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geothermal and solar heating

  1. 60
    officialpaposted 5 years ago

    I have a house in South of France and I am planing to rebuild it totally. The house is about 600 square meters (6 460 sq feet), on a south facing hill, on the hight of 555 meters (1 820 feet). The structural work is concrete and the front elevation will be all glass. There is little flat surface around the house, most of the land is on slope of the hill. I am considering geothermal heating and/or solar panels. Do you think this is a good idea for such a house or should I go with traditional heating/cooling systems? What would you advise? All advise and ideas are much appreciated!

    1. Doc Snow profile image95
      Doc Snowposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      It sounds like an ideal spot for solar applications.  I'd strongly suggest you design with passive solar effects in mind, as a south-facing glass wall in the south of France should generate a lot of solar heat even if you don't intend it!  The result is then a large bill for air-conditioning in warm weather.

      There are several ways to utilize the heat; a Trombe wall, flooring with thermal mass, various schemes for heat exchange and storage.  But some form of heat storage is the key.  I'd Google "passive solar" and go from there.  Hot water heating using a separate collector is another money-saving approach worth a look.  You may also want to consider photovoltaic solar for electricity.

      I'm not sure what you have in mind for geothermal--most commonly this relies on a hot spring or well, which of course is not found just anywhere.  Do you have something like this near your house?

      I also wonder a bit about wind, since you are at altitude where often the wind resource is relatively good.  You might not want a large conventional horizontal-axis wind turbine, but there is now a very innovative Canadian-made model intended for residential use.  It's priced at about $6000 US, if I remember correctly.  I don't know about European availability, though.  You can read about it here:

      http://www.earthtronics.com/pdf2/2011-I … alog-a.pdf

      Seems like the price has come down a bit!

      Here's a site letting you compare several different residential designs:

      http://greenterrafirma.com/home-wind-tu … #windspire

      Good luck with your rebuilding!

      1. 60
        officialpaposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        I am also considering, if there's a way, to use the heat produced form air conditioning the house in the summer to heat up water in the swimming pool instead of just pumping the heat outside the house. Do you have any ide on this?

        1. Doc Snow profile image95
          Doc Snowposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          Should be a way to do it.  I'm a musician, not an engineer, but it's clearly an interface problem.  I'd guess that you need to use a better transfer medium than air to make it happen.  Direct approaches are out because you need the water warmer than the air.

          However--since the heat capacity of the water is so much greater than that of the air, I'm thinking it might be simpler and more cost-effective to just put a solar blanket on the pool in order to heat it!