Geothermal in Chile

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Re: Geothermal in Chile

Post by admin » Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:08 am

We have been telling clients to plan to go with two contractors. One that will build the house, then drop out as he gets to the 90% done stage. Then another to complete the last 10% or perhaps 20% of the house. It will save everyone a bunch of time and money, rather than trying to chase a contractor that has already moved on in their mind to something else. Fresh crew.
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Re: Geothermal in Chile

Post by Vicki and Greg Lansen » Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:20 pm

admin wrote:We have been telling clients to plan to go with two contractors. One that will build the house, then drop out as he gets to the 90% done stage. Then another to complete the last 10% or perhaps 20% of the house. It will save everyone a bunch of time and money, rather than trying to chase a contractor that has already moved on in their mind to something else. Fresh crew.

As someone with a tad bit of experience in this department, this is a wise, wise plan. Not only wise, a distinct possibility, whether by choice, or fate.

I will take photos of the micro-hydro episode and report back. Forget asking technical questions. I have no idea. It's all string theory to me. My neighbor Nono is my Contractor and Jefe. If she nods, I say ok. After all the shit storm I've dealt with over the last year, she is the one who has steered me in the right direction and pulled me out the the quicksand that building in Patagonia can be. She goes and gets material quotes for me, often at deeply discounted rates than I get by myself. While I get a little bit of the standoffish attitude now at the ferraterias, I don't get gouged anymore. And I've learned to walk away. Shipping routes are opening up now here, and I can take my business elsewhere.

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Re: Geothermal in Chile

Post by jehturner » Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:49 pm

Gloria wrote:We don't see the benefits of a wood stove other than getting the walls and ceiling blackened, we don't particularly care about burning wood or chopping it either.
Well, it's a lot cheaper to run (edit: than direct gas or electricity, possibly not geothermal). And you can get wood delivered pre-cut to the right size (35cm). But of course proper insulation is still a good plan...

James.

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Re: Geothermal in Chile

Post by tombrad2 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:04 pm

As far as I remember my years in Chiloe we never need a stove there, despite the weeks raining without stop the thermal sensation was not cold really, and in cold days we used to stay at the kitchen around the wood stove burning all the day. I am not sure if cost of isolation has an economic sense in some places in Chile where the weather is not extreme (most of Chile indeed), in Arica by the way you can live all the year in a tent with no problem at all, some people do it so.
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Re: Geothermal in Chile

Post by allegro » Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:15 pm

For what it's worth I am completely over my delusion that our house is going to be done by the spring. Luckily we arranged for our apt in El Golf and I love it so I'm not freaking out any more, but I REALLY have to get used to this "Oh don't worry, don't worry" but then "It won't be done anywhere near schedule" thing. admin, I brought up the idea of 2 sets of contractors and the architect thought it might be a good idea. He also warned against using maestros so I think we are going to aim for some construction firms to do most of the work. We met a (native) couple who had built a house in our region recently, had some maestros do electrical work, and it burnt to the ground the day they got the keys.
tombrad2 wrote:...I am not sure if cost of isolation has an economic sense in some places in Chile where the weather is not extreme (most of Chile indeed)....
To me it's not so much the economy of it in a monetary sense, but it's definitely more environmental to use less energy. You might spend as much on the insulation as you'd save in energy over 5 years, but you use less energy and that's a good thing. I feel very very apprehensive about depending on stable sources of energy in the near future.

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Re: Geothermal in Chile

Post by olderic » Mon Mar 16, 2009 12:37 am

my-oh-my, and my-oh-my again...
I've been reading for many hours these last two days on this excellent forum, preparing for a two month trip, later this year, to check out Chile. Reading the widely varied experiences of so many people is supremely helpful. But this thread has me laughing and choking at the same time. There are solid answers to most of the questions raised here, and excellent advice available for the asking. In other threads the point is made, time and again, that one should visit Chile extensively before leaping to it. Well, ditto that careful preparation before you start building a house, and double ditto if you wish that house to be thermally efficient.

I had a wonderful experience at a school in Cuernevaca Mexico 42 years ago. Probably the greatest lesson they taught, was that we norteamericanos need to learn a bit of humility, and that the Mexican nationals are poorer, but not stupider, than we. Surely the same is true of Chilean nationals.

I'm looking forward to travel/living in Chile. Comparing notes with Chilean builders and architects about "green construction" is tops on my list of things to do.

