Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bottled Water idea

20 Feb 2012: I was so inspired by the Bottle-Wall in Julian Marsh's house that I am collecting large plastic bottles now. I'm not sure how they will be used eventually, but as we only get through about 2 bottles of milk a week, it is worth starting now. Actually, it will help if the neighbour's give me their old bottles too, providing they are the 2 litre milk bottles - they have a brick-like shape allowing them to stack neatly.
   What is the point of using WATER? Well, water has more than 4 times the Specific Heat of dense clay. 4,186 J/kgºC, compared with Granite at 790, dense sand at 890, sandy clay at 1381 and so on. Taking into account the density, it is still about 2.5 times better than Clay. It is easier for it to accept and release heat.
   At the moment, they will be positioned in the cupboard under the stairs, alongside the underfloor heating manifold. This way, they will absorb some of the surplus heat from that (even though the pipes are insulated), and after the heating is turned off in the evening, the door can be left ajar and the warmth will pay out into the hall. The space at the end of the cupboard is inaccessible, and might as well be filled with bottles. When there are enough, they will need to be stacked on light shelves, as there is a limit to the height you can stack them, without them either toppling, or leaking. I have some light metal mesh racking shelves that would be ideal for stacking.
   If there is ever a good place for passive thermal storage, its in the centre of the house! We have had active thermal storage for a couple of years now, so here's something that needs no pumping or thermostats!
   Julian's are different in that they are visible to the winter sun and pick up some free heat, and in the summer, act as a source of cool - absorbing heat from the air. Milk bottles will have to suffice: I haven't a suitable location for anything like this. We could never do it with Ecover bottles, as we have a washing machine that uses tablets.
   It has made me think about a water store in the loft. I am opposed to large copper water tanks etc, and wouldn't want to afford that. But I thought I could make a box container in Kingspan foam slabs, and stack it with bottles.... and have a hose arranged in a coil through the box. I'm trying to think what this would provide? A thermal buffer for the existing sunbox. At which time of the year would this help? Perhaps it would prolong thermal burying in summer, later into the night. I can't think what benefit it would give in the winter. It might help with diurnal performance.  I'd need an additional sensor in the box to run the pump if there was heat in it... so confusing...
   For the moment, the cupboard under the stairs gets the vote!


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