Solar-Powered Underfloor Heating

Aim: To develop a manual to implementing this kind of system for use in all types of building and greenhouses. Also to develop and provide pre-programmed electronics and set up kits for implementing this sort of system.

Why its important: More than half of the worlds heating and air conditioning carbon release and energy expense could be rendered unnecessary with solar collectors, geothermal underfloor heat sinks and very basic microcontrollers and sensors.

How it works: Heat is collected from the apex of a greenhouse or in a solar collector on the roof or beside the building. Hot air is pumped down through a network of hoses that run deep underneath the floor of the building heating the huge thermal mass of earth surrounding the tubes. When heating is required air is circulated through the thermal mass and back into the house. In a hot climate the same system can be used for cooling a house as an alternative to air-conditioning. In this case cold air from the night time and early hours of the morning is drawn through the thermal mass to cool it. Later, in the day time when cooling is required, the air in the house can be circulated through the hoses embedded in the cool thermal mass of the floor to cool it. With a large thermal mass and by using insulation around the thermal mass it’s possible to store considerable amounts of heat for a considerable time, such that it is possible to use heat stored from the summer to heat a building in the winter. Likewise it’s possible to store the ‘cold’ from the winter to cool in the summer.

Brief Outline of Process: Build a trial geothermal greenhouse and embed a network of hoses under the floor. Program a Raspberry Pi or similar microcontroller to turn a fan on and off when the temperature differential between the temperature of the air and the thermal mass rises above and below an adjustable trigger point. Monitor the effectiveness of the system and create a manual for implementing geothermal heating and cooling systems.

Parts Needed: Polytunnel and plastic, hoses, fan, ducts, arduino or pi and temperature sensors, temperature logging software, electrical cables.

Time: 40 hours assembly and testing, 40 hours writing the manual/documenting the process

Experiments: Different configurations and program settings.

Many mushroom and vegetable growroom and greenhouse growers can benefit from the underfloor heat reservoir robotics system, which will also help chilly Northern Europe to become independent of Russia gas imports, will help the elderly and infants in cold regions; this particularly applies to the Andes where extremely poor Quechua families lose high percentages of their infants to the cold in unheated properties.

The project will take place in Cusco, then later in other parts of South America and the cold Northern Hemisphere, including Britain, in chaga, seabuckthorn, berry projects. The idea behind the Elemental Electrical suite of ecological solutions to the industrial and agricultural dilemma of the 21st century is that the projects will run indefinitely and spread throughout the world in an autonomous grassroots fashion, and that the carbon sink aspects of the biological projects will be accounted and incorporated into full historical carbon accounting offsets of industrial participants of “Pay to Purify” cleantech conversions.

Such projects do not yet exist in Peru. High Andean cold is a significant cause of infant mortality.

Ours will also be the first with a Raspberry Pi controller (British industry).

BUDGET: Total: £1600 (Parts: £800, Construction: £400, Documentation: £400)