Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

1212RE: [hreg] Solar Air Conditioners (LaVerne Williams?)

Expand Messages
  • Robert Johnston
    Sep 5, 2001
      At a tradeshow in Houston a few years ago I met and chatted briefly with
      LaVerne
      Williams. I asked his opinion about "cool tubes"--those buried PVC pipes
      that run
      for a length underground and allow you to bring outside air into the home
      after
      letting it cool in indirect contact with the earth. My recollection of his
      comment
      was that it was an ideal breeding ground for Legionnaire's Disease, and he
      wouldn't
      recommend it. Since I had seen such a solution recommended for our area in
      the
      "Earthship" books, his comment made quite an impression on me and left me
      wondering
      what kind of cooling WOULD work, and that ongoing question is why I started
      this
      thread.

      I'm wondering what kind of cooling Kim has in mind. In particular, I'm
      wondering,
      If you live in a hot humid area, is ANY kind of cooling based on bringing
      cold air
      or water into the house WITHOUT also having dehumidificatio built into the
      cooling
      system setting oneself up for mold, mildew and perhaps Legionnaire's
      Disease? e.g.,
      suppose you could use water pipes or any other technology to cool the walls
      and floor
      of your home to a pleasant 70?C and keep it there day and night. While in
      West Texas
      that would do quite nicely, would it fail miserably in Houston because there
      would
      be lots of condensation on the walls and floor, with lots of mold and mildew
      on and
      in the walls? (A vapor barrier would be meaningless if you are not drying
      the air
      inside).

      LaVerne Williams, are you reading this? Did I summarize your comments
      accurately?
      Would you care to comment on the futility of ANY approaches to cooling a
      house here
      without simultaneously providing dehumidification? As long as the house
      stays near
      ambient temperature I would think things would be OK, but the concern is
      that you
      might cool the house below ambient in a humid environment. Care to comment
      on what
      appears to be Kim's plan to cool a building with cold water pipes?

      Robert

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Claude Foster [mailto:ccfoster@...]
      Sent: Tuesday, September 04, 2001 7:51 AM
      To: 'hreg@yahoogroups.com'
      Subject: RE: [hreg] Solar Air Conditioners


      Kim,

      I will do some calculations for you if you will contact me directly.

      ccfoster@...



