My Mother's House Part IV: Installing a Passive Heating System

In this stage of building MOTHER's house, workers install a geothermal heating system. Read how it's done and what suggestions we have for a heat-exchanger system of your own.



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The cooling system pipes enter the house through an opening at each end of the front wall.
PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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The building's natural air conditioning system consists of 15" diameter PVC irrigation pipes buried deep in the cool soil.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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Elevation drawings.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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The intake ends of the cool tubes are capped with screens and shields to keep rain out.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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Fill dirt was added until we reached a level about 1-1/2 feet below the edge of the roof on the back of the building. We then laid a 6-foot-wide sheet of 4-mil polyethylene along the entire length of the building, to prevent water draining off the roof from running directly down along the wall.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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The above-ground portions of the upper level are insulated with 1/2-inch polystyrene and 3-1/2-inch fiberglass for a combined R-value of over 20.
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The drainage lines for the foundation run through the same trenches as the "cool tubes".
MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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Gravel is spread around the drainpipes that lie against the back wall.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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The greenhouse section of MOM's house nears completion.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

















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