My Future House
Yesterday I was talking to Debbie about the sort of house we would like in the future and we concluded that we would like a house that was largely independent of external power and ideally water. This would obviously have low running costs, but would also isolate us from changes in the world that we could not predict which will be important as our income declines. I have been very keen on conservation and self sufficiency for years so this sort of approach sits very well with me. Graham Gladwell describes (on Malcolm’s blog) how he has installed a heat pump in his house to warm and cool his house, taking advantage of the fact that soil temperatures 5-6ft underground stay relatively constant, I was aware of this for heating but not some of the other advantages:
Geothermal heating and cooling is based on one simple fact: that 6 feet down in the ground the temperature is the same—between 50˚F and 60˚F- the whole year round. This means that it is relatively cool in the summer, and relatively warm in the winter. Geothermal heating is thus quite different from solar heating: solar heating works worst when you most need it–in the cold, cloudy, snowy conditions of winter; the source for geothermal heating and cooling is not affected by the weather.
For geothermal cooling, all one needs to do is to circulate water in a pipe through the ground to cool it, and use this cool water to cool the air pumped through the house in the heating ducts.
The blog post is definitely checking out, not for the original content, but because of the excellent comments which provide a lot more insight!