Thursday, June 2, 2011

Too Hot

"Too hot, this town is too hot." - The Specials

While Aotearoa enjoyed its warmest May on record, there were a few drawbacks associated with the balmy weather.

Source: TVNZ

Source: New Zealand Herald
(Who on Earth would name their city Nelson?)

And back state-side at Ma and Pa's place.

Source: USA Today

Climate scientists have long predicted that warmer average global temperatures will lead to increases in the frequency of extreme weather events and cause increased precipitation in some areas. When scientists believe something will happen, it is sometimes called a hypothesis. When they observe that actually to be the case, its called - in the case of climate change - yikes!

Joplin, Misouri

However, it is possible for tornados to do good...almost.

If only.

We are taking advantage of our own version of the 'greenhouse effect' here on Arawa Place in the form of passive solar design. Ultraviolet sunlight comes through our northeast and northwest windows, strikes solid surfaces within the home, is converted into infrared light (heat) and that heat is held (for a while) in by the walls, windows and insulation.

Northern corner in the morning sunlight.

It has worked very well so far. And as I seal up more gaps to eliminate drafts, it works better and better. It worked so well just the other day (June 1st) that well after sunset as I was preparing my dinner it was still 24.5 degrees C (76 F) in the kitchen. Earlier it was 29 C (84 F). This, of course, is too hot. Which means our passive solar design lacks enough thermal mass to absorb the excess heat during the day and re-radiate it at night. But help is on the way.

We are in the process of pouring the concrete foundation for our multi-fuel stove. The heavy, vintage Shacklock 501 will be surrounded by brick on 3 sides. Full winter sun will strike all of this thermal mass through 3 windows during 3 parts of the day. This 'heat sink' should provide enough thermal mass (along with other strategies we've used) to moderate day/night temperature swings.

And, of course, on cloudy days we'll fire her up.

Peace, Estwing

1 comment:

  1. I smell a pulitzer (do they give those out for blog posts?) Love you!