Sunday, April 1, 2012

John Hait’s book, "PASSIVE ANNUAL HEAT STORAGE, improving the Design of Earth Shelters" is the name of the other book I believe one might wish to read before planning an underground home. This is the method that I believe will work even with permafrost. It may have to be modified a little for permafrost, but will probably work.

My apologies for telling you about this method before I have read the book. I have read the information they have available on the internet. That is enough for me to be excited that I have found a way to solve the permafrost difficulty for underground home building in Alaska.

The gist of the method is that you make a very large umbrella of insulation above your underground home. It extends far beyond the walls of your home and traps the heat and confines it more than other methods. It still includes a very large amount of earth as a heat sink, so should be adequate to maintain a comfortable temperature even through a long cold winter.

He includes a lot of heat ducts that honeycomb the area of earth to be used as a heat sink. Intake and exhaust ducts are both used. The exhaust and intake ducts operate much like the flues mentioned in literature about building rockets stoves using cobb as the heat sink. 

The Passive Annual Heat, method of underground home building is going to be more painful on the pocketbook than the PSP one used by Mike Oehler. It requires more materials that probably must be purchased new. More waterproof sheeting is required because of the greater area that must be covered by it. The PAH method also requires slabs of insulation, also in large quantities.

The earth on top of the PAH method does not seem as if it would give as much protection from fire as the PSP method. I believe the thickness of the earth  for a hybrid method could be increased to change this. 

The straight PAH method would also require a lot more labor for digging than the PSP method. If you wanted the advantages of the PAH method for controlling the spread of the heat stored in the earth, I don't think you can avoid this particular disadvantage. If you are dealing with permafrost, you will probably need much longer to dig out, and fill back in your underground home, with the PAH method. You may be able to use assistance in the digging and refilling process to speed it up. In really remote areas of Alaska this is going to increase costs a lot.

Since I do not wish to speed up permafrost melt, I believe I am stuck with the extra labor, time, and expense of the PAH method.

I will be happy to share the information as soon as I have read, "PASSIVE ANNUAL HEAT STORAGE, improving the Design of Earth Shelters".

I hate to torture you by forcing you to wait for me to read the book before you can find out about it. If you prefer to read it yourself before I write about it here I will help you out. Here is a link to the site about the PAHS method of underground home building:

The site also has diagrams and general descriptions of the PAHS building method. That is for readers who are not ambitious enough to buy to buy and  read the book themselves. 



  2. Nice blog. I especially like to know about your experiences with your PAHS home. It is good to hear from someone who is living with it. Thanks for the URL.