Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Geothermal HVAC

Here's a video that nicely summarizes geothermal cooling an heating in HVAC design. The startup that put this together is getting mentoring help through a partnership between the US DOE and SBA.

Indie Energy Smart Geothermal™ for Buildings from Indie Energy on Vimeo.

I made some reference to this kind of process in a recent presentation on biomimicry for one of my Environmental Studies classes. Looking at a termite mound, you can see the inspiration for both solar chimneys and geothermal cooling.
The sun heats the tower potion of the system, using convection to passively drive air flow. Air is drawn in through tunnels that go well below the surface, accessing the cooler temperatures below ground. Thus the termites are able to keep certain chambers very consistent in temperature and humidity in hot, arid climates.

When building employ these kinds of systems, they can cut their heating and cooling costs drastically.
Amory Lovins' did an excellent article in the April '05 Scientific American that included a field tested prototype in a home near Bangkok, Thailand.

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