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Geothermal heating and cooling ventilation system

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20120305214 patent thumbnailZoom

Geothermal heating and cooling ventilation system


A system designed to introduce fresh air ventilation into the living space, eliminate contaminants, and add fresh air to augment a building's HVAC system. This is done in order to save energy, and the costs associated with heat loss in a building. The system employs the use of geothermal energy conferred to air via a cavity which is constructed in the basement, on the slab, in the crawl space and/or attic of a building. This cavity is created to circulate to absorb the geo and/or solar characteristics of a building, taking advantage of the consistent subterranean temperature of the earth and/or sun, in order to warm air from outside during the winter minimizing a heat sink, and cool air during the summer. One or more heat exchangers are used to transfer the energy from contaminated air in the cavity to clean air destined for the HVAC system.


Inventors: James P. Wright, Walter L. Bennett, IV
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120305214 - Class: 165 45 (USPTO) - 12/06/12 - Class 165 
Heat Exchange > Geographical

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120305214, Geothermal heating and cooling ventilation system.

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CONTINUITY DATA

This is a non-provisional application of provisional patent application No. 61/493,404 filed on Jun. 3, 2011, and priority is claimed thereto.

FIELD OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

The present invention relates to an air flow system, integrated into the structural foundation of a building, which employs the natural insulation of the earth\'s top soil to warm or cool air to an approximate temperature of 55 degrees, in order to assist the HVAC system of the building. A system of ducts is implemented and are designed to adapt to the seasonal changes in temperature, enabling both supplemental geothermal cooling in the summer, and geothermal warming in the winter. The present invention relies on the insulation properties of the subterranean basement of a conventional building, and takes advantage of the relatively consistent temperature maintained within a cavity underground. The present invention can heat or cool a dwelling by capturing the temperature differential of an attic, solar source or geothermal cavity as compared to the temperature of the dwelling.

BACKGROUND OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

In energy conscious times, with the cost of energy steadily rising, the desire to save money and energy has never been greater. From gas-saving hybrid vehicles to increasingly efficient insulation systems, individuals and corporations the world over are taking drastic strides to reduce their energy consumption. Unfortunately, the energy savings of making homes tight has resulted in indoor air quality concerns. There are current code concerns for indoor air quality.

Much of the focus of addressing the problem of energy consumption lately has been concentrated on investigating and enhancing alternative, renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, and geothermal power. While great strides have been made in solar technology in recent years, the cost is still prohibitive for the average consumer. Wind power has grown in popularity as well; however, utilizing the system requires a great deal of space in order to produce sufficient energy. At the same time, wind turbines and their accompanying batteries and capacitors are conventionally only effective as a supplement to conventional power from the electric grid, given that the turbines will not capture energy from the wind if there is no circulation of air or wind outside. Similarly, geothermal energy plants have been constructed which effectively harvest energy insulated within the earth\'s crust or top soil. Conventionally, geothermal energy is generally only employed for energy generation to supplement fossil fuel power. However, given that geothermal energy is stored nearly uniformly underground, and is generally constant, the integration of geothermal energy as a supplemental power source for cost-conscious individuals could significantly reduce energy costs on a smaller, more independent scale, rather than simply at a geothermal energy plant.

If there were a way to utilize the geothermal properties of the earth in order to reduce energy costs on a smaller, individual scale, the strain on the conventional energy grid could be substantially reduced. Thus, there exists a need for a supplemental system, based on the geothermal properties of the earth, which could be implemented into a building in order to reduce the heating and cooling costs traditionally associated with the use of solely conventional power.

