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For the Future, From the Past

Up until the middle of the twentieth century, people utilized root cellars
to keep food supplies cool and avoid spoilage in the summer and prevent
freezing in the winter. Not just root crops like potatoes, turnips, carrots,
and beets, root cellars stored the autumn harvest of families vegetable
gardens and seeds for the spring plantings. Along with the canned/pickled/
preserved vegetables, meats, and fruit, also the salt preserved fish and
meats, and last but not least the alcoholic beverages.

It was used on a daily basis for milk, butter, cream and bread to allow these
items to be used more than once. Before the dawn of electricity, it was quite
literally the home’s food pantry and refrigerator.

Most were constructed by digging a pit into the ground, lining it with wood,
stone, mortar, and/or sod, and erecting a house or shed over it, with access
through a trap door in the floor. Not to mention it made a dandy storm cellar.

Now all but gone, the root cellar has been relegated to pages of history. But
suddenly, racing back from the past, not the root cellar itself, but the
principle behind it. That’s right, kids, geo-thermal heating and cooling.

Almost everywhere across the entire planet, the upper 10 feet below ground
level stays the same temperature, between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit (10
and 16 degrees C). Those who came before us knew this and ingeniously utilized
it to their advantage with innovations such as the root cellar.

It took us long enough but we have learned to utilize that knowledge to our
own advantage with innovations such as the geothermal or ground source heat
pump systems which can use that constant temperature to heat or cool a building.
Pipes are buried in the ground near the building. Inside these pipes a fluid,
like the antifreeze in a car radiator, is circulated.

In winter, heat from the warmer ground goes through the heat exchanger of a
heat pump, which sends warm air into the home or business. During hot weather,
the process is reversed. Hot air from inside the building goes through the
heat exchanger and the heat is passed into the relatively cooler ground. Heat
removed during the summer can also be used to heat water.

So, Like a stubborn child who can only learn lessons the hard way, after over
50 years of Earth choking power plants cranking out electricity to our power
sucking inefficient heating and air conditioning systems, we finally, finally,
looked beyond the high utility bills and startled at the haze of pollution,
found (and are still finding), in our past, the solutions for our future.

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No Responses to “For the Future, From the Past”

  1. green blog Says:

    It’s true and in fact geo-thermal heating is often something we overlooked. I could remember this trick taught to us as a scout member was, the dirt from the campfire could actually be used to warm up the patch underneath us when we sleep.

    green blogs last blog post..10 More Ways To Stop Bleeding At The Pump

  2. Linda Says:

    Hi Green Blog … That is a cool tip. Maybe more tips like yours will be forth coming.

  3. CrazyKinux Says:

    That reminds me of these HVAC systems geothermal principles to heat or cool buildings. Once the system is in place it practically costs little to operate.

    CrazyKinuxs last blog post..Grande Marina, Capri (Italy)

  4. Linda Says:

    Hi CrazyKinux … you are correct! Let the ambient temperature of the earth help us out.

  5. kim Says:

    Great post! I am actually planning a root cellar on my property, talk about history repeating itself, my grandparents had one! Since we are planning on growing lots of food, we need a place to store it! I’ll be posting pics of that process.

    kims last blog post..What is a Floating Plastic Island ?

  6. Linda Says:

    Hi Kim … That is so cool! Cannot wait to see how you do it!

  7. Wilson Says:

    This is really a nice and provoking post, Linda.

    Well, I’m currently doing a underground thermal heat generator, which it will turn the geo-thermal heat into the energy…

    As it’s my first attempt, still don’t know whether it will work or not 🙂

    Wilsons last blog post..Enlarged Prostate

  8. Linda Says:

    Hi Wilson … Why thank you. You will keep us apprised on how you are doing with this project, won’t you? I hope so as I am interested on how cause I would love to have a generator like that!

  9. Barbara Swafford Says:

    Hi Linda,

    I love how you ended that, “…in our past, the solutions for our future.” Ironic how we moved into modern “living” abandoning what worked, only to revert back to an old concept years later. Maybe it’s time to study the past a little closer for more clues.

    Barbara Swaffords last blog post..Blog Visitors – Like Kids In A Candy Store

  10. BioTecK Says:

    This is a great idea for our next house.
    The house we currently live in is a rent house so we can’t build it right now, but I’ll definitely remember this when we buy our next house!

    BioTecKs last blog post..Free Hugs!?

  11. Linda Says:

    Hi Barbara … Or as the old saying goes, those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. In our case, blessed is a better word than doomed.

    Hi BioTeck … Cool! is your purchase coming soon? Looks like the market is very ripe for ya!

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