Global Warming

Cold Houses Needed

Houses are built in Canada to keep out the cold and keep in the heat. The latter, they are poor at, but when the heat leaves, more is added.

Of course, this is in Vernon, in the Okanagan Valley, where outdoor heat is desired, and brings people here from around the country. To make it so, one often resorts to planting the yards in bare rock, to radiate heat, store it in the night, and prevent the growth of cooling plants. Along comes climate change, and this all seems a little wrong-headed. The gravel pit associated with this subdivision shows what the Earth is trying to do instead.

See that? Build a wall, without a roof, so it will cool, keep the whole structure off the ground (there’s air between those rocks), so stored heat can’t warm it, and shade it with a thick wall against the sun, again porous, so newly-added heat evaporates vertically, and is not stored, and does so only over a small proportion of the surface — and keep the sun off it, If this model were followed, houses would have thick walls, or broad verandahs, to keep them away from the sun, would have airflow between shaded and unshaded areas, and would slope away — and look away — from the light. In this way, human constructions would help cool the Earth by storing and adding cold, rather than storing or adding heat, and would look away from the sun, rather than being arranged to have the broadest possible view of it, with all the heat-leaking and reflective glass that entails.

In the view above, the construction of these houses in Vernon, as heat and cold transfer mechanisms, adds heat to the atmosphere in excess of the heat added to both heat and cool them. Their presence is climate change. The Canadian solution has been insulation and energy efficiency, which reduce heat emissions from two of the heat sources, heating and cooling, but not the third, the cost of transportation, and not the fourth, which is the physical shape of the houses. They are both embodiments of human culture, the Canadian desire to see and be seen, to be on display in order to gain or maintain social ranking, in contrast to the land itself, which is all about hiding water from the sun, even when right out in it.

Big sagebrush, keeping its cool by using water tension to prevent evaporation from its leaves, and blue bunch wheat grass, keeping cool by harvesting water in winter and drawing on it slowly through the summer. In contrast, the City of Vernon works harder and harder to collect more and more rain and snow water, to funnel it underground into a piping system, and deliver it to the lake, where it evaporates away, to rain somewhere else. It is a water management system based on transportation and ongoing change, rather than on water storage, and ongoing stability. It is no wonder the climate is changing. It is, however, not too late to build for cold rather than heat, and immersion rather than display. Not yet.

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