paul wheaton wrote:
I just got an email from Diana Leaf Christian (a communities author that is mentioned here from time to time). She mentions that she has a chest fridge and is gonna try to get rid of it to get a normal upright fridge so she doesn't have to dig for her food anymore.
Emerson White wrote:
If chest fridges are such space hogs then why do they use them on boats(including houseboats, which don't see heavy seas), where space is more restricted than in any other situation?
Jeanna, I've been looking at your "Solar Fridge or Air Conditioner" and I'm trying to figure it out.
I'm assuming what you have is a box made out of cob (or it could be made out of concrete, as you point out). Stuck in the cob are what I assumed are UNOPENED cans of beer, correct? How much of the can is exposed? Do they line all 4 sides of the box, and do they go up to the top of the box? Where in the box do you keep your food?
1) During an energy talk I've heard Doug Bullock refer to an ice factory where he grew up in San Luis Obispo. Apparently, the factory was located in a spot with high, near-constant winds. They had a series of radiators mounted to the roof where the wind would would blow through them and cool the refrigerant down. As it cooled it would sink inside the building make it really cold. Cold enough to make ice, apparently. According to Doug the walls were made from thick cork and they were super insulated.
When Doug visited as a kid he realized that all the electric lights were tacked onto the ceiling with exposed wires. This is because the the factory was actually build before the era of electricity. In other words, they were manufacturing ice in California with no electricity. In the 70's they were even able to make dry ice.
marina phillips wrote:
I've heard about old milk houses, stone floors and walls, with cold water constantly running over the floor. We were inspired by the cold air we can feel walking up the hill to the spring.
The spring water on our land is 47 degrees all year round. We took an old fridge and plumbed it with 1/2" pex and water runs through it 24/7. It keeps butter from melting in the summer and extends leftover shelf life - in the 60s in there at noon when it's 110 outside. That sounds warm, but the summer of '08 I had nothing at all and it was a real challenge to keep things from spoiling quickly and melting everywhere. I've learned a lot about what to buy and how long to expect it to last. This time of year it's a pretty perfect fridge - usually right at 40. We had a low of 11 the other night and it was 36 in the fridge.
We're in the process of building a large, completely buried concrete block cellar. We plan to have the same 1/2" pex running through the concrete slab of that finished structure.
Emerson White wrote:
Perpetual motion/free energy is not the basket to put permacultures eggs in.
Emerson White wrote:Perpetual motion/free energy is not the basket to put permacultures eggs in.
Hassan Fathy (an Egyptian Architect that studied and wrote about traditional building in the Middle East) write in one of his books about making ice before electricity in Egypt. They used mud walls to create wind. One part of wall would get hot and other parts still shady and cool creating airflow. I think the ice was made underground on the shady side. I read about this some 20 years ago so I don't remember which book or exactly how it was done.
Natural Energy and Vernacular Architecture is out of print and on-line at
Didn't explain making ice but has a lot of good info on passive cooling techniques. (I used diagrams from it for a slide show I did on passive heating and cooling recently.) Maybe I'll have to revisit his books again soon.
Thanks for the forum. I am loving the creativity and passion.
When I last spoke with Donkey,
And please remember a fan will add heat so this is not the final design, just a comparison with and without the cans.
How is Donkey coming with his project? Any changes or updates?
My own root cellar is a bit small - cant get enough beer in - so I'm already planning a new one. I only have to wait till the house is habitable first.
To improve my fridge and freezer I'm just going to
stick additional insulation panels on the outside.
Sometimes condensation forms on them and that to me
means the insulation is not sufficient.
paul wheaton wrote:
Once the fridge becomes super efficient, the amount of heat extracted should be
less than what is put out my a dim light bulb. Probably not worth the effort of
moving the heat.
Wow.. Looky here, it's my fridge!!
Well, ALMOST my fridge.. The description here is a little off.
There's no cob in it..
Basically it's a big swamp cooler fed by incoming underground air. It's very well insulated, has flue adjustments for incoming and outflowing air and it's got cheap beer in cans for thermal mass. I chose aluminum cans because they are nicely conductive and won't inhibit or insulate. The whole mess is powered by a solar chimney.
It works pretty well and is MARKEDLY cooler inside than outside ALL of the time. It's NOT going to get 40 deg. inside during the summer, though when the flue adjustments are just right it will provide more than a 10 deg drop in temp..
Using the word "refrigerator" on this thing is a mismatch.. Calls to mind a standard appliance with constant temperatures etc, which this is NOT.. We call it the pantry. It's basically an above ground root cellar and we can keep most things in there though we have a small trailer fridge for meat, dairy and whatnot.
What I need to do to it is improve the solar chimney. It's in an unfinished state and it's likely that right now it's just acting like a regular old chimney. Some of my earlier tests created a noticeable updraft and I'm not seeing as much of that in my gizmo as I'd like. Within limits, the hotter the chimney, the more the updraft, the cooler it should get in the box.