you can give yourself more room for these comments and definitions, if you like, by dragging the border up!|
battle of the sexes, thermal theater : Mini-skirted She says "I'm cold" and turns up the heat. Then coat-and-tied He rejoins "Well, I'm hot" and turns it back down. . . In a patriarchal world, the dresscode requires skirts for women, the thermostat will be set low, and locked in a little plastic box. Guess the sex of the keyholder...
eutectic salts : Salts which melt at room temperature. Since a phase change is involved, the energy (heat) stored in the molten salts is much higher than a similar volume of solid material. When the salt changes back to a solid, this heat is released.
hypocaust : A Roman invention; in this architectural technique, much used in colder climes like Great Britain, the smoke from a fire chamber is directed underneath a stone floor. I am told that hypocausts near Bath are still in service.
hydronic floor : a made-up word which, I am told, is a contraction of hydro (water) and electronic. This kind of technobabble sounds impressive, and is 'industry standard' so you better know it, but in my view 'heated floor' would do nicely.
magnetic pump : Water, especially when hot, is chemically aggressive. A magnetic pump isolates the wet side (impeller and chamber) from the delicate electrical parts on the dry side by spinning the impeller using a moving magnet on the dry side.
thermal mass : A large weight of material with a high heat content, acting as the dwelling's 'thermal flywheel' to keep temperatures from fluctuating as wildly as the outdoor ambient. Water is best, storing 62.5 Btus per cubic foot per degree (Don't you just love those British units?); stone (at 36) and concrete (at 32) are good; adobe (22), gypsum board and plaster (13), and wood (9 to 12 depending on species and density) range from fair to dismal; by definition, air is 1.
transfer fluid : Water is best. In hot water systems for colder climates, antifreeze is added; it reduces the transfer efficiency but keeps the system from failing spectacularly in a freeze. In hydronic floors, the water is often buffered so it doesn't attack any delicate plumbing parts.
thermocouple : An electrical sensor for measuring temperature. The conductance of the surface between two dissimilar metals changes predictably with temperature. Control circuitry tracks the temperature by measuring the conductance.
Dr Doug : my successor as technical editor of the Solar Living Sourcebook and an encyclopedic source of information about what's hot and what's not in the world of rational energy. His work can be found at Real Goods's website.
setback thermostat : An electronic device, a timer, memory, and thermocouple which allow programming of different ambient household and zone temperatures for different times of day. Typically, the bedroom will be set cooler at night, warmed just before awakening, and so forth...
Chernobyl : an object lesson in nuclear power, but an even better argument for energy sanity. We really don't need to be wasting 50% of the energy we use, simply to validate or enrich lazy manufacturers of '50s technology.
6-6-10 : The local builder's term for net made of 10-gauge wire welded at 6 inch intervals. It holds the cement together, surely, but it's more useful to the hydronic tubing layer as a grid for tying down the tube. Anticipating usage patterns is an art form.
© 2000 Solar Utilities Network. All Rights Reserved.
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© 1999 Solar Utilities Network. All Rights Reserved.