re looking for alternative energy sources and methods for keeping food cool. I’ve already covered Cool Pantries that keep food cool without electricity in fairly good detail, so now I would like to list some interesting YouTube videos. There are many more videos on this and related topics. This list of some of the better videos will help get you started. Use the keywords below to search for more videos on each type: pot in pot, Peltier, etc.

A Fridge Run Without Electricity Creates Waves Amongst Villagers
Refrigeration Without Electricity
Solar Powered Evaporative Cooler
How to Make a Fridge Root Cellar
No Power Fridge
Zeer Pot Fridge
Emily Cummins
Adam Grosser: A New Vision for Refrigeration
Free Energy Fridge
Peltier Effect Fridge
Peltier Cooler Fun
Solar Fridge Test
Solar Hydrogen Home
Solar Chilling and Cooling
Solar Venti Earth Cooling Kit
Solar Evaporative Cooler
DIY Refrigeration System

Read Full Post »

Socrates’ sun-tempered house

Socrates’ sun-tempered house


What is an optimum house shape that stays warm in winter and cool in summer without reliance on outside energy sources? Designers have grappled with this question since ancient times. Socrates, the Greek philosopher, studied this problem about 2,500 years ago. His solution – Socrates House as it’s now referred to — is a trapezoid shaped house with the long side facing the sun. The roof overhang on the south blocks the hot summer sun, yet allows the winter sun to penetrate into the home. The roof slopes down in the back to avoid winter winds.

From the article referenced below: In Book III, Chapter VIII, of Xenophon’s Memorabilia of Socrates, written a few decades after Aeschylus, and in the midst of a Greek wood fuel shortage, the Greek philosopher, Socrates, observed:

“Now in houses with a south aspect, the sun’s rays penetrate into the porticos in winter, but in the summer, the path of the sun is right over our heads and above the roof, so that there is shade. If then this is the best arrangement, we should build the south side loftier to get the winter sun and the north side lower to keep out the winter winds. To put it shortly, the house in which the owner can find a pleasant retreat at all seasons and can store his belongings safely is presumably at once the pleasantest and the most beautiful.”

While the Greek house that Socrates described probably lost heat as fast as it was collected, due to convective and radiation losses through the wall openings, the later Romans discovered that if the south-facing portico and windows of buildings were covered with sheets of mica or glass supported on wooden frames, the solar energy passing into the building would be trapped inside causing the internal temperature to stay more or less constant into the night.”

Read the full article at the source: Dennis Holloway Architect
(excellent summary of solar design principles)
Also recommended: The Passive Solar Energy Book (Expanded Professional Edition), by Edward Mazria, published by Rodale Press.

Read Full Post »

Passive Annual Heat Storage (PAHS) diagram

Passive Annual Heat Storage (PAHS) diagram


A simple underground house design uses a novel insulating/water-shedding blanket that covers the structure and surrounding soil. The umbrella creates a huge subterranean thermal reservoir that soaks up the sun’s energy during summertime and stores it for winter heating. In many cases, the clever design makes a heating system unnecessary.
By John Hait

My first earth-sheltered house, an underground geodesic dome was partially complete when the truckload of insulation my colleagues and I had ordered arrived. Right away, we knew we had a problem: How do you put flat, rigid polystyrene insulation on a round house?

We called housing experts all over the country, but no one had any ideas. Finally, Ray Sterling at the University of Minnesota’s Underground Space Center suggested that we place a flat, insulating “umbrella” in the earth above the building. This, he said, would keep the domelike house warm by insulating the soil around it.

“What a marvelous idea!” I thought when I heard his advice. After two weeks of rigorous examination, I realized that the concept was even more promising than I’d supposed. By then I was convinced that the dry earth under an insulating/water-shedding umbrella could store enough free solar heat from the summertime to warm the house through the entire winter (see diagrams above). This meant that a house could actually be constructed with an unchanging built-in temperature, which would make heating and cooling equipment unnecessary. Now, five years later, I still think it’s a marvelous idea. The Geodome, the house we built in the cold and cloudy climate of western Montana, remains at 66 to 68 degrees F, even through the coldest winters.

