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Source: Brian Propp ## Comments:- It seems the bottom line is that if we want to get a handle on our energy consumption we may need to rethink the basic design used in our buildings.
- A sphere has the minimum surface area for any fixed volume; hence, spherical houses would have the least heat loss (proportional to surface area)
for a fixed volume. Likewise, a circular cylinder has the least surface
area for any cylindrical solid. The rectangular solid with minimum surface area
has a square cross-section.
The big problems with houses with circular (or non-rectangular) cross-sections are - standard furniture and fixtures do not fit very well--kitchen cabinets, stoves, ovens, refrigerators, chairs, beds, tubs, ... have flat sides and right-angled edges. They are difficult to place against non-planar walls or next to each other along a curved wall.
- the high waste in construction materials, most of which come in rectangular shapes.
For example, carpeting a 12' diameter circle would waste 21.2% of a piece of 12' x 12' carpeting. Octagons have least waste of non-rectangular solids since 45 degree cuts can be used either on the other side (if the material is reversible) or along the same side if the material can be rotated. Hence, they are good for tile or carpet, but poor for tongue-groove pre-finished flooring.
- standard furniture and fixtures do not fit very well--kitchen cabinets, stoves, ovens, refrigerators, chairs, beds, tubs, ... have flat sides and right-angled edges. They are difficult to place against non-planar walls or next to each other along a curved wall.
-Joe -Ron |