bank barns

7.20 Bank barns deliver passive geothermal advantages

7.20.USA-5-detail-d Highlights Relevant to Sustainable Design:

Look again at passive geothermal for energy reduction.

I have drawn and written about bank barns multiple times in this book, given that the ground temperate is a beneficial constant and so many areas of the world have hills. This sketch includes at the upper center a small drawing of a bank barn with a curved ramp to a covered bridge that is the entry to the barn on the uphill side. As previously discussed in sketchbooks USA 2: Detail (b) and USA 3: Detail (a), bank barns take excellent advantage of passive geothermal properties of ground temperature.

In the design of our solar home, my wife and I built the lower level of our large family room addition into the hill to take advantage of the passive geothermal properties. The temperature difference in the summer is incredible. One can feel the cooler air inside than outside, and the same is true for the warmer ground temperature air in the winter. Our home is included in a documentary series “One Million Acts of Green” and has been featured in magazines, including the cover of Inventors Digest magazine. We feel at least like the multiple years of hard work on the strategy, design, and construction have yielded a terrific place to live with very low operating costs, as well as the possibility that it gives to others.

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Author and illustrator: Charlie Szoradi is an architect, inventor, and the CEO of Independence LED Lighting. He writes about many other topics related to bank barns and passive geothermal advantages through his extensive travels around the world.

If you have found this posting online, it is an excerpt from Mr. Szoradi’s book Learn from Looking that served as the inspiring seed content for this drawing share resource. For additional drawings and insights on bank barns, we hope that you enjoy exploring You can search via general terms such as sustainability as well as narrower terms such as bank barns, ground temperature, and passive geothermal advantages.


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