I long recognized that thermal heat storage is the best answer to making energy self-sufficiency work in the coldest parts of the world (Saskatchewan and Alaska have similar climate zones and in similar parts of each area. I am in Saskatchewan and the best ideas actually implemented happened in Alaska.) The problem is chemicals are always dangerous and expensive and water is hard to keep contained especially if there is a chance of freezing. Dirt is "dirt cheap" and most homes have dirt below them. Of course it is also expensive to move dirt around, even just in and out of a hole. This is where I have developed several ideas to get heat in and out of the soil without disturbing most of that storage soil as well as how to insulate that soil to keep the heat in and prevent ground water from leaving the heat storage soil (and getting into it) and "washing" the stored heat away. Alaska also has to deal with permafrost that most of Saskatchewan does not have to worry about (up there, you don't want to melt the permafrost as your house will sink into the very wet soil if it does melt). One guy in Toronto area drilled just 5-10 feet into the soil in a few dozen places under the house footprint and put a continuous loop of PEX radiant floor heating tubing into these holes for a relatively cheap thermal storage system below the lowest floor (which was a well-insulated wood joist floor). Making a rough guess using several unrelated mathematical methods, I figure I need about 4 to 8 feet of thermal storage soil depth for each floor of above-ground house assuming the same footprint of the storage and the heated part of the house. Of course Toronto is much milder climate than my city in Saskatchewan... but still a useful proof-of-concept. Note that this house will not be complete for a few months and then will take a year or two before we know how this Toronto house with heat storage functions.


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