Aircrete Dome covered in Sand thermal benefits of earthships?

  • Does an aircrete dome "mostly" covered by sand have the same thermal benefits of that of an earthship meaning cool in summer and warm in te winter or is aircrete to much of an insulator for that?

    I ask as it would have the aesthetic benefits of the round curves inside plus a seamless roof as part of the whole possible with some light openings free from sand.


  • Major Contributor

    I have no experience with AC yet. As for earth ships, they have evolved over the years and many of them do not actually preform. The latest versions of the earth ship like the "simple survival" models have a 4" thick foam insulation envelope around 3 feet of dirt as the thermal mass. The tire walls are really kind of not the important issue. Dirt provides mass and insulation stores the cool of nights or heat from the days. Also, the climate of Taos new mexico has low night time temperature which makes possible cumfort in hot days. This not the case with most climates I think.

    Cool tubes pre cool/warm air on the way into the structure. If you place thin wall PVC pipe (which matches the heat transfer rate of dirt) in the ground 8 feet deep spaced 6' apart in a manifold manner you get 14.4 BTU per square foot. This makes it possible to calculate and size your tubes to match the demands of the structure. It's best recirculate the air not pull all of it in fresh.


    Further, nigh sky radiant cooling was been tested in 13 climates of new mexico and works very well when cool or heat is stored in a slab floor or in large insulated tanks of water.



    My point being this.. To assure comfort you need to know the insulation values (k value) of the dome and you need to design your method of choice to deliver the BTUs required.

    Cool tubes work well, can be passive, and are cheap. However, They provide and average temperature that gets on the low side of comfort by the end of winter and on the warmer side at the end of summer. Night sky Radiant cool/heat requires some power and pumps, but can be controlled to deliver more consistent results. Especially if using insulated water tanks, pumps, and fans.. (3,000 gallons per 1,000 square foot per day of storage.)

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