The following how to overview on natural/passive heating and cooling is taken right from a guide I wrote on the subject available at www.agua-luna.com.
Either you’ve just spent the last months constantly attempting to keep your home warm during the fridged winter months or you’ve battled endlessly trying to keep your home cool in this smoldering unending summer heat.
Or maybe still you’ve spent the last months be it summer or winter nice and comfortable, yet you’re dreading the end of the month when that $2,000.00 utility bill arrives. Either way one or the other is just around the bend and it’s now, once again, time to make the proper preparations to your new or existing home.
Why not stop the loosing battle now! Don’t repeat the endless mistakes of so many millions of Americans by simply adding more fuel to the furnace or burning more energy in that AC this year. Incorporate some form of FREE Natural or Passive Heating and Cooling in your home today!
Natural heating and cooling systems utilize Free passive and Natural methods in order to save YOU money and the planet heartache. In fact, it doesn’t really matter whether you are getting ready for winter or summer, since most of the natural heating and cooling systems I will be showing you how to build in the following chapters, not only protect your home from the upcoming heat, but the same methods will protect your home from the cold weather as well.
We all know that Air conditioners are probably the best method for keeping a home cool. However we ALL also know that the quality and massive cooling properties of air-conditioning, doesn’t come without its downfalls… COST.
Air-conditioning units, especially central air-conditioners are VERY expensive to buy and install, and even cost more to maintain and run. Actually, most homes in the US don’t even have air-conditioning for this very reason and only a small percentage have central air-conditioning which come with a very large price tag indeed. It costs upwards above $20,000 to install central ACs in homes without existing central air conditioning installed.
Alternatively, folks that can’t afford such extravagant systems opt for window based models which are far cheaper, but lack greatly in their ability to cool large areas and require a much larger supply of electricity, resulting in skyrocketing monthly utility costs. Basically, what’s saved in the purchase and installation costs goes right out the window (literally) in utility bills.
Minisplit air-conditioning systems are a combination of central and window based technologies making a system more economic on the pocket book, while bringing the cooling power of a central system to the masses, however these products aren’t available widespread in the US as of yet.
Conversely, most homes do have heating systems, which is a problem within itself. Every year as coal, diesel, oil and wood are burned in home furnaces, millions of tons of Carbon Dioxide CO2 (which does not burn and is in fact a large percentage by weight of the fuel burnt) enters the earth’s atmosphere not only destroying the ozone layer but creating a greenhouse effect as well. This waste of resources is contributing to global climate change and you’re not only letting it, your paying for it as well. You’re actually paying for the majority of your heat (just like your cooling) to go right out the chimney, again literally.
FACT: The current heating and cooling systems in your home, uses far more energy than any other appliance in the building.
Air conditioners can use up to 1/6th of the electricity generated in the U.S. daily. On the hotter summer days, ACs actually consume over 43% of the United States peak power load and are frequently the cause of super grey or blackouts, often leaving not only entire cities but sometimes entire states or multiple states in the dark with not only no power but no type of cooling what’s so every.
Exactly like what occurred in 2003 in the north east United States. Refer to the below link and Image.
Over 50 million people were left without electricity, and worse, without cooling systems of any kind when a single power plant experienced excessive draws due to air-conditioning overuse, triggering an overload shutdown process in itself starting a domino effect; which caused the shutdown of 265 additional power plants, 22 of which were nuclear. This in turn caused blackouts from New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio up into Canada. Street lights, all phone services including cell phones, TV, radio stations, internet, trolley’s, trains, airports, business, of course electricity, even water couldn’t be pumped to homes; all failed because of the blackout.
Funny outcome to this story though; for the first time since the East had become a major metropolitan area way back in the early 1900’s, residents were “surprised to see thousands of strange bright lights in the sky” (stars). Folks that had never left the city their entire life could, for the first time, see stars, only possible through the lack of light pollution in the region as well as air pollution and smog because the factories and power plants were offline as well.
According to the US Department of Energy, heating and cooling systems emit over a half billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, contributing greatly to what we call for the lack of a better term, Global Warming or now referred to as Climate Change. They also generate about 24% of the nations' sulfur dioxide, a chief ingredient in acid rain. So it’s no wonder that having an entire region of one of the most densely populated and industrial countries in the world, shut down and offline for a week would clear up the night sky enough to give its inhabitants views of the celestial body’s.
We may laugh at the thought of people having never seen stars before in their life, but the story doesn’t have a great ending…
The blackout occurred on August 14th 2003 and lasted 5 days until August 19th when the last affected areas were back on the grid. Unfortunately because the temperature those days were over 95°F, and because the buildings were never built with natural heating or cooling in mind, in fact many buildings had windows that were designed to not open at all in the first place. This caused heat to build up quickly inside of these structures, turning bedrooms into instant furnaces, literally cooking many to death in their beds. Deaths were not only caused by cooling issues, several reports found deaths caused by fire due to the use of candles for lighting, heart attaches from having to climb several flights of stairs to reach apartments when elevators became non operational and food poisoning from rotten unrefrigerated meat. All of which could have been avoided with a few simple and cheap natural cooling fundamentals, added during the initial construction.
Natural cooling doesn’t need to cost a fortune, it doesn’t require any expensive retrofits or professionally installed systems what’s so ever, in fact, in most instances the consumer can implement natural heating and cooling modifications to their own home and cool or heat their home for free or very inexpensively, while causing less or no impact to the environment as well as their pocket books themselves.
You’re probably wondering now, ‘What exactly is natural heating and cooling anyway?
Natural or Passive heating and cooling methods employ the sun to work both as a heating agent warming your home during the cold months, eliminating the need for extra or traditional indoor heating; and a cooling agent during the warmer months, cooling the home drastically, when the sun is at it’s hottest.
Surprised? Sounds like a contradiction in physics right? Wrong, in fact physics, more specifically, thermal dynamics, is exactly what allows the sun to actually cool your home so much, that the need for additional cooling or air-conditioning isn’t needed at all. But we’ll talk more about that later.
Most folks think that the term ‘passive’ means or relates to solar power. Although some passive heating and cooling systems do and can incorporate direct solar interaction or gain, it’s not necessary to carry out passive or natural cooling and heating with direct sun light. Rather natural cooling and heating focuses more on how the building is designed, the direction it’s facing, its location, the material it’s made with, and the incorporation of indoor and outdoor heating or cooling blocking or reflecting medias and techniques.
Check out the next part of the guide next week.
And don't forget to pick up a copy Dan Martin's newest book: Apocalypse, How to Survive a Global Crisis, available in bookstores now.