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Passive Cooling Ideas for Hot, Humid Locations (SE TX)?  RSS feed

 
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We are considering property in the southeast, south-central Texas area because we'd like to remain within driving distance of your families. I realize that hot, humid locations are not ideal due to the brutal heat of the summers. We're (my wife and I) both from Texas and have lived or visited all over the state.

Most of the structures I've seen so far seem to focus on keeping warm in the winter without grid power, oil, gas, etc. I'm looking for good resources on designing a structure that will make the summers tolerable. I'd love to hear from someone that's actually done it before.

Thanks in advance...
 
Posts: 1793
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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forest garden solar
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Shade from trees, wrap around the house porch, to give more shade, house on pillars to increase airflow.
Have your high-activity room on the north side of the house. Cook outside or or early or less often.
Open windows/doors to increase airflow, thus drying your skin faster. A screen is needed for bugs.

I cant really think of a natural/biological way to reduce humidity.
A fan, dehumidifier, AC.
Recirculate water thru a cooler, pond/well/stream/earth, and obsorb heat from the ceiling,
while collecting the moisture so that it is not a mold issue.

If anyone know of another way please post. I am also looking for other solutions esp cheap ones.
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1793
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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This is the best thing that I have found. natural updraft will ventilate house.
You dont need the underground part.
And if you make it close loop it could heat your house in the winter.

Solar chimney
 
pollinator
Posts: 1453
Location: northern California
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I'm pretty sure the "cool tube" idea described above and in other literature is mostly a dryland strategy. When I made one in central GA it quickly became ineffective, probably because condensation filled the lowest point in the tube with water and airlocking it. If it were made with a clear uphill flow all the way to the house there would still be the danger of excess humidity and mold. A tour of permaculture sites in the SE (Earthaven in NC for example) will point up the challenges of mold in "alternative" building systems such as cob.
A look at the historic district of any Southern town will point up the default design, which is repeated in many hot humid climates worldwide.....high ceilings, wraparound porches, ventilated gables or cupolas, raised floors. The Cracker house made a lot of sense.
The design challenge, at least in a climate like Georgia, is that that building style relied on abundant energy (firewood) to heat the space, or portions thereof, during the cold season. During most of the time when this vernacular architecture was being developed, firewood was abundant. And on any rural landholding in the South or East, it may well still be abundant.
So one way toward progress is to begin to add insulation to the classic design. The goal is to be able to close the space well in the cold, and so save fuel, and yet be able to open it competely in the heat......
 
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