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What To Do With A "Larder" In A Low Energy Home?


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#1 1anR

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Posted 27 November 2015 - 05:35 PM

Ours will be an internal room, off the kitchen.

It doesn't need to be "cold", but shouldn't get warm/hot. I guess a couple of degrees lower than house temperature would be ideal.

But we're sticking a beer wine fridge in there, so there's a heat source.

MVHR will extract from the kitchen, but what to do about the larder?

Initially I thought no ventilation, and (obviously) no UFH.

But would it be better to put an MVHR return into the room? That should be, generally, a lower air temp than the house. And there needs to be some air movement in there to remove the heat from the fridge.

And what about insulating the internal walls, would that help to keep it below the house temperature? or would that keep it warm from the fridge?

And what about UFH in the adjacent rooms, should that be kept away from the shared walls to the larder? With the amount of steel in an insulated slab I can see the slab being a fairly even temperature even where there isn't UFH.

Any thoughts appreciated.

#2 ProDave

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Posted 27 November 2015 - 05:43 PM

I am facing the same dilemma.

I am considering having the fridge part in and part out of the larder.

The back bit of the fridge is where all the works are, and where the heat is expelled.

The front part of the fridge will remove heat from the larder as it tries to warm up the interior (as quick as the works cool it down again.

So my thought, is to make a baffle that fits tight around the fridge that will be a snug fit and insulated. Probably about 2/3 of the way back. The void so created will be vented outside the larder, possibly with a small fan to help extract the heat.

It's all still theory but if it works as I think the front part of the fridge will cool the larder a bit, and in our case the extracted heat will get exhausted into the entrance hall (and convect upstairs to help heat the bedrooms)

It will be some time before I try this so if anyone else tries it first do let us know if it works.

Edited by joiner, 27 November 2015 - 07:16 PM.


#3 1anR

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Posted 27 November 2015 - 05:54 PM

View PostProDave, on 27 November 2015 - 05:43 PM, said:

So my though, is to make a baffle that fits tight around the fridge that will be a snug fit and insulated. Probably about 2/3 of the way back. The void so created will be vented outside the larder, possibly with a small fan to help extract the heat.

That gives me an idea. One of the larder walls is shared with the utility, which will also have an extract. If the fridge was an integrated type, in a unit and behind the unit was vented to the Utility, the pressure differential would cause any heat from the fridge to vent to the utility room, as long as there is a return into the larder....I think.

#4 Volcane

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Posted 27 November 2015 - 10:11 PM

I really wanted a cool larder but having worked through what would be required in a low energy house I decided it wouldn't be cost effective. An extra fridge freezer would be better.

#5 gravelld

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Posted 27 November 2015 - 10:16 PM

How much space do you need? You could get a wine fridge and run it at 12C or so (or a bit cooler). Also has humidity control. Get a proper one for storage e.g. Liebherr.

#6 doofaloofa

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Posted 27 November 2015 - 10:38 PM

We have solved the problem in the OP by situating the larder (pantry as we call it) in an out house adjoining the dwelling house

Block built, and (mkii) insulated against the summer sun, with ventilation to remove gain from 2x chest freezers

#7 SteamyTea

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Posted 27 November 2015 - 10:45 PM

Slipping on my catering hat, call it a chef's hat if you want.
Most fresh vegetables can last a week or 3 at ordinary room temperatures, just look at what is on display at the local green grocers.
Eggs are pretty resilient too.

We have got into a mind set that all food must be stored in a fridge. Most ready packed and sealed food is actually packed in nitrogen (Margaret Thatcher was a pioneer in that), as long as the packet is not opened, it will last a few days. Open the bag and it starts to spoil very fast, regardless of temperature.

This is not so true with meat, unless your like to hang your own pheasants and other game.

Dried and tinned/jarred food just needs to be kept dry and out of the sun.

So I would question how much stuff you really need to store at a cool temperature.

Most towns have a 24/7 shop somewhere.

Edited by SteamyTea, 27 November 2015 - 10:46 PM.


#8 tonyshouse

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Posted 27 November 2015 - 11:10 PM

No good, your larder will be as warm as or possibly warmer than the house, it is inside the insulation barrier so will be at te average temperature of te house.

Choices are to cool it, put it outside the insulation barrier, on a north facing wall.