While geothermal devices are known, extensive land is traditionally required, as well as expensive drilling down into the earth\'s crust. Thus there is a need for a device that can employ conventional geothermal concepts while integrating into the existing house structure, without elaborate drilling or damage to the foundations of a house or building.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,319,115 for “Air Cycle Houses and House Ventilation System” by Shingaki, issued on Nov. 20, 2001, shows an “air cycle house” house with “an underfloor ventilation layer, a wall insulating layer and a ceiling insulating layer laid externally of the floor, the interior wall and the ceiling, respectively.” An air intake which can be opened and shut is formed “through the exterior wall, the wall insulating layer and the interior wall to provide communication with the indoor space and the underfloor ventilation layer.” Shingaki\'s invention “allows outdoor air to flow through the wall ventilation layer which locates externally of the wall insulating layer surrounding the indoor space. Since the air can pass through the wall ventilation layer upwardly into the underroof space, the inside of the wall is also protected from mold, ticks, dew condensation, etc.” Shingaki, like the present invention, uses a subfloor and dual walls for ventilation purposes. However, unlike the present invention, Shingaki does not employ heat exchangers, and is not configured to provide year-round functionality. Additionally, the insulating layers proposed by Shingaki do not travel the area of the flooring and walls in the same manner as the present invention, nor does Shengaki employ heat exchangers to ensure the safety of the air as free from contaminants.

U.S. Pub. No. 2008/0230206 for “Energy Recovery and Humidity Control” by Lestage et al., published on Sep. 25, 2008, shows a system that utilizes an enclosure “which contains an enthalpy exchange core and a heat exchange sub-core and a plurality of ducts”. The enclosure is installed in a basement, crawlspace or cellar, with ducts that receive air from the outside and supply air to the dwelling. However, unlike the present invention, Lestage et al. does not employ heat exchangers, and is not configured constantly circulate fresh air into the home, eliminating issues of contamination.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,843,786 for “Enclosure Conditioned Housing System” by Walkinshaw et al., issued on Jul. 4, 1989, shows “a continuous building basement wall and floor cavity,” the cavity being placed around the outer walls and floor of a basement. Ventilated air is moved through the cavity in order to thermally condition the basement enclosure structure. However, unlike the present invention, Walkinshaw et al is configured to condition the air of the basement of a structure only, whereas the present invention employs air that is circulated along the envelope of a subterranean basement of a building in order to alter the temperature of fresh air pumped into the building from outdoors.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,843,718 for “Method of Guiding External Air etc.” by Schmitz, issued on Jan. 18, 2005, shows a method for guiding external air in a building shell and in a building. The method uses an “inner gap” and “outer gap,” with external air brought into the outer gap and reaching the inner gap through a permeable layer. Schmitz varies from the present invention in that it does not employ heat exchangers in order to ensure the safety of air destined for the living space of the building.

SUMMARY

OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

The present invention is a supplemental heating and cooling system which employs the geothermal properties of the earth to reduce the strain on a building\'s conventional HVAC system. The system is integrated into the foundation of a home or building, and utilizes the cavity of the building\'s basement and/or slab and/or attic to enact a heat exchange system in conjunction with a system of ducts designed to facilitate air circulation while providing ample time for the geothermal properties of the earth to heat or cool circulated air.

The system of the present invention is designed to function differently according to the changes in seasonal temperature. The present invention preferably requires the installation of a sealed, double walled, double floored basement enclosure, which creates a geothermal air cavity between the concrete foundation of the house, and the artificial walls and flooring. The geothermal air cavity extends across the entirety of the basement foundation in order to take advantage of the greatest area exposed to the relatively stable ground temperature. The intent of the present invention is circulate air within this basement geothermal air cavity, which is similar to the cavity within a insulated drinking thermos, and employ the relatively static ground temperature to slowly heat air from outside the house in the winter, which may exist at temperatures well below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, up to the approximate, relative ground temperature, often cited to exist between 45 and 65 degrees, depending on location. Similarly, air is cooled in this same fashion during the summer months. Air is pumped through a series of ducts and down into the geothermal air cavity created below and aside the basement walls and ceiling, altering the temperature of the air. It is commonly understood that, in the summer months, the subterranean basement maintains a cooler temperature than the rest of the house due to the properties of energy. Similarly, in the winter months, the basement maintains a warmer temperature than the outside air, given that the air is insulated sufficiently, and is kept slightly warmer due to the geothermal properties of the earth. Additionally, the present invention employs a system of fail-safes to ensure that potentially contaminated air that was circulated within the basement cavity does not enter the home or building, but rather, the energy is transferred via a system of heat exchangers.

