The Thermal Battery
For a very long time we have known, planned around and used the thermal inertia of the Monolithic Dome. We call that thermal inertia the thermal battery. Why battery? Because significant savings in heating and cooling equipment can be achieved if you can trim the highs and lows by using the battery.
Even more savings can be achieved, depending on the days and times heating or cooling is used. The amount used can be adjusted by taking advantage of the battery.
For instance, we might cool the dome shell with night air and let that coolness carry us through the day – thus eliminating the need for refrigerated air. On the other hand, we might heat the structure with warm, outside, daytime air and let it carry us through the night with little or no additional heat.
The Fresh-Air Battery
Besides the thermal battery, a Monolithic Dome has a fresh-air battery. Monolithic Domes have a huge amount of air space in them – all within the insulated building envelope. This space is generally much more than that available within conventional buildings of a similar size.
The fresh-air battery means that we can bring in fresh air when it’s convenient for us and breath it when it is convenient for our occupants. Use of the fresh-air battery becomes especially significant for churches, schools and commercial facilities.
Monitoring Air Quality
In such Monolithic Domes, the HVAC system computer monitors air quality using CO2 sensors to determine the need for fresh air. Because this is possible, the amount of fresh air introduced can be appropriate to the need, rather than a one-size-fits-all.
By having a Monolithic Dome church or arena full of fresh air when an audience arrives, it may be possible to go through much – if not all of an occupancy – without bringing significant fresh air into the building.
At the end of the session, we still need to trade-out the air, but we now do it after everyone has left, the sun has gone down and the world’s cooled off. By waiting, the air exchange may be done when conditions are right with few or no energy costs.
For schools, it may be possible to exchange the air either in the early morning or late afternoon when temperatures are more appropriate. (CO2 sensors to monitor the air quality is code appropriate.)
For conventional buildings, there is a propensity to minimize the amount of fresh air to save on heating and cooling costs. By using the space in a Monolithic Dome as a fresh-air battery, it is possible to have the freshest air at a reasonable energy cost.
By sizing the fresh-air intake larger, instead of smaller, and using appropriate computer controls, the building can be at least partially heated or cooled as well as kept fresh by outside air.