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How can I go sans air conditioner in central Oklahoma without being miserable?

 
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Land is located just to the north of Oklahoma City. It can be extremely hot. It's not uncommon for Summer highs to get above 110. It can be dry or very humid, or in between. An average Summer is highs around 100 with lows in the 90s.

The soil here is clay, so it makes going underground risky. Very few people have basements, and many if not most of the ones who do don't recommend it. There are very few companies willing to do basements in this area, and the ones who do take all kinds of special measures, and even then it's controversial.

I'm wondering about straw bale houses. Could a properly built straw bale house stay comfortable in the Summer?
 
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The way I figure it, people lived without air conditioning for thousands of years. But our modern building techniques aren't very "non A/C" friendly.

I am assuming that you haven't yet built your house? If so, my two cents:

1. Build it with windows toward the prevailing winds. That is, if your prevailing winds are from the west, put some windows along the west side and east side of your home. Since those sides will also get most of the sun though, be sure to put overhanging eaves to keep the harsh sun from entering the house. Older homes in my area were built this way. They were called "shotgun houses" because they were long and narrow. Most of the doors and windows were placed to catch the breeze. The interior rooms stayed relatively cool.

Also, build with northern facing windows to keep cooler, shady areas open too. (They can be covered with heavy curtains during the colder winter months.)

2. My great grandmother would open all the windows of her home very early in the morning to allow as much of the cool outside air into her home. Then, as the sun rose, she closed the windows and drapes. She ran fans as needed.

3. Look at "wofati" style homes. There are several threads here on the subject. Given Oklahoma's tornado history, this style might be very preferable to traditional stick-built homes.

4. Investigate putting an attic fan in your house. We installed one last year and were very happy with it. We were able to keep our A/C set to 80 degrees most days, we had lots of ventilation, and we didn't feel oppressed by the heat. Our highest electric bill was only $185. (1200 sq. ft. house)

5. This might sound silly, but back in the days when people kept ice boxes in their homes, they often put their bed sheets into the ice box. At night, they had cool, damp sheets to fall asleep under.

6. I know you want to be without A/C completely, but you might consider getting one window unit just for the comfort factor. Keeping it cool in one room might be a life saver if anyone in your family was sick/feverish. Placing it on a north-facing window would help keep it shaded.

7. Cook outside whenever possible. BBQ grills, solar ovens, etc. Avoid the stove whenever possible. Even showering with warm water can heat up the house. We have an outdoor shower we use during the summer months.

You mentioned straw bale houses. I'm wondering about how tornado-proof they are? I'm not sure. You'd need to follow applicable building codes. We don't get as many tornadoes here in Georgia as you do in Oklahoma, but I think a light-colored brick/adobe would be more wind-proof and heat reflective. Others here will definitely be able to clarify.

Edited to add: Plant quick-growing, deciduous trees along the south side of the property. The shade will be welcome in the summer, but the bare branches will let the sun warm up the house in the winter.
 
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You never say if you will be on grid or off. The size of home comes into question as well.  So do things like your age and if you will have others with you. So, I will shot gun my answer.  I doubt if everything here will apply to you.

1.  Have a metal roof to reflect the sun .   Make sure what is under the roof is ventilated.  
2.  Design for an attic fan, even if you are off grid. Things change.
3.  Have a screened sleeping porch.
4.  Plan windows with prevailing winds in mind.
5.  Design one room to take a small air conditioner.  I realize that people lived for thousands of years without AC.   But a $100 AC and a small generator could save your life. You don’t have to run it all the time. Besides, a small AC can run on solar.
6.  No matter what kind of house you decide on, keep in  mind you may want to sell it some day.
 
pollinator
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Living in tornado territory, I would for sure look at a small basement or storm shelter, perhaps it could double as a cold room for storage, or a heat sink when hot?

As to living without AC, keep in mind that heat rises, and cold comes in from down low - another advantage of a basement - as a kid, Dad would turn on the furnace fan and circulate the cool basement air around the house.  Five years ago we faced this very question, although our climate is more temperate than yours, there are weeks at a time that the outside temp is easily high 30's C (over 100 F), and it can be unbearable.  We ended up nixing the AC.