The success of the Geodome led to the establishment of the Rocky Mountain Research Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the development of what is now called the passive annual heat storage (PAHS) approach to free year-round passive-solar heating. Four basic points make PAHS different from techniques used in conventional solar-heated earth-sheltered houses:

– The house’s window shades are opened to collect solar heat in summer.
– The umbrella’s laminated sandwich of polystyrene insulation and polyethylene sheeting (about R-20) insulates a huge mass of surrounding dirt instead of just the house.
– The umbrella sheds water to keep the soil around the house dry.
– The natural-convection-driven ventilation tubes (see below) provide very high heat retention efficiency by acting as counter-flow heat exchangers.

Read the full article that was published in Popular Science magazine at the source: Earth Shelters.com (more good diagrams and details)

Read Full Post »

Casi Terminado School built by Escuela de Energia Solar in Mexico

Casi Terminado School built by Escuela de Energia Solar in Mexico


Escuela de energía solar (EES) is an independent solar energy school to provide solar energy education oriented to Spanish speaking people. Our mission in EES is to teach and train people with basic school background or more to design, install and maintain solar energy systems and other renewable energy technologies. We also train in the usage of natural construction materials for economic home building.

We also seek in the long term, that ecology teaching becomes an integral part of children education, and give this ecology education no less importance than English or computers, in a way that future generations can stop damaging the earth.

Internships
Activities vary, but most likely you would be helping us in the following activities :
1. Workshop logistics
2. Help in building facilities that we are developing using natural building techniques like straw bale and earth bags
3. Pine tree planting
4. Daily work span is for 5 hours

Source: Escuela de Energia Solar
Spanish version: Escuela de Energia Solar

Read Full Post »

Here’s another potential alternative energy source that sounds really amazing.

Joule Unlimited Technologies has received the 2011 Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Award in the Energy category and was also named the Silver award winner across all of the competition’s 16 categories, from more than 600 entries around the globe.

“We are honored to be the Wall Street Journal’s choice for the most innovative energy company, and to be recognized even beyond our industry as one of the world’s top innovators overall,” said Bill Sims, President and CEO of Joule.

“We started with a big idea – the direct conversion of sunlight to fuel without raw material feedstocks – and four years later we’ve proven the process, optimized the technology, built a strong patent portfolio and laid the groundwork for commercial production to begin in 2013. We will bring much-needed scalability and infrastructure-readiness to the renewable fuels space, with a platform that can yield multiple products, including valuable, fungible diesel fuel vs. a blendstock like biodiesel. We appreciate this recognition of our company’s efforts to successfully innovate outside of today’s common ‘biofuel’ definition,” said Sims.

Source: Domestic Fuel.com
Joule Unlimited Technologies

Read Full Post »

Traditional pit house at Mesa Verde

Traditional pit house at Mesa Verde


Modern Solar Pit House for extremely cold climates (click to enlarge)

Modern Solar Pit House for extremely cold climates (click to enlarge)


I’ll never forget the Native American museum exhibit of a pit house in Anchorage, Alaska. I couldn’t stop staring at it. Pit houses are so simple and yet so effective that people lived in structures like this for thousands of years with relatively minimal environmental harm. This building method and lifestyle really captures my imagination and provides many lessons for modern societies.

Earth sheltered housing is the way to go, especially in harsh, cold climates like Canada. I’m surprised more people don’t build along these lines. Why not take what’s proven to work and update the design to suit our needs? That’s exactly what I did with this design. I was looking at pit houses on the Internet and realized you could just add windows on one side and greatly improve the design. And instead of a square, make it rectangular for additional solar gain. Yesterday’s post showed the proposed Solar Pit House floorplan. Tomorrow’s post will examine the section view and structural details.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »