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GBlist: mass walls
We have used mass walls on several projects for passive solar heat
storage in the US to Canada climates. We have even used rammed
earth in several projects. In some cases our mass walls and/or masonry
fireplaces floated on insulation (ie. 2.5" expanded polystyrene). In our
city home, we have 6 tons of masonry fireplace and feature wall, and 65
tons of concrete mass (without additives) in a 10,000 DDf climate.
The waterless toilet and greenhouse planters a(graywater treatment) also
evening out the temperature. Mass is more important to grid-independent
buildings, especially during cloudy weather. I will have to calculate
our building time constant someday when I can find time. It is far easier
to keep cool than to heat in our climate. Shallow foundations used. No
gas, no furnace and
no boiler. Some of this was detailed in a recent paper presented at a
conference on the west coast.
Jorg Ostrowski, M. Arch. A.S. (MIT), B. Arch. (Toronto), Ecotect
- in full-time professional practice since 1976 (Straw Bale since 1978),
environmental/architectural design, ecological planning, consulting
on sustainable buildings/communities. Lectures, seminars, workshops.
3 demonstration projects in Canada, +80,000 visitors
- living a conserver lifestyle & working in a sustainable home and office
ACE, ARE, ACT, ASH-Incs., Phone: (403) 239-1882, Fax: (403) 547-2671
Web Site [under construction]: http://www.ucalgary.ca/~jdo/ecotecture.htm
On Tue, 22 Jul 1997, Keith Breuker wrote:
> I am a mechanical engineer about to break ground on a sb storage
> building and construct a sb house next year.
> I would like to use the relatively constant earth temperature below the
> frostline to act as a thermal flywheel for my dwelling by insulating the
> foundation to below the frostline. There can be no external thermal
> break for this to work. I have read that this concept of "thermal
> wicking" has been used successfully in California to reduce cooling
> costs. I am building in northern Michigan. If done properly this
> technique should yield a fairly constant room temperature similar to a
> below grade basement. Passive solar and minimal supplementary heat
> should make the house comfortable. The internal layer of stucco will be
> thermally connected to the foundation and possibly somewhat thicker than
> Does anyone have experience doing this in a sb building? Any thoughts
> on pitfalls? Any thoughts on foundation design?
> Keith & Debbie
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