Instead we designed the house with lots of high, under the eaves double glazed windows (would have LOVED a clerestory) that we open as soon as the monitored indoor temp is higher than the outside - all curtains AND windows are thrown open at that time (kept closed during the hot portion of the day).  The first few years, it was okay, most of the time, but still, those few weeks in Aug and July were killers, and we would be hovering around 30C/87F indoors.  We then installed huge ceiling fans in every room, and added another 12 inches to the what was "code" in the attic and roofed the 500sq ft, southwest facing deck in smoked, translucent panels to keep the sun from beating on the side of the house.  We have two years now where we have not exceeded 25C/77F within the house.  Sadly, it is a manufactured home, with six inch walls and only a crawlspace, but I still turn on the furnace fan, to push out the hot air at night.

If you are looking at straw bale, it would seem to me the wall insulation would be very high, so if I were in your shoes, based on what I learned here, I would concentrate on over insulating the attic, using ceiling fans and consider spending the extra on double or triple pane windows, that open.
 
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Jack Banks wrote:The soil here is clay, so it makes going underground risky. Very few people have basements, and many if not most of the ones who do don't recommend it. There are very few companies willing to do basements in this area, and the ones who do take all kinds of special measures, and even then it's controversial.


What sort of clay are we talking about? This is utterly strange to me. I grew up in deep clay, and it was like concrete -- compacted rock flour that held its shape. Everybody had basements. More information please.
 
Jack Banks
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Stacie Kim wrote:The way I figure it, people lived without air conditioning for thousands of years. But our modern building techniques aren't very "non A/C" friendly.

I am assuming that you haven't yet built your house? If so, my two cents:

1. Build it with windows toward the prevailing winds. That is, if your prevailing winds are from the west, put some windows along the west side and east side of your home. Since those sides will also get most of the sun though, be sure to put overhanging eaves to keep the harsh sun from entering the house. Older homes in my area were built this way. They were called "shotgun houses" because they were long and narrow. Most of the doors and windows were placed to catch the breeze. The interior rooms stayed relatively cool.

Also, build with northern facing windows to keep cooler, shady areas open too. (They can be covered with heavy curtains during the colder winter months.)

2. My great grandmother would open all the windows of her home very early in the morning to allow as much of the cool outside air into her home. Then, as the sun rose, she closed the windows and drapes. She ran fans as needed.

3. Look at "wofati" style homes. There are several threads here on the subject. Given Oklahoma's tornado history, this style might be very preferable to traditional stick-built homes.

4. Investigate putting an attic fan in your house. We installed one last year and were very happy with it. We were able to keep our A/C set to 80 degrees most days, we had lots of ventilation, and we didn't feel oppressed by the heat. Our highest electric bill was only $185. (1200 sq. ft. house)

5. This might sound silly, but back in the days when people kept ice boxes in their homes, they often put their bed sheets into the ice box. At night, they had cool, damp sheets to fall asleep under.

6. I know you want to be without A/C completely, but you might consider getting one window unit just for the comfort factor. Keeping it cool in one room might be a life saver if anyone in your family was sick/feverish. Placing it on a north-facing window would help keep it shaded.

7. Cook outside whenever possible. BBQ grills, solar ovens, etc. Avoid the stove whenever possible. Even showering with warm water can heat up the house. We have an outdoor shower we use during the summer months.

You mentioned straw bale houses. I'm wondering about how tornado-proof they are? I'm not sure. You'd need to follow applicable building codes. We don't get as many tornadoes here in Georgia as you do in Oklahoma, but I think a light-colored brick/adobe would be more wind-proof and heat reflective. Others here will definitely be able to clarify.

Edited to add: Plant quick-growing, deciduous trees along the south side of the property. The shade will be welcome in the summer, but the bare branches will let the sun warm up the house in the winter.