#9 joe90

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 11:00 AM

My original plans had a larder in an linked out house but this won't fit with our current site. Plans now are a larder fridge in the house and an insulated veg store ( and any other produce) in a north corner of the detached garage, a bit of a pain when it's raining but better than nothing.

#10 doofaloofa

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 01:43 PM

Root cellar?!

#11 1anR

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 05:56 PM

Thanks for all the input. The wide variety of opinions, I feel, shows there probably isn't an easy solution for a true cold room within the thermal envelope, short of removing a couple of the layers of EPS under the room and putting an up-stand between it an the rest of the slab to isolate the floor from the rest of the slab.

I'm keeping the room as it will also serve as an extension to the work surface area of the kitchen, but one where SWMBO will not insist that the gadgets have to be put away as soon as they've been used, ie, toaster, food blender, juicer etc. as they can be put out of sight by closing the door.

But I still want to keep it as cool as possible, or at least stop it over-heating.

So, MVHR return or not?

#12 tonyshouse

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 06:48 PM

Not, active cooling which seems mad, under the house will tend towards the average temperature of the house especially away from the perimeter.

#13 TerryE

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 11:55 PM

We have a large walk-in larger in our current house, which we really like and wanted to repeat in the new house. We went through the same thought processes, but as Tony suggests the physics / thermal design of a Passive house just don't facilitate a workable larder. So IMO you are either looking at a large larder fridge or an out-house larder. I went through ideas of cannibalising a fridge (the cheapest way to get a low-cost modest power vapour-compression refrigeration unit) but decided the scheme was just to impractical. BTW forget thermoelectric options as the CoP is truly terrible

Edited by TerryE, 28 November 2015 - 11:55 PM.


#14 joe90

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Posted 29 November 2015 - 02:45 PM

I did think of using a chest freezer in the garage powered just by a solar panel, working on the premise that it only needs cooling when the sun was shining and the contents were not frozen food or anything that needed particular temperatures, ( I am sure someone will see a flaw in this thought)

#15 stones

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Posted 29 November 2015 - 04:30 PM

I wouldn't bother with a 'cooled larder' if it were me. Will be a pain to get right and no doubt expensive. As Steamy says, very little of what we buy needs to be stored at cool temperatures. Canned, dried and bottled goods are fine at room temperature (after all that's the temperature of most supermarkets/shops). A tall larder fridge, so you have the capacity to store open and fresh meat / dairy produce, should be more than enough.

Go for a weekly shop and let the supermarket worry about temperature controlled storage and wastage - you don't even need to leave the house - delivery service plans are ridiculously cheap for the service provided.

#16 ProDave

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Posted 29 November 2015 - 04:36 PM

I was looking at a thred on a boating fourm about boat fridges.

It's pretty normal to build the fridge in, to whatever funny shaped bit of space you can find, then you buy the compressor and heat exchanger bits as a kit to put together into your boat fridge.

It would be pretty simple to buy that kit and install it into a larder to shift heat out of the larder to another part of the house. and if only run in the daytime (solar PV generation) would cost nothing to run.

However I guess having "marine" attached to the product name means they are not cheap.

#17 SteamyTea

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Posted 29 November 2015 - 04:41 PM

'Marine' tripples the price, so a grand for the freezer, to get the free electricity from PV, say a couple of thousand.
Building a special larder, say £4000.

£7,000 to keep a few veg.
Get a grip B)

#18 ProDave

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Posted 29 November 2015 - 04:44 PM

Or I could just not bother blowing the insulation into that small part of the north facing wall of the house.

#19 Volcane

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Posted 29 November 2015 - 07:02 PM

Then perhaps could get a wall that was too cold with a risk of condensation. Originally I had thought a walk in larder was a must, but it doesn't make sense. I costed the Sq ms then an external door to keep it outside the thermal envelope a small window and stopped there.
I'll make a low cost spud storage unit in the attached garage.

#20 Auchlossen

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Posted 03 January 2016 - 11:48 AM

A friend built an insulated larder mini room about 1.5m sq with a larder refrigerator unit venting heat into the kitchen. This was about ten years ago, and it works really well for them. I IRC the ladder refrigerator unit was considered rather expensive, but we'll worth it for them. They grow a lot of veg and fruit.
My last house suffered from having nowhere sensible for tatties etc, kept in shed in summer, conservatory in winter, so my new small passive house, I have put in a lift up seat in the porch area which will provide for this function - unless it gets filled with boots.

Edited by Auchlossen, 03 January 2016 - 11:55 AM.