History Channel and Invent Now have announced the winner of their 2007 Modern Marvels Invent Now Challenge, Michael Sykes and his Enertia Building System.

winter1.jpgThe Enertia Building System technology turns a piece of wood into a thermal battery. Wood is no longer just a structural component, or just a decorative trim or paneling- it becomes a solar energy storing device, and when the house is properly configured and sited it can heat and cool itself. With this technology the more wood the better, so the invention is especially applicable to solid wood homes. Enertia Building Systems has developed a line of solid Gluelam wall homes to maximize the energy-storing potential of the wood, and to offer the mainstream appearance necessary to attract traditional housing buyers. Because Enertia® homes ‘sequester carbon’ in their massive wood walls, as well reduce carbon pollution from the burning of fossil fuels, they caught the attention of the Modern Marvels’ judges – who were looking for breakthrough inventions with global potential.

CM_Capture_3_1.jpgIn the Enertia Building System, solid Energy-Engineered wood walls replace siding, framing, insulation, and paneling. An air flow and access channel, or Envelope, runs around the building, just inside the walls – creating a miniature biosphere. Here solar heated air circulates, pumping and boosting geothermal energy from beneath the house, storing it in the massive wood walls. Thermal inertia causes the house to “float” between the cycles of night and day, and even between the seasons. Click here for a more detailed explantion of the technology involved.

key components:

  • solid wood walls – store energy during the day and release energy at night
  • thermal inertia – geo-thermal principles create heat/or cooling from the earth and employs lag-in time principles to heat and cool the home
  • heat pump house – solar energy gathered during the day is used for night-time heat making the house itself a “heat pump”
  • envelope – a heat path just beneath the structure’s wood skin channels heat in winter and also creates a cooling system in the summer. It can also create oxygenated air via plants and give access for upgrading systems, wiring etc.
  • floating – energy stored from sunny days can be stored in the structure’s mass for long periods of time to either heat or cool the home.
  • radiant heating and cooling – radiant walls and floors hold heat or cool

Alternative Consumer is far from a green building expert so please explore this innovative building technology for yourself @ enertia.com

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