The wofati thing is intriguing. I have been interested in earthships for a long time, and that looks like the same basic concept. The main problem would be that there's not large timber on the property. The largest timber we have would be red cedars, which are kind of short. The other problem is I don't think our soil drains well enough to make that work here. Pretty sure it would flood just like a basement.
 
Jack Banks
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John F Dean wrote:You never say if you will be on grid or off. The size of home comes into question as well.  So do things like your age and if you will have others with you. So, I will shot gun my answer.  I doubt if everything here will apply to you.

1.  Have a metal roof to reflect the sun .   Make sure what is under the roof is ventilated.  
2.  Design for an attic fan, even if you are off grid. Things change.
3.  Have a screened sleeping porch.
4.  Plan windows with prevailing winds in mind.
5.  Design one room to take a small air conditioner.  I realize that people lived for thousands of years without AC.   But a $100 AC and a small generator could save your life. You don’t have to run it all the time. Besides, a small AC can run on solar.
6.  No matter what kind of house you decide on, keep in  mind you may want to sell it some day.



We would like to go off grid, because there aren't utilities on the property. Bringing them in would cost a small fortune. Unfortunately so would running AC off solar.

Living without AC here isn't an option. Even when I was younger, camping in the Summer was unbearable.

The only way we could go off grid is if we could find a viable building style that would stay cool even in the brutally hot and sometimes humid Summer months.
 
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Jack, welcome to Permies! My husband and I gave up air conditioning about 6 years ago and we live in South Carolina. Granted, we don't get quite as hot as you do; typical summer highs here are upper 90s with only occasionally topping out over 100F. And we usually drop into the 70s at night. I don't know if you have a lot of humidity, but that's a real problem here when the weather is coming up off the Gulf.

I think your idea of a straw bale house is worth looking into. We bought a nearly 100-year-old house which we have gradually upgraded for better energy efficiency. We've done the things suggested here, along with the common sense methods of shade trees, pulling in cool air at night and then closing the house up during the day, keeping windows on the sunny side of the house covered, use a summer kitchen for summer cooking and canning, and installing a solar attic fan (that helped a lot). In the heat of summer, our indoor temperature tops out in the mid-80sF. Warmer than what most people are used to, but tolerable with ceiling fans. The benefit of not using air conditioning is that it isn't such a shock to one's body when going outdoors. We're not going from 70* to 95*, we're only going from 85* to 95*. We avoid the draining sensation of physical, mental, and emotional wilt every time we go outdoors (and because of our lifestyle, we're outdoors a lot! As an aside, I hate errand days, when I have to go in and out of multiple air conditioned stores. The temp differences are a shock to my system.)

My two biggest challenges are:
1. the humidity
2. food storage

We tend to have bad humidity anyway, but in the house--even though I don't cook or can inside--we still use the sinks and showers. I have to be constantly vigilant against mildew. Good air circulation helps, so we have fans running almost all of the time.

Food storage is more challenging because, of course, warmer temps decrease shelf life. We don't have a root cellar because our ground temperature doesn't stay cool enough in summer to probably make the effort and expense of building one worth it. My pantry is the best insulated room in the house, but only stays several degrees cooler than the kitchen. I have seriously considered what John said about a small air conditioner for the pantry only. I've crunched the numbers, and he's right, it's feasible to run a very small window unit from solar.  

Going AC-less wasn't an easy decision to make. Even now, I have to constantly remind myself is that summer is hot and winter is cold, and that's just the way things are. As others have said, humankind has lived most of its existence without indoor climate control. So personally, it's a decision I'm glad we made. In a way, there's a sense of freedom in it, both physically and financially, although I realize such a decision isn't for everyone.
 
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A couple of thoughts...

First, on the lack of basements and clay, I suspect this is more about water table than soil type.

I have read that designing a ventilated roof so that air can pass from under the eaves up under the roof deck exit at the peak can have an effect similar to a good shade tree.

In the 50’s in was not uncommon to see houses with awnings over windows on the sunny sides of the house. They became so ubiquitous aluminum versions promising durability became common and can still be found occasionally.
 
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Just a suggestion, have a storm shelter dug in before the house and then build on top of it.

Other than that everyone has already said about other every suggestion.
 
