Like many traditional schools, this building has a line of 20 air conditioning units along its back wall. The companion building has another 20 units along its back wall. That’s 40 AC units at just one school! Consider what it costs to install 20 units. How much electrical do those 20 units require? How much copper? How much just plain expense does it take to install and run 20 units?
It is a well known fact that if you get below the surface of the earth a few feet, the temperature tends to be very even and at a constant 55 to 60 degrees, depending on latitude. So, it does not take a genius to understand that if you could move outside air through a buried pipe, you could alter its temperature and then move it into a house where it can warm or cool the home’s interior.
Determining the size of heating and cooling systems for Monolithic Domes offers some really special challenges. These challenges require serious original thinking. Factors that mean almost nothing in conventional structures are important in Monolithic Domes.
How do you bring fresh, breathable air inside your home, school or church without losing your Monolithic Dome’s energy efficiency? Here’s what I have learned.
To the HVAC engineer, the Monolithic Dome presents some serious challenges. The number one challenge has to do with recognizing and understanding the thermodynamics of the Monolithic Dome. Unlike any structure built in the conventional world, the Monolithic dome is a very large thermal storage.
Gordon Cuthbertson, owner of Cuthbertson Mechanical Engineers, of Mesa, Arizona and Ontario, Canada, was a skeptic. When Gordon first got involved with Monolithic Domes about four years ago, he, like so many others, had a hard time accepting and believing what the Monolithic Dome Institute (MDI) says about the thermal mass capability of its structures.
We have had our Monolithic Domes checked by professional engineers to calculate the actual heat loss through the structure. This is done by having a measurement of the amount of heating and/or cooling inputs into the building, matching the inputs with the degree days from local weather conditions, and calculating the R-value that must be in place to make the equation balance. In every case, we got an R-value in excess of 80 and generally over 100.
I installed a RenewAire EV130 ERV that’s small, quiet and efficient in the attic of our home in about three hours.