      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Kim & Garth Travis [SMTP:gartht@...]
      > Sent: Saturday, September 01, 2001 7:16 AM
      > To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: Re: [hreg] Solar Air Conditioners
      >
      > Hi,
      > I am planning using cooled water to cool a 1000 sq. ft. building. My
      > circulating pump is from a 15' diameter swimming pool. I installed my
      > pipe under a raised garden bed that is filled with plants that like wet
      > feet. In the testing we have done on the garden bed water, we seem to
      > be washing the heat away. The plans call for the cooling pipe to be
      > installed at the 8' level on the walls as well as in the floor.
      > Kim
      >
      > William M. Bell, Jr. wrote:
      >
      > > Robert:
      > >
      > > Thanks for the interest. I am not opposed to ammonia. It simply makes
      > life a
      > > little more complicated.
      > >
      > > I "designed" a system that used chilled water to cool and heated water
      > to
      > > heat. The main problem was that it required a rather large, insulated
      > > holding tank. I proposed to use a concrete tank and bury it.
      > >
      > > I found a simpler design that used silica gel and water. It uses
      > > solar-heated water to squeeze the water out of the silica gel. If you
      > looked
      > > at the web site that I listed, you can see a commercial application of
      > such
      > > a system. It has much going for it: few moving parts; no corrosive
      > > chemicals; no excessive pressures or temperatures; and simple. The only
      > > problem is that I can't find any residential applications and
      > information is
      > > scarce.
      > >
      > > Geothermal is cool, no pun intended. The main problem that I have
      > > encountered is that it is expensive to drill several wells and there is
      > also
      > > a fear that you could contaminate your drinking water. That is
      > geothermal
      > > that uses water wells. I have also heard of geothermal that circulated
      > water
      > > through pipes located 10+ feet below ground. A friend of mine worked
      > with a
      > > company that uses directional drilling to dig the lines for fiber optic
      > > cable and conduit. He thought that it would be an easy matter to use
      > their
      > > machine to drill the circulating lines. My biggest obstacle, is that I
      > have
      > > no idea how much line, etc that I would need. Lack of knowledge has
      > stopped
      > > me once again. My thought was that I could put a coil in my air
      > conditioner
      > > blower, before it got to the a/c coil, so that I could pre-cool my air.
      > The
      > > idea was that if it worked well enough, the a/c would not need to kick
      > in. I
      > > wanted to find a small circulating pump (again, I had no idea what size)
      > and
      > > have it run by a solar panel. The hotter it is outside, the more it
      > pumps. I
      > > have a friend in Lake Jackson who drilled several wells and used it to
      > cool
      > > his house. It worked OK for a while, but then he had problems with his
      > > wells.
      > >
      > > Anyway, I think that this is an interesting area and we would all
      > benefit
      > > from sharing our knowledge.
      > >
      > > ----- Original Message -----
      > > From: "Robert Johnston" <rjohnsto@...>
      > > To: <hreg@yahoogroups.com>
      > > 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
      > >
      > > area
      > >
      > >> ever achieving the kind of renewable energy freedom that some other
      > parts
      > >
      > > of
      > >
      > >> 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
      > >
      > > our
      > >
      > >> area?
      > >> Things that come to mind for me (besides ceiling fans, insulation,
      > etc.)
      > >> are:
      > >>
      > >> 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
      > >
      > > solar
      > >
      > >> units have been designed. But if you could dry out the air, that would
      > >
      > > help
      > >
      > >> 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
      > >
      > > is
      > >
      > >> their installation expense. Why are they so expensive? Are they not
      > >
      > > good?
      > >
      > >> A local A/C guy told me there are lots of problems with mold and odor
      > in
      > >
      > > the
      > >
      > >> 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
      > >
      > > A/C's.
      > >
      > >> 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
      > >
      > > they
      > >
      > >> 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
      > >
      > > I'd
      > >
      > >> 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
      > >
      > > was
      > >
      > >> 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
      > >
      > > were
      > >
      > >> 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
      > >
      > > may
      > >
      > >> have been environmentally "cool" (pun intended) to use solar on state
      > >> institutions at that time, but the maintenance expense for handling
      > such
      > >
      > > an
      > >
      > >> unusual system that was different than all the other onsite A/C's might
      > >
      > > have
      > >
      > >> 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
      > >
      > > find
      > >
      > >> 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
      > >
      > > get
      > >
      > >> 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: hreg@yahoogroups.com
      > >> Subject: Re: [hreg] Digest Number 281
      > >>
      > >>
      > >>
      > >>> Wow! What an email regarding the livestock industry and the whales.
      > Who
      > >>
      > >> are
      > >>
      > >>> they from? tpwc---ENVIRO ALERT <envir_456@... doesn't do much
      > for
      > >>
      > >> me.
      > >>
      > >>> 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
      > >
      > > energy
      > >
      > >> source (heat). Most solar air conditioners work by a process called
      > >> adsorption. An efficient, economical solar a/c system, that could be
      > used
      > >
      > > in
      > >
      > >> residential cooling would be an important contribution to renewable
      > >
      > > energy.
      > >
      > >> Think of the amount of heat generated in this city by a/c and the
      > amount
      > >
      > > of
      > >
      > >> electricity that is wasted producing this heat.
      > >>
      > >> The adsorption units that I have looked at use either ammonia
      > >
      > > (refrigerant)
      > >
      > >> and calcium chloride (absorber) (or some other chemical) or water and
      > >
      > > silica
      > >
      > >> 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
      > >
      > > opportunity
      > >
      > >> 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
      > >
      > > be
      > >
      > >> 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
      > >> http://www.adsorptionchiller.com/
      > >>
      > >> Billy Bell
      > >> PO Box 926
      > >> Fulshear, Texas 77441-0926
      > >>
      > >> 713-439-1115 Telephone
      > >> 281-346-0994 Fax
      > >> wmb@...
      > >>
      > >>
      > >>
      > >>
      > >>
      > >> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
      > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      > >>
      > >>
      > >>
      > >>
      > >>
      > >>
      > >>
      > >>
      > >> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
      > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      > >>
      > >>
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
      > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      >




      Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
    • Show all 28 messages in this topic