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Hello! I've been lurking for a while now but felt a need to finally make an account to answer you since I am originally from NW Oklahoma City, had a sort-of basement in heavy red clay and lived through some summers there without A/C

My home growing up had a walk-out basement in heavy clay soil (it basically looked like it had one more story from the back than it did from the front). For this lower level, picture a rectangle with stairs at one end... there was a long, decently wide hallway (walking + shelf room) against the back against the clay and bedrooms at the front. The brick/stone wall against the dirt never had any issues (house was built in the 60s) and was like a big cold pack when the outer areas of the house started heating up. The windows/doors in the bedrooms were shaded from direct sun by the deck off of the second story. It definitely had a huge effect on keeping the temperature nicer there, and we were very secure from storms/tornadoes.

At one point in the 2000s (house was 40+ old at this point), there were some cracking issues in the level between the basement/main floor that rendered the A/C worthless (it was basically blowing between the floors and escaping) - but this was on an older house on clay soil, where foundation shifts are common even without basements. It took a few years before mom could get it fixed, but afterwards it has worked like new again.

During that time I was a college kid living at home, so I got to share in the "fun" in the 115+ weather.

What's been said earlier about scheduling your summer days around the heat is spot-on, and good to understand no matter what when you live in climates like OK - even with A/C you're better off doing your bursts of outside activity and work when it's early and late enough to be cooler, right? Good blackout curtains for the brightest parts of the day and windows with airflow (and good bug screens!!!) for when it cools down. I am normally a wake at 6 and bed at 10 person, but during no-AC summers I'm naturally up at 5 or 6, done when heat hits at around 10, try to nap a bit during the day, and get productive again around 8-9 at night, then midnight sleep.

Having the kitchen and stuff on the "main" floor above the basement was good, minimal cooking heat spreading to bedrooms.

When we moved to England and got some unusually hot weather in no-A/C housing last summer, it was a lot easier for us to manage than some of our other American neighbors because I was able to keep our house substantially cooler just by following my old habits.

Anyways, just posting to say, yep, we had a basement in clay in mid-OK and I would definitely recommend it, even if you might have to do some foundation work in 4 decades, because settling/cracking is unfortunately not an uncommon issue for regular houses with no basement levels there anyway - in fact, if we ever move back when the military run-around is done, I intend to build a similar style since it worked so well (and husband will never go full wofati with me, alas)

Good luck with it all!
 
Jack Banks
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Leigh Tate wrote:Jack, welcome to Permies! My husband and I gave up air conditioning about 6 years ago and we live in South Carolina. Granted, we don't get quite as hot as you do; typical summer highs here are upper 90s with only occasionally topping out over 100F. And we usually drop into the 70s at night. I don't know if you have a lot of humidity, but that's a real problem here when the weather is coming up off the Gulf.

I think your idea of a straw bale house is worth looking into. We bought a nearly 100-year-old house which we have gradually upgraded for better energy efficiency. We've done the things suggested here, along with the common sense methods of shade trees, pulling in cool air at night and then closing the house up during the day, keeping windows on the sunny side of the house covered, use a summer kitchen for summer cooking and canning, and installing a solar attic fan (that helped a lot). In the heat of summer, our indoor temperature tops out in the mid-80sF. Warmer than what most people are used to, but tolerable with ceiling fans. The benefit of not using air conditioning is that it isn't such a shock to one's body when going outdoors. We're not going from 70* to 95*, we're only going from 85* to 95*. We avoid the draining sensation of physical, mental, and emotional wilt every time we go outdoors (and because of our lifestyle, we're outdoors a lot! As an aside, I hate errand days, when I have to go in and out of multiple air conditioned stores. The temp differences are a shock to my system.)

My two biggest challenges are:
1. the humidity
2. food storage

We tend to have bad humidity anyway, but in the house--even though I don't cook or can inside--we still use the sinks and showers. I have to be constantly vigilant against mildew. Good air circulation helps, so we have fans running almost all of the time.