Eric

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Re: Geothermal in Chile

Post by pohler » Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:28 am

olderic wrote:my-oh-my, and my-oh-my again...
I've been reading for many hours these last two days on this excellent forum, preparing for a two month trip, later this year, to check out Chile. Reading the widely varied experiences of so many people is supremely helpful. But this thread has me laughing and choking at the same time. There are solid answers to most of the questions raised here, and excellent advice available for the asking...
I hope you aren't talking about "Solid Answers" in regards to Geothermal and Ground Source Heat Pumps, because there really weren't that many. And now that you brought this post back to the top, I feel the need to address them. :P
-Clint

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Re: Geothermal in Chile

Post by pohler » Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:37 am

admin wrote:Are you confusing Geothermal as in using steam from the ground (or pumping water to generate heat) with geo heat pump type heating and cooling systems for homes which just circulate a closed loop of liquid through the ground to heat or cool a house by changing the pressure in the line. I am not aware of any systems that use true geothermal for just homes. They are fairly big industrial operations similar to drilling an oil well...
Exactly. Geothermal Power is developed ONLY in areas of active geothermal activity...think geysers, hot springs, etc. and usually use high temperatures in the ground to flash steam to drive turbines to make electricity, or to directly distribute that heat to homes, etc.

A "geo heat pump" is just that, a heat pump that uses the ground as a heat sink and can provide both heating AND cooling depending on the temperature difference. The ground and groundwater will approximate the average temperature of the area.
-Clint

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Re: Geothermal in Chile

Post by pohler » Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:39 am

allegro wrote:They're both really the same thing, just on a different scale.
No, they aren't. Not at all. See above post.
-Clint

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Re: Geothermal in Chile

Post by pohler » Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:48 am

j. Ro wrote:...They also say that the system should be used year round. Because in the summer when it is hot it will "recharge" the ground by removing heat from the air and storing it in the ground. The guy at the home show last weekend said that this is the number one complaint from people that use the system. They use it just fine in the winter for a few years but never use it in the summer months, instead the just open a window, so they drain the heat from the ground and never replace it. With the tectonics in Chile the ground might be hotter or regenerate lost heat faster but it is still a concern that we are looking into before we install the system.
Whether or not it has to be recharged depends on NUMEROUS variables, both local and the type of Ground Source system used. That being said, the tectonics of Chile are going to have NOTHING to do with this unless you are DIRECTLY in an area of geothermal activity. Think of it this way, does any well water come up warm? If not, then you probably don't have any geothermal activity. The groundwater table and solar radiation (within 30ft or so) will keep the soil temp around the average mean temp of the area, with seasonal fluctuations up and down.
-Clint

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Re: Geothermal in Chile

Post by olderic » Mon Mar 16, 2009 11:31 pm

Thank you pohler, for your posts. No, I didn't mean to imply that the "solid answers" were given on this forum thread; I was attempting to be polite, while making the point that there ARE answers to be had, by asking people who know what they're talking about. (as you obviously do) BTW, where are you Gloria, when we need you?

Noticing that you are in Texas (I am in Michigan), I would like to bring the conversation back to Chile. I hear the gringos talking a lot about wood frame construction in Chile. Is this typical of historical Chilean construction, or is it an export of U.S. habits? Thermal massing is an essential part of energy conservation technique, especially in moderate climes. This implies the superiority of stone, concrete, and earth berms, over wood frame construction.

Would you, tombrad2, please say more of your "developing in an organic way", especially as it relates to Chile.

In the interest of full disclosure, I will state my bias: My (prejudiced) opinion, at this time, is that Ground Source Heat Pumps are technological overkill for the majority of Chile, which would be better served by "organic" architecture concepts. Still, I am entirely open to good argument and evidence to the contrary!

Eric

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Re: Geothermal in Chile

Post by tombrad2 » Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:28 am

Hi Erik

First you have to consider than weather in Chile is not so extreme as most of the US, I spent 4 years living in Chiloe, which we consider a very extreme bad weather, but it never snows there, and temperature is seldom below zero. Most of populated areas here have temperature easy to stand without calefaction or air conditioner, except for few weeks a year. It is VERY diferent situation than snow season, lets say in Buffalo or hot weather in Arizona.

That is why heating or air conditioners are not as important as in the USA, this explain also the loose construction standards. In Arica by example, you may live in a tent with a sleeping bag at the beach during all the year, homes has flat roof, sometimes with holes because it NEVER rains here, etc.

There are a lot of enviromentally friendly construction here in Chile, most of those has diferent priorities than in highly poluted countries, well there are also many, many unfriendly enviromentally construtions, specially in south of the country where the wood to fire is cheap and abundant. From Santiago to soutj you can find all kind of construction materials but the more yo go south, more wooden homes, because is cheap and constructors are accustomed to build with wood for centuries. Heavy rain tends to ruin other materials like bricks or such. in recent years PVC is replacing wood in south in many cities.

From Santiago to north, as long as the rain is very few, the nost used material is a brick made from sand and very few cement called "bloqueta" it is very cheap and works fine provided it doesnt rain. A very popular and traditional method is called "barro y caña" a network of bamboo like wood with clay, it is excellent also for dry weather.

Anyway, ecologic construction here is more for philosofical reasons than practical, because you need not much energy to heat of cool in Chile. At least this is my opinion which many may differ :)
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