Monday, August 17, 2015

Living Green in the Southwest: How to Stay Cool without Central Air Conditioning

I returned last week to the Columban Mission Center to find out how they keep their building cool (an old home on Magoffin built in 1920) without central air conditioning.

I found inside to be comfortable - perhaps not as cold as it could be with central air, but pleasant and certainly more than meerly tolerable.

There are two large whole house fans in the attic above the second floor. At 4 AM, Father Bob Mosher opens all of the windows on the first floor and turns the fans on (this could be automated) and all of the hot air in the house is sucked out the attic vents and the cool air is sucked in. At daybreak he closes the windows on the east side of the house and at 8 AM he shuts all the other windows. He turns off the whole house fans. Ceiling fans are on throughout the day circulating the cool air. The lights throughout the building are left off except when needed. All the fixtures have fluorescent lighting.

The attic is well insulated and, in addition, two inches of styrofoam insulation was recently added to the outside walls of the building and stuccoed over. That too has helped to keep the indoors cooler during the hot summer. 

From Proposed electric rate hikes.

Solar panels on the roof provide electricity during the day - something El Paso Electric Company wants to penalize all solar customers for having.

Click image to enlarge.

An eGauge app provides the Center with instant data about their energy usage including the electricity generated by the panels. The app provides real time data as well as data over a period of time.

Read a technology fact sheet to learn more about whole house fans including the difference in costs of running this fan versus central air. Try one penny per hour instead of twenty cents based on 8.5¢/kWh!

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1 comment:

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