Thursday, June 6, 2013
THE PLENUM SYSTEM
Cave men lived in caves and enjoyed the normal earth temperature of 70 Degrees Fahrenheit. I took this concept into the present in Phoenix, California over two decades by using the crawl space of a home as its cooling chamber and slowly circulating the cool air throughout the structure for a very efficient system. We further installed underground ducts from underground to pull in fresh air using the earth’s natural temperature to mix and cool down the intake air. A great success in Arizona. However, in California, we were denied the use of this Plenum system, citied as a Building Mechanical Code Violation. Go Figure!
Earth ducts are widely used in Germany and other parts of Europe. Warm air is drawn into the duct using low-pressure mechanical fans, where it gradually cools as it passes thru the ducts and is than routed into the interior space. The earth ducts work in parallel with the conventional cooling and heating systems and reduces energy costs. Studies have proven that virtually all heating and cooling loads have been eliminated by this method.
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Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Are our local city, county and state government codes and restrictions, not keeping up with our changing demands for energy free or more efficient sustainable features? Just ask the homeowner who wants to be energy efficient. He is running into all new obstacles with the local government. The permit process lengthy time and extensive fees make it almost impossible to consider for the average homeowner. In Los Angeles county, you may pay up to $10,000.00 in fees for a wind turbine, not to mention the installation cost. California is considered the most costly state when it comes to accepting sustainable energy. California restrictions give neighbors rights to object to solar panels on roofs and windmills in backyards that are recognized more than your rights to saving energy. Until the local government’s lax or change codes conservation of energy will continue to be a problem here and in the United States. If we would just look at what Western Europe and the United Kingdom has done and forget the red tape, we would be better off. For example, Germany’s building-integrated photovoltaic on south facing walls, In the U.S., we build building to last 20 – 30 years and in Europe buildings, they are built permanently and with permanent solutions. With this, permanent solutions promote a design approach that provides multiply uses of a single element. The political differences also influence the approach, to sustainable building. Local government should immediately push for:
1. On-site renewable energy, solar, wind and geothermal
2. External solar shading devices (parking lots, car ports, etc.)
3. Triple glazing windows and operable windows
4. Use of water for cooling and the re-use of water supply – water recycling
5. Radiant cooling
6. Façade ventilation and fresh air exchange
7. Floor plans providing day lighting to all rooms and work spaces
8. Mixed ventilation with thermal chimneys in atriums, etc.
We should learn from what is already practiced in Europe with the sustainable program or risk becoming further behind in the global scope of climate change.
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