Tuesday, June 8, 2010

ancient energy efficient refrigerator

 a yakhchal

As early as 1700 BCE in Persia, people were storing ice underground in yakhchals (ice pits). They would collect ice from mountaintops and put them in the underground pit insulated by a special mortar. Windcatchers also helped to keep the yakhchals cool. Windcatchers were an architectural device that trapped cool air in from the wind and let hot air out. I'm still trying to figure out how this works, but if it could keep things cool in the desert, it should be really easy to operate in Canada. It makes me wonder why we burn so much fossil fuel to cool refrigerators and buildings when we could just use insulated pits and windcatchers. I think the houses of the future will all have giant pits in the middle... like so:

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