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Pines Calyx Earth Tube Performance

Bothwell, Keith, Watkins, Richard (2015) Pines Calyx Earth Tube Performance. In: PLEA 2015 Proceedings. . (KAR id:53216)

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In temperate climates earth tubes achieve increased comfort in summer and the pre-heating of inlet air in winter, reducing the requirement for cooling and heating. This strategy was adopted to pre-temper air entering a small conference centre building in Kent, UK. The earth tube is about 16m long comprising a concrete pipe with an internal diameter of 0.6m. The pipe is located approximately 1.5m below ground level. A very low energy fan at the outlet end draws air through the tube and pushes it through a heat exchanger before it is distributed via ducts in the building. This paper reports on the results of monitoring the earth tube temperatures and air velocities under different weather conditions. Temperature sensors were positioned externally and at both ends of the earth tube. An anemometer was fixed in place 4m from the inlet end. This ‘fixed’ anemometer in the earth tube was calibrated and the velocity profile of the air flow in the tube was established. The air in the tube was found to have an almost uniform velocity profile, which is likely to be caused by the considerable turbulence created by changes in the direction of the tube, and the dimensions of the pipe relative to the flow rate. This indicates that the system was well-designed to maximise the heat exchange potential of the duct. The energy contribution of the earth in pre-heating and pre-cooling the air has been calculated at approximately 500W for each degree Kelvin raised or lowered, compared to only 18W power consumed by the fans. This demonstrates that earth tubes can make a very significant contribution to providing heating and cooling, with very low carbon emissions. Earth tubes are a durable and low-cost method of providing resilience in the face of climate change.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
Uncontrolled keywords: earth tubes, earth cooling, passive design, low energy design, natural ventilation, Passivhaus principles, hybrid systems, mixed-mode systems
Subjects: N Visual Arts > NA Architecture
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > Kent School of Architecture and Planning
Depositing User: K. Bothwell
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2015 14:11 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:31 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Watkins, Richard:
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