Advantages to the system of the present invention include the ease of installation, the implementation of a vacuum within the walls and under the foam layer employed by the present invention, as well as 24-hour fresh air ventilation. Additionally, more usable living space is made available via the elimination of common basement contaminants such as mold, mildew, radon, and organic matter. The present invention establishes a similar or same temperature and humidity level from the basement, all the way up to the top floor of a building, meaning that all floors of the building may be used by inhabitants comfortably, even in extreme weather.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 displays a view of the basement integration of the closed loop process of air flow of the present invention as viewed from above.

FIG. 2 exhibits a cutaway view of the walls and flooring of the present invention which constitute the basis for the geothermal air cavity of the present invention.

FIG. 3 displays a diagram depicting the path of air through the system of the present invention as directed by the ‘summer open loop’ process.

FIG. 4 shows a view of the walls and flooring of the geothermal air cavity of the present invention as viewed from above.

FIG. 5 is an image showing the path of air during the winter open loop process of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The present invention is a system for augmenting the conventional HVAC system of a building via the use of the known geothermal properties of the earth. The goal of the present invention is to provide a means of eradicating contaminants within a basement, such as mold, mildew, allergens, and radon gas, and thereby enhancing the quality of living for the inhabitants of the building, maintaining additional, usable living space within the building, free from said associated contaminants frequently found to exist in conventional basements. Similarly, by augmenting the conventional HVAC system of a building, money is ultimately saved by the end user. The present invention seeks to regulate the temperature of an entire building by employing the relatively constant temperature found within the concrete foundation, concrete basement, crawl space, slab, and/or attic of the building. The present invention solves the problem of basement contamination and dampness effectively by applying a ventilation system to the internal structure of the basement, keeping the basement dry. Through this process, the temperature of the walls, original concrete basement flooring, crawl space, slab, attic and/or any other stale air room is conveyed to fresh air which is to be circulated throughout the building.

The system of the present invention may be outlined, as seen in FIG. 1, as follows: First, fresh air enters the basement of the house via a fresh air intake duct (10). The fresh air intake duct (10) is conventional, and is preferably proportionally sized to the size of the system at large. The fresh air intake duct (10) is preferably filtered in order to improve air quality, and ensure contaminants do not enter the system. ‘The fresh air then enters a first geo air to air heat exchanger (20) preferably housed within the basement. The first geo air to air heat exchanger (20) is a conventional ERV, and offers a reduction of up to 30% humidity. The first geo air to air heat exchanger (20) is preferably equipped with a conventional air filter to filter the air for a second time. The first geo air to air heat exchanger (20) makes the fresh air from outside within a few degrees of the stale air held within the basement without introducing contaminants. Heat is exchanged between stale return air that has completed the cycle of the system. The fresh air then exits the first geo air to air heat exchanger (20) and travels through a first duct (30). The first duct (30) is preferably a conventional duct or PVC pipe structure.

The fresh air then arrives at a dwelling air to air heat exchanger (50), where it is further conditioned by stale air being returned from the kitchen and bathrooms of the building’ and or any other stale air room (40). Humidity of the air is preferably stabilized or removed at the dwelling air to air heat exchanger (50), but it is envisioned that the present invention could be configured to remove humidity at either the dwelling air to air heat exchanger (50 and/or the first geo air to air heat exchanger (20). In alternate embodiments of the present invention, the humidity setting of the system may be changed manually in order to conform to the necessity of the current season.

