Organic farm

passive cooling systems


Emilis Prelgauskas - design elements passive building and cooling systems (earth berm, thermal flues, earth tubes), low energy cooling systems (pond radiators)


Organic Farm
a collaboration with Ecopolis architects

During 2004 these 2 architectural practices collaborated on a strategy for a comprehensive development for a mixed stock and plants organic certified farm project in South Australia.
The brief was to examine a number of site, building and farm infrastructure development components within that whole farm concept.

The interesting component is a food product sort, clean, pack, store and transport building. The goal was to operate this facility in free running mode as far as current knowledge allows, supplement this with low energy systems, with conventional mechanical systems only as final residual input.

The building therefore to be comfortable for staff and the food product chain needs. This was envisaged by placing the building in an earth berm location, with good northern solar access, good north-south cross ventilation as well as clerestorey stack effect exhaust in the roof peak.

Embedded within the earth berms are store and cool room elements. Passive cooling methods to include:-

  • the solar insolation of wall and roof earth berm
  • insulated cool room enclosure walls, floor and roof
  • air paths around cool rooms to exhaust structure heat to thermal flues
  • air inflow from in-ground earth tubes under watered soils areas from ‘totem’ air intakes
  • deep ponds with heat exchange coils from pond floor to radiators in cool rooms to extract product and room heat using low energy geo-thermal cycle.
The expected result to be a partially free running operating format supplemented with low energy cooling when needed to lower product temperature and hold this. Operating elements to help this to include shallow wire mesh baskets and racks rather than traditional boxes to hold product in store and cool rooms.

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