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Trombe wall existing house  RSS feed

 
                                
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2 goals, Toby's permaculture course and sharing info...
This is an idea I have had for a while for urban areas - many single family homes have fireplaces where brick is exposed to the exterior.  Mine, as many are, on the south side.  It seems an opportunity to turn it into a trombe wall....by adding another function, that would be a permaculture concept, yes?  Adding an efficient wood stove (with catalydic converter)verses an open fireplace could also be incorporated. I have not figured out how this could be designed yet....but the existing situation is there....any ideas on how this could work?
 
Toby Hemenway
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The chimney would have to become part of the interior space of the house; in other words, remove the wall on either side enough to allow air to circulate around the chimney, then build out an addition and glass in the chimney. And you'd need to have the right amount of sunshine to be able to heat up a huge thermal mass, as chimneys are big and heavy. It's an intriguing idea. I'm not sure if the sun would add a lot of calories to a mass you are already heating up with a stove, but maybe it would. It would probably cost about $5000-10,000 to do if you hired someone, which would buy a lot of heating oil. So I'm not sure that the embedded energy would pencil out. But it might, in the right (cold sunny) climate.
 
Sean Rauch
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Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
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I guess it really depends on where you are but most buildings regardless of climate would benefit far more from upgrading the building envelope by adding insulation, better windows etc.

No point generating more heat if it's just gonna leak out. Envelope design is always te first and best bang for the buck place to start.
 
allen lumley
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Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Bridget Hatfield ! You have a South facing wall with a large thermal mass making up your present exterior wall, a simple lean-to frame greenhouse or solar conservatory could
easily be extended off of that wall and existing windows cracked open at the top and bottom, then simple fans could easily move heated air from your new heat source into
your existing structure Big AL !
 
Brian Knight
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Location: Asheville NC
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I agree with most of the above but would use caution around using any grid tied active circulation system. I can almost guarantee that Sean's advice about weatherizing elsewhere would be a much better payback and appropriate use of resources. The best hope of making your idea cost effective would probably involve a needed addition in that area or direction anyway which would bring that giant thermal bridge of a chimney inside the conditioned space and would give you more wall space for typical passive solar design. Iam not a big fan of trombe walls but I think in certain situations your idea would work great.
 
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