Next, the fresh air is then conditioned to the approximate temperature of the interior of the building via the dwelling air to air heat exchanger (50). The temperature of the stale air is conveyed to the fresh air without risk of contact or contamination. The fresh air then enters a second duct (60). The second duct (60) is preferably identical in size to the first duct (30). The fresh air is transferred to an air handler (100), where the flow of the fresh air is handled. The air handler (100) is conventionally designed. Within the air handler (100), air from the building\'s HVAC system joins the fresh air (if necessary) according to the thermostat setting on the HVAC system. The air from the HVAC system is controlled via a conventional damper (90). The damper (90) controls the flow of air from the HVAC system according to the settings provided by the thermostat of the system via conventional means. The fresh air, now at the desired temperature, then passes to a series of supply ducts (110), which route the fresh air to all of the rooms of the building.

The series of supply ducts (110) are designed to supply fresh air to each room of the building, and room temperature stale air is continuously extracted from the kitchen, bathroom, and any other stale air area of the building. It is envisioned that the existing HVAC ducts may be employed to route the fresh air to the rooms.

After circulating within the building, the fresh air becomes stale air. Given that the air is now stale, it is advantageous to remove the potentially contaminated and stale air from the building. The dirtiest rooms of a building are known to be the bathrooms and kitchen. Therefore, the stale air is carried, via a vacuum, into a series of return air ducts (40) from the kitchen and bathrooms of the building. The stale air return ducts (40) are preferably the same size in diameter as the supply ducts (100), and are conventional pipes or ventilation ducts commonly found in a building. However, these ducts may need to be installed into the building or simply rerouted to be employed by the system of the present invention. The stale air is routed to the basement, where it is pumped into a geothermal air cavity established against the concrete walls and concrete floor of the basement. The geo-cavity (120) may be seen along the walls and along the floor in FIG. 1 & FIG. 2.

The geothermal cavity (120) exists beneath a foam layer (170) which is placed against the original concrete basement floor (160), as well as against the original concrete basement wall (205), as seen in FIG. 2. After circulating within the geothermal air cavity, the stale air is routed to the first geo air-to-air heat exchanger. The first geo air-to-air heat exchanger transfers the heat properties of the stale air to fresh air being drawn in through the fresh air intake duct (10). The stale air then exits the first geo air-to-air heat exchanger, and is pumped outside of the basement via a stale air vent (130). Finally, new fresh air is pumped into the first geo air-to-air heat exchanger (20) through the fresh air intake duct (10), beginning the system of the present invention anew.

The system of the present invention involves the construction of a geo-cavity (120) which is established along the original concrete basement floor (160) and the interior basement concrete walls (205) of a building. The system of the present invention creates the geo-cavity (120) via the erection of a series of foam panels (200) which are interlocked together and sealed to be air-tight. It should be understood that the foam panels (200) may be interlocked together by any conventional means. The foam panels (200) are designed to line the entirety of the original concrete basement floor (160), as well as the original concrete walls (205) of the basement.

The foam panels (200) are configured to have two differing sides: a first side which has a series of ridges or points (shown as ‘feet’ (15) in FIG. 2) that create the geo-cavity (120) beneath the foam panels (200) such that air may pass beneath the foam panels (200) and not through them. It should be understood that the foam panels (200) are designed such that air may travel underneath the foam panels (200) in a space present between the original concrete basement floor (160) and the foam panels (200). The first side of the foam panels (200), equipped with ‘feet’ (15) is pressed against the original concrete basement floor (160) and the original concrete basement walls (205). The second side of the foam panels (200) is smooth, and designed to be covered with framing and drywall (in the case of the walls) or a layer of sealing concrete (180) (in the case of the flooring), as seen in FIG. 2. Covering the foam panels (200) in this manner causes the interior envelope of the basement to appear as natural walls and flooring of a basement. The first side of the foam panels (200) are preferably plastic coated in order to aide in the structural integrity of the foam panels (200).

