Cool cupboad link to cellar switched off

Principle 12: Creatively use and respond to change

Temperatures in the cool cupboard in May (late Autumn) were averaging 14º to 16º at 1300mm above ground level and typically a degree or two lower closer to the floor level. Humidity is fairly constant in the cool cupboard averaging 65-75%.
Now that outdoor temperatures aren't getting much higher than the earth surrounding the duct of 14º I have closed off the main duct and added a small air vent into the base of the cool cupboard so that air can be drawn from directly under the house. This has helped reduce temperatures to 8º to 14º on average, with a low of 5º so far. Temperatures and humidity fluctuate more than when the main duct is used. I will need to keep my eye on the temperatures to know when it's best to close of the vent and open the large duct, probably during early Spring.
I've also added some wire shelves at the top of the cupboard that will allow us to hang or store produce. I was thinking that it would be particularly good for aging dried meats and cheeses. We store a small ladder in the cool cupboard so that we can access the higher shelves in the house.

Cool cupboard and cellar diagram showing airflow and design features

Control installed below floor level, allowing air to be drawn directly from under the house during winter

Wire baskets below head height with wire shelves installed above, allowing air to flow through


Angus Wallace said…

I'm considering building a cool cupboard at my house. Can you tell me how it performs over summer? Would you do it again?

Have just discovered your blog looking for this, and love it. Thanks!

Cheers, Angus
Richard said…
Hey there Angus, You may notice in the image of the system that there is a reference to summer temperatures - 19-23C in summer. See

I've actually made some changes to the design since this post was put up. I've extended the length of the outlet pipe, painted it black and put a whirly bird on top, in an effort to get it to draw better. Looking at the temperature today (currently 24C) it's 19.9C at the base of the cupboard and 20.7C about mid way. I should take a reading on a really hot day (like yesterday which was 39C).

I'd definitely do it again. It's handy having a cellar (like space) with cupboard access in the kitchen.

I may get into creating some new updates on this blog soon. Check out the upcoming issue of Pip magazine (Issue 7 Feb 2017) for an up-to-date article about our place, and the case study that's just been put up on -
Richard said…
Pip magazine Issue 7 will be available from our other website in Feb at
Richard said…
As a retrofit you could just draw from the cool air under the house (if on stumps) - though it wont be as good as if you can draw through an earth tube like we have. Not sure if using the cellar as an inlet point reduces the temperature much, but it does ensure airflow in the cellar. Be great if someone wanted to do a study and take accurate measurements on this project.

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