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Techniques for cooling offices and homes with ground temperature water, etc. via convection?  RSS feed

 
Dave Jackson
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We see a lot of talk about rocket mass heaters and heating in general, but what can be done to keep places cool? Are there any devices that can be built using ground temperature cooling through radiators and copper conduit / piping, etc?

Particularly in my case I have an office with a lot of high tech equipment, computers, etc. that get quite warm. It usually raises the temperature of the room anywhere from 10-20º F. I am, therefore, interested in figuring out some kind of environmentally driven cooling mechanism, even if at the least to deliver cooler temperature to the central air blowers vs using aging air conditioning units.

It seems to me that it should be possible to create a convection system that will naturally push water (+ perhaps antifreeze) through a set of tubes from the ground and up into the house and office and then allow it to descend again for cooling.
 
Topher Belknap
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Location: Midcoast Maine (zone 5b)
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Dave Jackson wrote:Are there any devices that can be built using ground temperature cooling through radiators and copper conduit / piping, etc?


Sure.

It usually raises the temperature of the room anywhere from 10-20º F.


What you really need to know is how much heat is being added to the room. Add up the wattage ratings of all the pieces of equipment (plus 100 Watts for each person).

It seems to me that it should be possible to create a convection system that will naturally push water (+ perhaps antifreeze) through a set of tubes from the ground and up into the house and office and then allow it to descend again for cooling.


Sadly, no. Convection moves warmer fluids up, you are wanting to move warmer fluids down. For cooling only, you don't want antifreeze (which lowers the heat carrying capacity of water). So a pump is required. Then the question becomes is it easier to pump more water, or to compress a smaller flow of water to achieve better heat transfer. If the latter, you are talking about a ground-source heat pump.

All very doable. But getting enough ground contact gets expensive in a hurry.

Thank You Kindly,
Topher
 
Dave Jackson
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We also have a creek right behind the house and high ground water content at just a couple feet down about 90% of the year. Not sure what the implications are there yet for that, but I thought it interesting.

What I had in mind was perhaps some way to use convection from inside the house where we can bring the temperature up and then push the water in the circuit down to create the flow in a closed circuit sans pump...
 
Len Ovens
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Dave Jackson wrote:We also have a creek right behind the house and high ground water content at just a couple feet down about 90% of the year. Not sure what the implications are there yet for that, but I thought it interesting.

What I had in mind was perhaps some way to use convection from inside the house where we can bring the temperature up and then push the water in the circuit down to create the flow in a closed circuit sans pump...



Is the air inside warmer than outside?
Does that matter? Really you will want to bring outside air in all the time anyway for health reasons. So the first thing is to make sure your outside air supply comes from the "coolest" outside source possible. You can use convection to move this air just by positioning your intake and exhaust in the right way. A solar chimney can be used to increase the flow if needed.

The obvious thing then is to have your cold water radiator as close to the fresh air source as possible. You may want to use more than one radiator to do this as the water from the first use while somewhat warmer than when it came in may still be cooler than the fresh air and so could be used upstream in the air flow.

Your creek is lower than the room to be cooled I take it. If it is moving with any force there are ways of getting it to go up just from it's own flow. Though it seems there is a 10 to 1 ratio of water in to water out.

Do not try to get 21C (72F) in you home/office. Bring the temp down from outside yes, but let the body acclimatize as well. Go outside for breaks so that even if it is warm inside, it still feels cool. You prolly figured that out though.
 
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