Stale air gathered from the kitchen and bathrooms and/or any other stale air area of the building is pumped, via the dwelling air to air heat exchanger (50) through duct (70), into the geo-cavity (120), where it is distributed evenly across the original basement concrete floor (160). This causes the geo-cavity (120) to become pressurized, given that the foam panels (200) are preferably sealed to be air tight. After being pumped into the geo-cavity (120) beneath the foam panels (200) placed above the original basement concrete floor (160), the stale air exits the cavity via a series of small tubes which are placed along the perimeter of the basement, along the concrete basement walls (205). Alternatively, a labyrinth could be constructed to force air underneath the floor and then exit a duct similar in size to the original duct of air entry under the floor (110). These tubes focus the stale air into an extended geo-cavity (120) that exists along the concrete basement floor (160) and walls (205) of the basement. The pressure within the system, driven by fans housed within the dwelling air to air heat exchanger (50), forces the air up to the top of the concrete basement walls (205) along the foam panels (200) where the air escapes through a series of small stale-air escape holes (140), and into a manifold (145) which preferably lines the entirety of the top of the layered wall (200). From the manifold (145), air is routed to all rooms of the building via a series of supply ducts (110) after passing through several ducts, exchangers, and an air handler.

As shown in the example, FIG. 4, with a basement with two interior wall and two exterior walls, a few large stale-air escape holes (150), crafted to be larger than the small stale-air escape holes (140) are positioned at the extremities of the wall, farthest from the stale air escape hole (130). These large stale-air escape holes (150) are in place in order to counteract the commonly understood rule of airflow, stating that flowing air follows the path of least resistance to the quickest route escape, in order to equalize the pressure.

Consequently, the present invention relates to a basement integrated geothermal heating and cooling system which employs a system of ducts, as well as an insulation cavity (120) created between the interior concrete foundation walls of a basement, and an artificially placed set of thin walls (200) and flooring (170) integrated into the basement housing. Stale air is directed from bathrooms and kitchen (40) of the building into this geo-cavity (120) through a dwelling air to air heat exchanger (50) and duct (70), and is then heated or cooled, depending on the season, by the geothermal properties of the earth, whereby the energy is then transferred by one or more conventional air to air heat exchangers to the fresh air en route to the HVAC system of the building.

The present invention is a system designed to be integrated into a home or other building. Said home or other building may or may not be gutted to the framing. However, it is advised to be properly insulated and air sealed to create a “Continuous Whole Building Ventilation”, for healthy indoor air quality, as stale air within the cavity is not permitted to come into contact with fresh air within the home, or pumped in from outdoors.

The present invention manages to harness the geo-thermal energy of the earth, as well as the natural cooling effect provided by the evaporation of moisture in the cooling season, i.e. the warm months of the year. The flow of air through this system can be seen in its preferred embodiment in FIG. 1. The installation project of the present invention begins with the need to convert a damp basement into a dry mold free space. The damp, musty, cool, un-waterproofed basement walls and floors are ideal for harboring moisture, which can be used to create an evaporative cooling effect when applied to air via the present invention.

Due to the air space (120) between the floor and walls and insulation qualities of the panels (200 and 170), the basement structure of the present invention is no longer a heat sink—and has become a thermal battery/storage unit assisting the overall seasonal performance of the building\'s heating and cooling system. The basement structure and adjacent earth, during the beginning of summer, will be cooler than normal due to the winter\'s heat extraction cycle, and it will be warmer than normal at the beginning of winter, due to the dumping of heat during the summer. This results in a thermal energy lag effect in the foundation and soil, which assists the home\'s heating and cooling when equipped with the present invention. A basement equipped with the system of the present invention is therefore designed to function similar to that of a battery, storing energy in the form of heat and applying it to ‘flywheel’ the building thermally into the next season.

Another goal of the present invention is to make a heating and cooling system a geothermal exchange ventilation system for geo-thermal federal tax credits by illustrating a new and efficient system of energy for our homes.