Food storage is more challenging because, of course, warmer temps decrease shelf life. We don't have a root cellar because our ground temperature doesn't stay cool enough in summer to probably make the effort and expense of building one worth it. My pantry is the best insulated room in the house, but only stays several degrees cooler than the kitchen. I have seriously considered what John said about a small air conditioner for the pantry only. I've crunched the numbers, and he's right, it's feasible to run a very small window unit from solar.  

Going AC-less wasn't an easy decision to make. Even now, I have to constantly remind myself is that summer is hot and winter is cold, and that's just the way things are. As others have said, humankind has lived most of its existence without indoor climate control. So personally, it's a decision I'm glad we made. In a way, there's a sense of freedom in it, both physically and financially, although I realize such a decision isn't for everyone.



Yea if our nights dropped down into the 70s I could handle it. Unfortunately in high Summer the nights don't cool off very much, if at all. Maybe five degrees is pretty typical, and I remember times when it would actually get hotter at night.
 
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I suggest looking into thermal chimneys & underground cooling tubes.

Floppy hats, staying out of the direct sun, thin long sleeve shirts, doing physical labor at night, & wearing wet clothes are other techniques. The down & dirty way to adjust is just turn the A/C off & deal with it by sitting in front of fans for a summer or two. It worked for me in TX & some even hotter places where A/C (or fans) wasn't an option.

And then there's the time honored tradition of siestas!
 
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Jack Banks wrote:Living without AC here isn't an option. Even when I was younger, camping in the Summer was unbearable.


It takes a week or two for your body to acclimate to the heat, so if you were going from AC to a few days of summer camping that would be brutal. But staying at higher temps for long period of time isn't as bad.
https://ksi.uconn.edu/prevention/heat-acclimatization/#
 
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Study the housing in the Middle East etc.
They use designs that include courtyards, water ponds, wind towers and tall walls.
I design wind towers in Australia to draw moving air through the home.
If its drawn across a pond in a courtyard it has moisture in it.
 
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Saw this in an article from Texas a long time ago.  If you have two stories (this might work with one as well) - put a small window down near the floor at the bottom of the stairs.  open up this window and a window on the second floor.  This takes advantage of the fact that hot air rises, and brings in cooler air from the bottom window.  Placing this window on the north side would get the coolest air possible to come in.

sandy
 
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In addition to the great ideas above, I would like to point out the benefit of the cool earth, just a couple of feet down, which can be tapped into with an uninsulated floor.  
I think the strawbale idea is perfect for your location, if done right.   I would think an uninsulated slab on grade, or better uninsulated earthen floor with thick strawbale walls could be the solution.  At least 2 or three feet deep of perimeter insulation will also help you tap into the cool thermal mass below your feet and exclude the summertime heat. Also a passive solar design tailored to your latitude and climate can be helpful- this includes making the house long east to west and narrow north to south, with about 30 percent of the south wall in glazing with overhangs and shading such that the glazing receives sunlight only in the months when you need heat in your climate.  

Geoff Lawton's greening the desert site in Jordan has a strawbale/ cob or maybe mud brick structure such that the sun side of the building is strawbale and the shade side is earthen, which leads to passive cooling.  I don't think that climate has much of a need for winter heat, however.
 
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Jack Banks wrote:Land is located just to the north of Oklahoma City. It can be extremely hot. It's not uncommon for Summer highs to get above 110. It can be dry or very humid, or in between. An average Summer is highs around 100 with lows in the 90s.

The soil here is clay, so it makes going underground risky. Very few people have basements, and many if not most of the ones who do don't recommend it. There are very few companies willing to do basements in this area, and the ones who do take all kinds of special measures, and even then it's controversial.

I'm wondering about straw bale houses. Could a properly built straw bale house stay comfortable in the Summer?



