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Ponds and subterranean heating and cooling

 
pollinator
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Location: NW Pennsylvania Zone 5B bordering on Zone 6
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I have read about and I am quite curious about subterranean heating and cooling, as it applies to greenhouses. I understand that Sepp uses his ponds for climate control (heat and humidity). I was wondering if both concepts could be combined effectively by running piping either under the ponds or through them to gain the solar benefit and then shuttling the air underground where it’s heat and condensation moisture could benefit the root systems of the plants out away from the pond some and then at night reverse the draw on the piping to extract some of the heat and humidity that was stored in the soil to benefit the above ground and possibly even the pond system.
 
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seems like an interesting ideas, and though i have no professional answers for you, i think it would generally work, but even a deep pond is likely to drop into hte 40s-F from my understanding during the winter, but the idea with the SHCS is that the soil keeps it at 60F or so which would be more ideal fro growing plants that are kept in the greenhouse year round, though it may result in warm water in the summer, effectively making a giant solar heater out of the greenhouse - so it could potentially cause some problems there or at the least increase evaporation rates... a good thing if oyu get plenty of rainfall to replenish the pond, not so good if you only get just enough to fill it if the evap rates stay as low as possible...
 
pollinator
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39.3-F is the temperature at which water is most dense. This is the temperature of the water in the deep zones of Sepp's ponds and lakes. There are some very interesting things going on with the physics of water at this temperature, this is one of the huge benefits of the deep zone. Those who are interested in this kind of stuff should look into Viktor Schauberger and water and cell membranes as dipoles.

I like this question, this is something that Chad and I were actually discussing in January. SHCS sounds like a great concept, I can see how water could provide some amazing benefits by the heat it releases as water vapor turns to liquid water underground. This releases 540 calories per gram in this phase change from vapor to liquid. I haven't seen any of the systems for myself, or felt the heat coming from them, but I am not a big fan because of all the electricity and technology involved. I'm sure you can have a windmill or battery bank power the fans at night, but this all seems overly complicated when I know you can get the same benefits with less inputs and technology. I look forward to seeing Jerome's place, hopefully sometime soon. It's certainly something I would like to experiment with in the future.

The greenhouses that we build use natural systems. No ventilation fans, no electricity, only working with nature. Ventilation is passive, and we can nearly triple the growing season in Bozeman with just passive solar and passive geothermal. Winter is an important part of the natural cycle, and you can still harvest plenty of foods during it with a 4-season harvest approach. Even if it is only for a brief period it helps keep the rhythms and cycles of the plants and animals natural. The tree frogs go dormant and the trees get their rest to fruit well the next year. In Bozeman there's not really enough light in December to grow the tropical plants that require a year round 60-F. As I'm sure you can guess I'm not a fan of artificial lighting; when humans try to replicate the sun we have taken it way too far.

If you did want to keep your soil at a constant 60-F (the only use I can see is a cutting bed) you would just need a rocket mass heater. We will be building one of these into the prototype greenhouse during a workshop on March 16th, this spring before Sepp arrives. This will give us a bed with heated soil, providing excellent conditions for rooting cuttings. This is how I am going to propagate my favorite figs, among many many other things

Sepp uses the water to capture the energy from the sun during the day. When the temperatures drop you can see the heat rising off of the lake. Pulling this warm humid air through the greenhouse and capturing that phase change energy without any electricity is a really interesting concept. All you would need is a psychos or solar chimney that heats up during the day to draw the air. I don't think this would provide any warmth in the dead of winter but it could provide some big benefits during the spring and fall. We might try something like this at Chad's when we build his greenhouse.
 
Jen Shrock
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Location: NW Pennsylvania Zone 5B bordering on Zone 6
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Thanks for your comments Zach. It makes my mind spin with the idea even more. I agree that I would prefer to have the system not consume energy if possible. I don't think that it would have to be much energy, though, because it doesn't sound like you really need much air going through the system. Is it possible to get natural convection, though, and take out the need for electric?

The thought popped into my mind originally because (1) I am quite taken by (to the point of almost being obsessed) by the CRMPI greenhouse and (2) because of the way that Sepp uses ponds in so many ways to enhance the enviroments around them. I guess I was thinking about if it would be possible to stack another use in the pond system and use it to help keep the soil around it, in a reasonable perimiter, warmer and making the growing of plants not normally grown in my zone even more of a possibility. I like thinking about what can be done to push the limits a bit and seeing what might be possible. You never know unless you try!
 
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