The present invention is designed to be installed with minimal effort by individuals with limited experience and expertise in the realm of building ventilation. Ideally, the foam panels (200 and 170) of the present invention may be sold at traditional hardware stores for individuals to construct the system of the present invention within their own home. The foam panels (200 and 170) employed by the system of the present invention are designed to simply be placed over the bare, existing, original concrete basement floor (160) and walls (205). The foam panels (200 and 170) are easily interlocked together without special skills. The foam panels naturally seal together to form an air-tight seal; however, this seal may be augmented by the use of caulks or tapes. The air-tight seal established by the foam panels (200 and 170) is crucial to the function of the present invention, as a vacuum is created within the geo-cavity (120) by the pressure supplied by the first geo air to air heat exchanger (20) and the dwelling air to air heat exchanger (50). In total, the present invention is preferably designed to function on relatively low power. Some instantiations of the present invention may be powered by as little as 40/80 watts.

The present invention solves the issue of poor indoor air quality, as the air of the building is continually being changed out for fresh air from outdoors. Additionally, the present invention solves the problem of basement contamination caused by radon gas, mold, mildew and allergens by constantly circulating reclaimed air from the building along the bare concrete walls (205) and the original concrete floor (160) of the basement, where mold and mildew are commonly known to exist. The air helps to foster the evaporation of any liquid found in a damp basement. This evaporation cools the air as well, helping to augment the HVAC system during the warm months of the year.

In other words, with reference to FIG. 1, the closed loop process of the system of the present invention is as follows: First, fresh air enters the home through a fresh air intake duct (10) that is preferably filtered. Next, fresh air then passes through a second set of air filters as it enters the first geo air to air heat exchanger (20). The first geo air to air heat exchanger (20) uses the exiting Geo Cavity (120) stale air to condition the twice filtered incoming fresh air to become the approximate temperature of the subterranean basement concrete floor (160) and concrete walls (205) without introducing contaminants. The conditioned twice filtered fresh air exits the first geo air to air heat exchanger (20) and travels through ducting (30) to the dwelling air to air heat exchanger (50). Room temperature stale air is continuously extracted from the kitchen and bathrooms or any other stale air area via the stale air return ducts (40) and passes through the dwelling air to air heat exchanger (50) as it travels through duct (70) to supply the Geo Cavity (120). The dwelling air to air heat exchanger (50) further conditions the twice filtered fresh air to the approximate room temperature of the stale air that is continuously removed from the kitchen, bathrooms, and any other stale air areas via the stale air return ducts (40). The twice filtered and now twice conditioned fresh air enters a subsequent duct (60) as it travels to the intake side of the air handler (100). A damper (90) is employed to direct the conditioned fresh air into the air handler (100). The twice filtered and twice conditioned fresh air then passes through the air handler (100), collecting any residual heat lingering inside of the air handler (100). The twice filtered and twice conditioned fresh air, now at the desired temperature, enters the manifold which directs the air through a series of supply ducts (110) in order to evenly distribute the air to all rooms inside of the building. If needed per the thermostat setting of the HVAC system, the air handler (100) can augment the temperature of the fresh air being distributed to the rooms of the building.

The most stale room temperature air in the building is located primarily in the kitchen and bathrooms, which is extracted out, along with other stale air, through a series of stale air return ducts (40). The stale air then travels through the dwelling air to air heat exchanger (50), then through duct (70), supplying the Geo cavity (120), where the stale air becomes the approximate temperature of the subterranean concrete basement floor (160) and walls (205). The stale air then enters the first geo air to air heat exchanger (20), then through duct (130) as it leaves the building.

