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Back in the day, most houses weren’t insulated, and they leaked air (the technical term is infiltration).  To a certain degree, infiltration was good because it allowed fresh air into the house.  When energy started getting more expensive, people started making tighter, more insulated houses.  This saved energy, but it also trapped bad air inside the house, and it wreaked havoc inside poorly designed and constructed building envelopes.

Eventually, people learned that it’s still a good idea to build a house that’s air-tight and insulated, but it shouldn’t be done without the proper ventilation.  This is where a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) is crucial.

genuinehrv2

Basically, the heat from stale interior air is transferred to the fresh exterior air, which saves a bunch of energy.

Believe it or not, we had an HRV (Dad called it a “heat exchanger”) in our pig nursery when I was a kid.  That was almost 20 years ago IN A FARM BUILDING; it’s a shame that most houses built today don’t have one.

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9 Comments

  1. I remember that heat exchanger, and more importantly I remember that building before the heat exchanger was installed. The difference in air quality was absolutely unbelievable. And it was 25 years ago.

    I think you should design a passive unit that uses natural drafts instead of fans. Isn’t that what cupolas were for on old barns?

    • I think you’re right. My current design includes operable skylights; we’ll see if it works.

  2. i hope your pod has a cast iron rooster lightning rod on top of the cupola.

  3. this has nothing to do with air circulation, but where does a person put his bike in this house? im not leaving my out in the rain and certainly not stuffing it into the rafters or floorboards every day after a ride.

    • Good question. I was thinking that bikes, etc. would be stored outside of the pod but inside the dome/canopy. It would be easy to cut through the canvas, though, so I’ll probably need some sort of security (a dog, maybe?).

        • Lydia
        • Posted April 16, 2009 at 5:18 pm
        • Permalink

        And where will the dog go in the house?

  4. does the dog get a composting toilet?

    • He gets a mail shoot. (I tried to get Steve interested in a human mail shoot for waste but he didn’t seem interested.)

  5. put some water in it in the winter so it will be a humidifier. no more dry skin!


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