By Meri Anufer
There are several reasons that lead to think about self-construction as an alternative. First of all, the possibility of being able to build a high-performance and low-cost heating system is another tool to combat the cold in those regions where temperatures are very low in winter or at night. On the other hand, traditional stoves are often dangerous: those that use metal casings burn and those that do not have a good gas connection release harmful gases.
Faced with these common problems, INTI and CONICET researchers devised an efficient and self-constructible heating system that uses adobe, a material that does not burn, and that thanks to double combustion, not only eliminates the possibility of inhaling toxic gases but also reaches 70% yields at a much lower price compared to other existing alternatives. In addition, it has the physical characteristic of being thermal mass, which implies that it accumulates heat while it is on and delivers it to the environment as soon as it is turned off.
Initially, the choice of materials and components was oriented towards natural materials that are easy to obtain in populations living in poverty in cold areas.
The three advantages of SARA:
As described in the manual, it has some characteristics that make it more effective, safe and sustainable.
- Thermal mass. It is built with adobe bricks that have a great capacity to accumulate heat. Even being off, it continues to deliver heat to the environment. It is suitable in cold areas where stable heating is required, especially at night and in the early morning.
- Double combustion. It allows you to burn in a cleaner way and make better use of the wood. This allows a more efficient use of fuel by minimizing the toxic effects generated by burning fuel.
- High perfomance. It transmits to the indoor environment more than 70 percent of the heat delivered by the combustion of wood. Common stoves like iron salamanders transmit as little as 30 to 50 percent.
The transfer manual, edited and published by INTI, is available on the Internet and is a practical guide that guides the self-construction of the stove that can be carried out with materials that can be obtained in any geography and climate or produced at a domestic scale in a short time, like the adobe bricks that are part of the stove's structure.