With reference to FIG. 5, the flow of air in the winter open loop process of the present invention will now be outlined. Fresh air is brought in through a filtered fresh air intake duct (10A) and arrives within the earth tube 310. Next, the fresh air is routed through the earth tube (310) and on to the geo-cavity (120) where the temperature of the air becomes similar to that of the geo-cavity (120). This air, having traveled through the earth tube (310) and the geo-cavity (120) is now stale and contaminated. The temperature of this air is conveyed to new fresh air brought through another fresh air intake duct (10) and continues into the first heat exchanger, known as the geo air to air heat exchanger (20). Then the stale air exits the system through the stale air outduct (130). The fresh air moves on through duct (70) to a second heat exchanger, known as a dwelling air to air heat exchanger (50). There it is equalized with the internal current temperature of the house via stale air collected from the bathrooms and kitchen of the house via the building stale air out (130). This stale air collected from the bathrooms and kitchen of the house is then ported out of the house via the stale air out (130). The fresh, ideal temperature air then passes through the duct (100). A damper (90) directs the fresh air towards the air handler. The fresh air passes through the air handler and is routed to the building, where it circulates to all rooms within the building. The air becomes stale and is eventually collected from the bathrooms and kitchen of the building, and ran through the dwelling heat exchanger (50) prior to leaving the house via the stale air out (130).

The summer open loop process of the system of the present invention is outlined in FIG. 3. It is primarily identical to that of the winter open loop process shown in FIG. 5 aside from one primary aspect: stale air returning from the home is not routed back to the dwelling heat exchanger (50), but instead, is ported out of the building via the stale air out (130). Therefore, stale air from the geo-cavity (120) is routed into both the earth tube or attic geo-heat exchanger (20) and the dwelling heat exchanger (50) in order to doubly condition the air, aiding the cooling process in the summer.

Alternate embodiments of the present invention may be configured to function equally with in other environments pertaining to a building, such as slabs, attics and crawl spaces. Similarly, the system of the present invention may be configured to function within a conventional earth tube placed within the ground. Preferably, in all alternate embodiments of the present invention, foam panels (200) are employed in order to maintain a layer of air which may flow over the interior wall and floors of a structure, in order to capture the energy properties held within the structure. Due to the continual air flow within a basement equipped with the system and foam layers (200) of the present invention, radiating energy loss is minimized. In all forms of the present invention, the layer of foam in addition to the current of air moving beneath the foam within the geo-cavity (120) also helps to provide insulation for the energy of the system, maximizing the effect of the present invention, as well as the duration of its function.

Alternate embodiments of the present invention may employ alternate forms of the foam panels (200) designed to line the preferably subterranean original walls and flooring of a building. These alternate forms of the foam panels (200) would preferably be configured with feet (15) arranged in a pattern such that the air is channeled in a precise manner that would maximize the area of contact between the stale air and the concrete of the floor and walls. Such a channel would preferably be arranged such that the air would be forced to travel in a serpentine pattern, amounting to a labyrinth in which the air must travel in order to reach the escape tubes upon exit, prior to being pumped into the earth tube or attic geo-heat exchanger (20). In this embodiment, stale air is preferably guided through a series of alternating channels, similar to that of a serpentine pattern.

Additionally, the present invention may be employed in assisting to ‘net zero’ out a building combined with building envelope conservation measures. A building may be ‘net zeroed’ on an annual energy use. In all instances of the present invention, the system of the present invention is designed to contribute a geo form of ‘passive house energy,’ known in the industry to be a supremely energy efficient and nearly self-sustaining system.

An additional alternate embodiment of the present invention may employ additional capacitors in order to ‘store’ the geothermal temperatures generated or held within the earth for longer periods of time than provided by merely employing the basement/foundation of a building. In this manner, the ‘battery’ that is the concrete foundation and basement of a building may be expanded. Methods of expanding the functional subterranean elements within the ground may include, but are not limited to, installing a drum or well beneath the foundation of the house capable of holding water, sand, or other thermally sensitive element. Additionally, solar panels may be employed in the winter months in order to augment the geothermal generation of heat within the drum.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120305214 A1
Publish Date
12/06/2012
Document #
13488427
File Date
06/04/2012
USPTO Class
165 45
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
24J3/08
Drawings
6




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