I you are into doing a basement in clay, there is a way to do it.  First you needs to consider what is the highest strength form for cement which is what you will need to make it from.  The strongest form in existence is a sphere, but of course, who is going to build a spherical basement?  so an approximation to a sphere would be a cylinder.  A cylinder is a great form of great strength.  YOu could do this but if you try it, you need to build it with greater footing because of the clayiness. Another approximation, in fact, incorporated with the second strongest form:  a triangle, you can build a six sided hexagon with with internal partitions that create six actual triangles (cut the center parts out and you have a middle room for watching TV or playing chess).  This is IMMENSELY strong, cool in summer and easy to heat in winter.  Put styrofoam on the OUTSIDE after the cement has cured and fill it back up on the exterior with some gravel and soil.  Also, you should paint the exterior with a waterproofing like tar or special painst.  Continue with cement above ground as far as you like.  It is relatively cheap, basically storm proof and paint it white which reflects heat.  Paint the roof white and you will have much cooler inside.  follow the other ideas about placing windows on north side, etc,
 
pollinator
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Jack Banks wrote:
The soil here is clay, so it makes going underground risky. Very few people have basements, and many if not most of the ones who do don't recommend it. There are very few companies willing to do basements in this area, and the ones who do take all kinds of special measures, and even then it's controversial.  



I’m very curious about WHY this is considered such a bad/controversial idea. If it’s a high water table, then you probably don’t have good options for a basement. Otherwise, there are many options! But regardless, I would look into passive storage in underground sheltered/insulated tubes. The air can be moved by low cost solar powered fans and used both to cool and heat. There is unlimited cool air 5’ deep in the ground, and it’s free!
One other ‘trick’ to cool a house, much like solar attic fans, is a solar powered pump spraying water on the roof for evaporative cooling.
 
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Mike Barkley wrote:I suggest looking into thermal chimneys & underground cooling tubes.



This was one of my thoughts as well... BUT... Be really careful about mold and mildew... Oklahoma can get pretty soggy as far as humidity goes and that can cause problems "IF" you are not careful. I've used cooling tubes in greenhouses (4" irrigation tubing buried all around and under the greenhouse), and a very low voltage small fan at each end (one pushing and one pulling - think computer case cooling fans) does a great job exchanging heat for the natural cool within the earth and can easily run off solar... But... This is a house and mold and mildew can cause real health issues and blowing that into a home is never a good idea (mold doesn't grow on plastic, but it will grown on dust and dust sticks to plastic).


I also thought about the underground dome homes, but those can be tricky and need to be built rock solid and frog-butt-tight aka totally waterproof with layers upon layers of redundant materials. If I remember right, Oklahoma City has been getting tons and tons of small earthquakes thanks to all the fracking going on in the area. Concrete cracks fairly easy under those conditions, so I nix'd that idea. Considering straw bale houses are bales of stacked straw plastered in concrete products, those would be prones to cracking as well. Let's not forget about all those tornadoes...


So Jack, my final answer is a Geodesic Dome home. Domes are impervious to tornadoes (they blow right around them or over them), domes are the safest structure in any high wind situation. If you design thick, very well insulated walls, then it should keep you nice and warm in the winter and cool in the summer with minimal heating and cooling expense (you might also consider a large room dehydrator, if you lower the humidity in any situation, the less heat you will feel). There are many companies that sell dome homes as kits, so you can DIY some or part of it, if you are so inclined. The inside walls are non structural, so you can go as crazy as you wish on the interior layout and keep it open or closed or some combo. The round exterior walls can be a cool feature or hidden behind straight walls and dedicated to storage and closets. I don't recommend shingles on the exterior nor anything that can catch the wind. Some companies do metal domes (not sure if you can find something like that for a residential dome but I have seen a ton of them as large commercial buildings. I've also seen concrete domes finished in stucco but considering the earthquakes and ground settling issues in the area, I would opt for metal or wood (and keep a close eye on your foundation, regardless of what you choose).


Any way you look at it, 110F with 90% humidity is incredibly dangerous for humans, especially without AC. Have you considered moving somewhere else? I don't think I would care to roll the dice on attempting to survive summer conditions like that without AC.


If you don't like dome homes, the next safest structure would be a Quonset Hut (but considering the tornado threat, don't opt for any overhang on the front or back, but you might consider a retractable awning (that would likely blow off in any tornado, but not threaten the structure). Take a look at them, price them out, both can be partial or full DIY and if you search google for pictures of both, there are some good looking domes and Quonset huts out there and they can make for a really nice home.

