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re: insane house cool-down scheme
15 jun 2005
"noon-air"  wrote in message

>> btw.... nick, all your calculations don't mean squat...

i don't believe there's anything wrong with the physics...

>> if there is anything to them, then why is this stuff you dream up
>> not routinely used in industry standards??

that's a complex question. for a literal answer, "industry standards"
are heavily influenced by manufacturers and others with axes to grind.
as an intellectual property rights (ipr) manager, i helped develop
digital cellphone standards in committees with lots of lawyers and
ipr managers from motorola, nokia, and others pushing to make sure
that whatever standard emerged would infringe their company-patented
techniques so they could collect royalties (oink oink) on every standards
-compliant cellphone manufactured by anyone. it was boring work with
monthly meetings in interesting places... dallas, honolulu, the banff
springs hotel. i never met any member of the public, nor anyone from
a public interest group in our (non-) smoke-filled rooms. they had
little interest and couldn't afford the time and travel expenses.

building codes come from a similar process. insurance companies help
protect the public, with safety and property damage axes to grind.
unions help ensure continued use of cast iron pipe and molten lead.
brick and masonry manufacturers heavily influenced the passive solar
industries council (now the sustainable building industry council)
house design guidelines, which still cripple sunspace performance. 

>> if it is, show me where all this stuff that you dream up is actually
>> in use in the general public and *not* just in one or 2 experimental homes.

harry thomason's cooling scheme has been used in hundreds of homes
around the country from about 1960 till now. more than 2, but still
a small number compared to all us homes. harry was pooh-poohed by
academics for 30 years in a thermal misunderstanding based on a few
of their faulty experiments. the index to duffie and beckman's 1991
bible "solar engineering of thermal processes" does not mention him,
despite his hundreds of solar-heated houses that worked well.

bucky fuller said he learned in school that bumblebees couldn't fly,
based on faulty theories of aerodynamics. he also said any good idea
takes 25 years to catch on.

it's also interesting to ask "if this is such a useful invention, why
hasn't it appeared before now?" one reason might be new or improved
materials. rich komp and harry thomason unsuccessfully tried storing
water in inexpensive poly film ducts 30 years ago, when polyethylene
films had lots of pinholes. today we have very accurate $10 humidity
sensors and $2 microcomputers with on-board a/d converters. and 10.2
eer $69 daewoo air conditioners, with good design and low-cost labor
and large economies of scale. simulations with excellent weather data
run on cheap pcs. so far, solar heating systems have never enjoyed
such large production volumes and economies of scale and competition to
sort out good systems and drive the price down. imo, subsidies have
acted to prevent that and encourage bad systems. national labs have
spent billions on solar heating research, but where are the houses that
heat and cool themselves? these systems can be far simpler than air
conditioners or tvs or cars, but few people know how to fix them when
something goes wrong.

they tend to be custom-designed for different climates and houses,
which makes that process more expensive than designing a house with
a box in the basement. performance gets lost in architectural priorities,
compared to kitchens and curb appeal, even for clients who say it's
important. most architects don't know much about heatflow math, altho
they design beams with similar math. most pv enthusiasts don't know
that ohm's law applies to heatflow, with different units. few realize
that sunspace solar heat can cost a hundred times less per peak watt
than solar electricity, nor that houses need 2-5x more heat energy than
electrical energy. oil companies do, but they don't mention that.
lennox used to claim that winter humidification saves energy... 

there are lots of reasons we don't see more energy-efficient houses.
the main one is cheap energy. at today's prices, we can afford to heat
with lots of oil and cool with lots of electricity, using fairly cheap
machinery that comes in convenient unobtrusive shippable boxes and lives
in basements, vs techniques that can change the whole design and
weird up a house, risking its resale value for a system than may not
even work, so we do that, mostly. you can't manufacture a technique.
it doesn't come in a box. one poster said he'd never use thomason's
cooling scheme because it might leave ugly mineral deposits on his
darkish roof. some hoas in arizona specify that roofs and walls must
be dark, with a low maximum reflectivity. where i live in pa, many
want their new houses to look like they were built 200 years ago. but
some have fast expensive sailboats and use the engine as a last resort,
while third world fishermen dream about outboard motors. solar house
heating might become a competitive high-performance hobby :-) 

scientist john page and others say we may have to burn less oil to
avoid more serious air pollution before it becomes too expensive to buy.
others say gasoline costs a lot more than the pump price, that proper
accounting would allocate the cost of asthma from air pollution and
acid rain rusting cars and raising the price of fish, and expensive
oil wars, and this would make the cost of gas, say, $15/gallon, vs $2
at the pump and another $13 in us income taxes, health care expenses,
and so on. that doesn't count the real economic value of people killed
in iraq, nor global warming some predict will flood half of florida,
nor the effects of tanker spills and species extinction.

>> show me where its commercially available....if there is anything
>> to it, maybe i should be making it available to my customers??

good idea. i expect to see at least one commercial product soon, with
a prototype in july. pierre thomson is developing a reasonably cheap
wireless home automation controller with an open-source basic avr
chip set that will read rh and temp data from sensiron sensors and
turn fans and dampers on and off with the x10/insteon protocol. the
first application would be whole-house fan control, turning the ac off
and turning the fan on when a house needs cooling when outdoor air
is cooler and comfortably dry. it will also be able to cool thermal
mass in a basement at night and circulate air between the house and
the basement during the day, and turn off a furnace and turn on a fan
on a warm winter day when outdoor air is warmer and sufficiently dry
to avoid condensation inside a house and dampen a slab in a southwest
house and prepare us income tax returns. how many would you like?

nick




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