Saturday, December 27, 2008

Germans Take the Lead

Here's a link to an interesting story in the New York Times about a new standard for energy efficient housing.
I could try to incorporate a passive heat exchanger into our house. Maybe a black box next to the wood stove. Fresh air piped in under the slab into the box, warmed with passive solar heat during the day and wood heat at night. The introduction of fresh air into a tight house is a critical piece of the energy efficiency puzzle. Leaky houses spend much of their heating energy warming the cold air filtering in. Without air exchange with the outside, though, the air in a tight house would become unhealthy. I was planning on having fresh air intakes (little circular vents in the walls that can be opened and shut) and your basic exhaust fans in the bathrooms and kitchen. In the middle of January with the house shut tight, the exhaust fans would operate with timed regularity and give us the air exchange we need. But I could, without much trouble, pre-heat the outside air coming in using something like the black box described above. The passive houses described in the NYT story pre-heat the air with the outgoing air and a little help from an electric heating element. A black metal box next to the wood stove work more or less the same way.

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