I wish you the best of luck.

-Paul-
 
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Paul Eusey wrote:

Mike Barkley wrote:I suggest looking into thermal chimneys & underground cooling tubes.



This was one of my thoughts as well... BUT... Be really careful about mold and mildew... Oklahoma can get pretty soggy as far as humidity goes and that can cause problems "IF" you are not careful. I've used cooling tubes in greenhouses (4" irrigation tubing buried all around and under the greenhouse), and a very low voltage small fan at each end (one pushing and one pulling - think computer case cooling fans) does a great job exchanging heat for the natural cool within the earth and can easily run off solar... But... This is a house and mold and mildew can cause real health issues and blowing that into a home is never a good idea (mold doesn't grow on plastic, but it will grown on dust and dust sticks to plastic).
-Paul-


I'm using underground tubes in my design, I'm in soggy area too. My solution is to make them all slope down to daylight, use SMOOTH walled tube, not that crinkly stuff, have good clean outs, and not run the air through fast, so it has time to drop a lot of humidity before it gets into the house and greenhouse. It's basically a modified water harvesting system from the middle east (water catchment at the bottom,) mixed with earth tubes for cooling, and mixed with what I can afford in a throw away society, which is a LOT of 4 inch schedule 80 PVC pipe that I paid 10.00 per piece for unused 8 foot pieces of belled pipe.

The most problems I have seen when I read about it is the crinkly pipe, no slope, no way to clean it if needed, and no way to let moisture run out. The resulting mold has led at least one home I read of to be bulldozed for the mold. They laid crinkly pipe flat under the slab, and had a bunch of outlets that couldn't be closed off, when it molded, the whole house was toxic. If you do this, make sure you have ways to clean it, ways to close it off if needed, and a backup plan in case of problems.

:D  
 
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Seems like if you filtered the air with hypoallergenic level media you’d eliminate any mold spores getting into the house. If the dampness itself is a problem then you need to dehumidify.
 
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Pearl Sutton wrote:

The most problems I have seen when I read about it is the crinkly pipe, no slope, no way to clean it if needed, and no way to let moisture run out. The resulting mold has led at least one home I read of to be bulldozed for the mold. They laid crinkly pipe flat under the slab, and had a bunch of outlets that couldn't be closed off, when it molded, the whole house was toxic. If you do this, make sure you have ways to clean it, ways to close it off if needed, and a backup plan in case of problems.

:D  



I wonder if they could have run straight vinegar through a fog machine or forced some vinegar foam through it... Regardless, it’s a big/expensive risk in a home. In a cheap tunnel greenhouse that is going to be opened and aired out every dry summer, it’s not that big of a risk. Great feedback tho... Thank you for that, and I wish you the best with your design. Please consider writing a post about it in the future, (after it has made it through a few years) please share your thoughts and experience, likes, dislikes, how well it performed, design likes/dislikes, etc.).
 
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I was very interested in this topic a few years ago, living without AC.

There are basically two strategies:
1.- Thermal isolation.
2.- Thermal mass.
The right one depends on your temperatures patterns. Thermal mass is fine when you have cool nights and hot days. Bigger thermal masses also are fine for hot summers with cold winters. If the temperature is constantly hot or cold, it is better to not use themal mass

I think most cool sources have already been suggested.
- Shades.
- Geothermy
- Shutters.
- Cross ventilation.

I don't know if it has been already covered, but we have a traditional method of using grape vines in the front doors facing south, combined with a enclosed patio in the backyard facing north. The enclosed patio captures cool air during the night, which drops to the ground, and holds it during part of the day. The grapes cool the air during the day. Then you have a second story where you open a window. Depending on where it is cooler, you open the windows facing the patio, the windows facing the vines (or the front door), and the window in the second story, so cool air moves into the house. If the air outside is hotter than inside, then shut everything and pray.
We might use also small fountains to regulate temperature and humidity in the patios, but this works better in dry climates.
 
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