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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Outdoor Air Conditioning

I have never experienced the pleasurable effects of the MicroCool® outdoor air conditioning system myself, but vacationers and citizens of Palm Springs, Calif. apparently can't live without it.

Monkeygrinder's 'Cadillac Summer' post and comments raises some interesting issues on how to (or can we) avoid the heat with solar power. I know that SW thinks about this stuff a lot and worries about worse. My take concerns efficiency that rivals that of MG's trash returned on trash invested scenario (a very good point indeed).

So regarding making air conditioners out of solar technology, remember that this uses heat (i.e. infrared, visible, and ultraviolet light) to transfer unwanted heat to regions of progressively higher heat density. (And for PV, you use dark solar panels on your rooftop to keep the heat from being reflected) Without a prevailing wind to move the waste heat out of the way it becomes a real uphill battle. An imprecise but useful analogy: try using a high pressure water hose to remove water from a hole in the ground. You have to keep that hose going full blast 24/7 forever to keep the water from flowing back in. When you look at it this way, it seems preposterous and a borderline losing proposition in the long run.

Best bet: move


Professor Anonymous Anonymous said...

wht - I read something applicable to this today. Ahh. Now I remember! To wit:

'The laws of physics and thermodynamics are uncompromising and will break any attack you can throw at them without yielding, but you can sometimes find paths of lesser resistance which go around them like jiu-jitsu. "Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed."'

The desert is not only hot, it is very cold and sometimes it's just right. To each his own. In Seattle where I live, it's not uncommon for people to snowbird when the skies are at their dreariest.

9:57 PM  
Professor Blogger monkeygrinder said...

Anon: Yes the temp can drop dramatically in the desert after the sun goes down. Reminds me of the time I forgot to pack a sleeping bag, cuz I was camping in the desert. At least I brought water.

But it sounds like you have an idea - maybe a specific one - so let's hear it!

11:38 PM  
Professor Blogger WHT said...

Capturing the radiative cooling at night sounds like a good flip-side to the evaporative cooling that most desert homes use during the day. Evaporative cooling probably has a significant effect on sucking the Colorado River dry.

5:11 PM  
Professor Blogger Derek said...

I've learned from living in AZ, that digging down eight feet will provide you with a nice cool place for the summer. I'm sure a burried heat pump would work as well.

8:02 PM  
Professor Blogger WHT said...

I've got a good marketing blurb: "Beat the heat, Create your own private Spider-Hole!"

9:52 PM  
Professor Blogger Engineer-Poet said...

Radiative cooling has been used; I read an article in either "Home Power" or "Solar Today" recently where a system which has been in use for a while was explained in detail.

The slickest thing for the north would probably be seasonal storage; pile all your snow into a heap with an insulated cover and use that for A/C the next summer.  This has also been done but for some reason it didn't catch on.

10:20 PM  
Professor Anonymous Rassalon said...

How about an old-fashioned ice house?

Used to live near an ice house preserved from circa 1860. The folks would cut out the ice from the neighboring mill pond and stack it in the house for use well into the summer.

It was a shame that the mill pond never froze while I lived there--the water was too polluted.

There was a sign at the by the pond's edge that read, "Polluted Stream--Avoid All Contact".

4:50 PM  
Professor Blogger WHT said...

Excellent idea in Minnesota.

5:37 PM  
Professor Anonymous Rassalon said...

Here's a link to an old article from Mother Earth News about ice houses:

Cool It!... Build an Ice House

5:54 PM  
Professor Blogger WHT said...


7:36 PM  
Professor Anonymous Anonymous said...

An air system is the only way to go and air conditioning is important to the long-term durability of your home. Air conditioning can add heat, moisture and humidity to the air of your home. You should know what size air conditioning system is needed. Some air conditioning units are generally quiet enough to be installed under a window or near a patio, so sleeping or the entertaining of guests is not disrupted. Centralized air systems are in the vast majority of "newer" homes.

Air Conditioning

10:23 AM  
Professor Blogger Mikes said...

Regarding making air conditioners out of solar technology, remember that this uses heat (i.e. infrared, visible, and ultraviolet light) to transfer unwanted heat to regions of progressively higher heat density.

Brooklyn air conditioners

6:25 AM  

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