Go to Emilis' home page

Ventilated Pantry

This outline description can be extended by viewing the diagrams shown in Michael Mobbs' "Sustainable House" published by the Australian Consumers Association.

To reduce energy and operating costs in buildings, it is desirable to reduce the size and volume of mechanical refrigeration.

In housing with renewable energy systems, it is also practicable to install DC power refrigerators which are more efficient than conventional AC powered units.

Much storage for foodstuffs is not directly temperature dependant, providing that temperature variation is not large.

In conventional housing, storage is in light weight cupboards, notably particleboard or MDF construction offering little thermal control. Where this is situated on outside walls, temperature variation can be large.
The result then is to install large refrigerated storage to hold all meats, vegetable and part used foods.

In contrast,
in a storage which has substantially stable temperatures, some whole vegetables, some foodstuffs held in air tight containers, can be held along with general pantry storage.

Such pantry needs to feature:-

  • isolation from external temperature variation by being located in the inner of the building volume, or well insulated from the external building surface

  • thermal mass or earth linkage as for a cellar in part of the pantry construction to assist temperature stability

  • deliberate ventilation to enable cool air inflow and stale air extraction.
In an energy efficient building, this is best achieved by passive rather than fan operation means.

Such ventilation can include:-

  • air inflow vent paths either through the toe-board and raised floor of the pantry, or direct from the sub-floor volume under timber floors

  • air outflow vents situated in the pantry ceiling or upper wall to outside, or a high internal space
    This outflow can be further encouraged where there are complementary or interlinked outflow paths from an adjacent refrigerator or hot water service.
  • shelving within the pantry needs to been set away from the walls with air gap behind.

  • The vents should be meshed to be vermin proof.

An integrated layout thus might have the pantry with its airflow paths situated between:

  • a southern subsidence tower providing infeed as well as general space cooling, and
  • the hollow duct in the rear of overhead cupboards over a refrigerator on the northern side of the pantry
  • or air venting away from a hot water service above the pantry

Such idealised layout is not always possible; and other layouts maximising the pantry potential are subject to the architect's skill in manipulating the basic principles involved; which are described in the 'climate response' parts of this web site.

End of section