Heating and Cooling and Airflow
Ensuring your house works well with the natural world is one of the most crucial parts of designing a home. Like I wrote in the first part, it’s also one of the most ignored. We wanted to build a house that would stay as naturally cool in the summer as possible. If we were successful, we wouldn’t need air conditioning. We also hoped to take advantage of modern insulation to mostly heat the house with a medium size wood stove, and avoid any forced-air duct work.
Having spent a lot of time in ‘the boreal’, and as a consequence (way too much) time in snow-holes …
They ‘work’ only due to the knowledge, not that “hot air rises” but, that “cold air sinks” (you sleep on a raised platform, with a ‘sink’ to allow the cold air to move away and air circulation to occur).
Just an aspect I thought you might consider (and that never gets included in modern house design, which spend inordinate amounts of time/effort/money on heating air, but seem to forget about where all that cold air goes to).
Counter-intuitively, most of the oldest homes here, whilst obviously being unable to totally exclude ‘drafts’ (windows, fire-place/chimney, etc.), have ‘intentional’ gaps at the (bottom of) doors that modern sensibilities/knowledge insist on blocking … until they realise it actually makes the home colder (qualifier; they allow cold air egress, but not free air-flow, due to 'air-lock' porches).
That and the predictable rise of auto-immune respiratory issues from living in hermetically sealed homes, re-breathing’ all the gunk, is my excuse for not doing all the ‘upgrades’ SDWMBO demands (it’s a good one, and I’m sticking to it).
Thanks a lot for sharing this, super appreciated. I love wood stoves, and have been thinking about picking one up for our house. The Vermont Castings Encore you've got looks gorgeous. I'm not sure if it's a loaded question, but what's your take on the pollution question of them...? Newer ones like the Vermont seems a lot better than older alternatives in that regard.
Digging these posts, and constantly re-interpreting the needs for climate here in the Pacific Northwest--but all the concepts apply.
I'm enjoying your series on your home, Simon! Looking forward to the next issues.
I see that you are familiar with the passive principles and you definitely maxed out the ventilation patterns. Curious to what other patterns did you consider.
The house definitely will be well rounded with a western(?) porch.