1199Re: [hreg] Solar Air Conditioners
- Aug 31 7:06 PMAir Conditioning and other things.
One of the major reasons that Biomass A?c has not taken off in the Houston
area has to do with the water table around here. It would be very difficult
for you to build one that didn't have problems with water seapage. This
then brings up the problem with Mold and mildew. These two problems by them
selves can be solved with proper designed de-humidifier systems in houses.
Unfortunally the builders in the Houston area don't know thier head for a
hold in the ground when it comes to building a house that uses the current
style of air conditioners correctly. I recently moved out of a two story
house that was a nightmare to heat and cool and the electrictiy bills were
sky high. When the upstairs was cool the down stairs was hot and vice
versa. Also the de-humidifier was way too small for the house which
resulted in mold buildup inside the walls in areas like the bathrooms and
closets. This mold resulted in severe health problems for my wife and her
asama. Since moving to a new place, that was a well designed A/C system,
all these problems have been eliminated.
I see that the major problem with A/C in Houston is not the units them
selves but how the houses are designed and built. I think that the Home
builders need to go back to school and take a loot at historical houses in
Texas and learn how to build a house that will last for over a hundred years
and one that uses the natural enviroment to help heat and cool the house. I
have been in some old 100 year plus houses in texas in the full heat of the
summer that do not have A/C and they are cool inside. Thats becuse the
builder knew how to build a house to make use of air flow and shading from
large covered porches and cross ventalation from the placement of the
But when you have a home builder that is only concerened with making as much
money as possible and cramming as many houses on a peice of land as
possible, it would almost be impossible to build a enviromentaly passive
house. Take my brother's house for an example. The lot is so small and the
neighbors houses are so close that you can walk between them and streach out
both arms to your side and you would touch both his house and his neighbors.
6 feet people. I you wanted to put solar panels on the roof to generate any
amount of electricity, it wouldn't do you any good since the two story
houses around it would block the panels for half of the day. And as for as
installing a Cistern to store rain water for water the grass, thats out
cause the back yard is so small that there is not enough space to install a
Until the builders change the way they build in Houston and texas, about the
best you can do to use most of the available enviromentally friendly items
out there, is to insulate, insulate, use double pane windows and to change
to CF lights and energy efficent appliances.
This is just my two cents worth.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Robert Johnston" <rjohnsto@...>
Sent: Friday, August 31, 2001 6:14 PM
Subject: [hreg] Solar Air Conditioners
> Between the Nigerian Scams and the Environmental Spams, the good stuff is
> hard to find here! However, there wasn't much comment on this note from
> Billy Bell except Kevin pointing out the inefficiencies of thermoelectric
> cooling (especially if tied to a solar cell!).
> However, it is an extremely interesting question and one I'd love to see
> more discussion on. This is obviously one of the main barriers to this
> ever achieving the kind of renewable energy freedom that some other parts
> the country can do. The use of water as an evaporative coolant OK in
> Arizona but not Houston--too humid already! In any case, even in a closed
> system it wouldn't make a good medium for an efficient A/C.
> Anybody want to comment on what they think has the greatest potential in
> Things that come to mind for me (besides ceiling fans, insulation, etc.)
> 1. Dessicators. I know that natural gas fired units are now used for
> commercial buildings in some locations. I don't know if any efficient
> units have been designed. But if you could dry out the air, that would
> a lot. And then you might even be able to put a little cool water back in
> as evaporative coolant as in Arizona.
> 2. Geothermal units. I'm puzzled why these haven't taken off, unless it
> their installation expense. Why are they so expensive? Are they not
> A local A/C guy told me there are lots of problems with mold and odor in
> heat pump part of the installation. I don't know if that is true. He is
> death on heat pumps **period** for that reason, and prefers straight
> But there is still something appealing to me of trying to cool compressed
> gas with ground temperature rather than air temperature medium. I've seen
> some of the numbers posted on the web (very high S.E.E.R.), but there is a
> lot of hype by vendors. Since these aren't that popular, is it because
> don't work that well in practice, or is it just the cost of installation?
> What is the payback period in this area, then? These are some questions
> like to see discussed.
> As far as ammonia goes, Billy--I know it is not nice stuff, but it used to
> be used in refrigerators long ago, so with proper engineering I guess it
> managed OK. (Before my time, so I have no first hand experience). I also
> know that TDC put some ammonia cooling systems on a couple of new warden's
> homes at the prison farm south of Lake Jackson on the corner of
> FM2004/FM2611 and State Hwy 36. It is a duplex unit. The houses have
> optimally sloping roofs aimed towards the sun, and then on the rooftops
> solar collectors. They may have had solar hot water too--I don't
> recall--but I remember reading in the newspaper when they built them about
> their ammonia cooling systems. This would have been around 1981-85
> timeframe. I also know that the collectors are now gone, but I don't know
> why. It could just be that TDC didn't want to fuss with them--e.g., it
> have been environmentally "cool" (pun intended) to use solar on state
> institutions at that time, but the maintenance expense for handling such
> unusual system that was different than all the other onsite A/C's might
> caused rethinking of the project down the road. Or, it may be that the
> units just didn't hold up to use. I don't know, but I assume you could
> out more by asking around, or writing TDC.
> In any case, if any of you have some thoughts on the subject of solar or
> just more efficient air conditioning/cooling, why don't we see if we can
> a discussion going on this subject and enlighten ourselves?
> Robert Johnston
> -----Original Message-----
> From: William M. Bell, Jr. [mailto:wmb@...]
> Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2001 9:23 AM
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: Re: [hreg] Digest Number 281
> > Wow! What an email regarding the livestock industry and the whales. Who
> > they from? tpwc---ENVIRO ALERT <envir_456@... doesn't do much for
> > Steve Stelzer
> I thought that livestock produced methane, which was a renewable? Just
> Kidding ; ) Although I appreciate information of this sort, I am more
> concerned that this discussion group stays on target.
> By the way, I have been doing a great deal of looking around in my spare
> time (which is not much) at solar air conditioners. There a number of
> alternatives out there. It sounds strange until you view solar as an
> source (heat). Most solar air conditioners work by a process called
> adsorption. An efficient, economical solar a/c system, that could be used
> residential cooling would be an important contribution to renewable
> Think of the amount of heat generated in this city by a/c and the amount
> electricity that is wasted producing this heat.
> The adsorption units that I have looked at use either ammonia
> and calcium chloride (absorber) (or some other chemical) or water and
> gel. The water and silica gel seems most promising to me. Ammonia is too
> dangerous to have inside my house and it makes it difficult to work out a
> system in which I can keep it outside. Water, however, is safe and when it
> evaporates, absorbs a great deal of heat.
> There is also a solid state alternative that I have not had much
> to explore. They use solid state refrigerators in small outdoor coolers.
> When you pass a 12V current through the diode, one side gets hot and the
> other side gets cool. Perhaps, we could use the hot side to pre-heat our
> water to the hot water heater and the cold side to chill water that could
> used to cool the house, if needed. The unit could be attached to solar
> panels that produce the 12V current. The hotter it is outside, the harder
> the unit works. I like that!
> Some helpful web sites: http://www.caddet-ee.org/nl_html/001_02.htm
> Billy Bell
> PO Box 926
> Fulshear, Texas 77441-0926
> 713-439-1115 Telephone
> 281-346-0994 Fax
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