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Location Arcata, California
Status Designed
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A cold closet is an easy to build, energy efficient storage for fruits and vegetables. The cold closet will keep the food products cool but not frozen. By building a cold closet in a home you will use less energy than a home with a refrigerator. The cold closet is not difficult to make. There are different designs for building a cold closet depending on the location of the cold closet. In this design the cold closet will be placed on top of a counter on the north wall. The cold closet will be 2 ft wide, 2 ft deep and extend four ft to the roof.

Colby, Tori Engr 111 2/29/00

See CCAT cold box for a current project.

Materials[edit | edit source]

  • Wood for closet walls 2-ft wide by 4 ft tall
  • Wood for base and roof of closet 2-ft squared
  • Wood for closet door 1-ft 9in by 3-ft 9 in
  • Slated shelves of wood
  • Hinges and knob for door
  • Roof ventilation system
  • Downward slanted vents
  • Mesh screen
  • Chicken wire
  • Reflective insulation

These materials can be found at a local hardware store. The roof ventilation system can be bought already put together with separate instructions on how to install. Most stores will cut your wood to desired sizes.

How to Build[edit | edit source]

  1. Start by nailing your walls to a base structure.
    1. Two walls should be 2 ft by 4 ft
    2. The base is 2 ft squared.
  2. Next the walls and base of the cold closet are lined with reflective insulator.
  3. Then nail the slated wood shelves to the walls of the cold closet.
    1. The first shelf should be _ ft from the bottom of the structure. The shelves should have plenty of spacing between one another. Airflow is a key to this design.
    2. The slated shelves should be sturdy, and the slates on the shelf itself should be positioned close together so food will not fall through.
  4. Then nail the roof onto the cold closet
    1. Cut room for a ventilation system to enter through
    2. Line the roof with reflective insulation
  5. Now we put in a door
    1. First make a frame for the door with 1 _ inch boarder
    2. The door should be 1ft 9in by 3ft 9 in
    3. Line the door with insulator that is cut to 1ft 9 _ in by 3ft 9 _
      1. The over lap of insulator will help with insulation
    4. Then just hinge the door and handle
  6. Now we will create the vent on the wall of the house.
    1. The wall of the north side of the house should actually be a hole 2ft wide by 4 ft tall
    2. From the outside of the house screw onto the walls of the house the vents slanted downward. These vents keep the rain from entering the closet.
    3. From the inside of the house screw on a sheet of chicken wire 2ft by 4ft
    4. Then a layer of mesh material 2ft by 4ft
  7. Now its time to mount the closet to the vent and create a cold closet
    1. Nail the base and walls to the vent
  8. To finish the cold closet system you will need to install the ventilation pipe system from the roof of your house to the roof of your box
    1. If you paint the pipe black this will draw heat towards the pipe and out of the cold closet.

By Misty Lyster[edit | edit source]

How to make a cold closet[edit | edit source]

A cold closet is an energy-efficient method for keeping food products cool. The cold closet is based on the airflow of hot and cold air. The design process and style is left up to the builder and can be built in many different ways depending on the builders' preference and need.

List of Tools and Materials[edit | edit source]

Materials can be bought at any local hardware store.

  • Hammer
  • Power saw
  • Electric drill
  • Staple gun
  • Black ventilating system
  • Wood for cabinet (2 ft. x 4-1/2 ft) and (2 ft. x 4 1/2 ft. cabinet frame with door)
  • 4 slotted shelves (2 ft. x 1 ft.)
  • Downward slanted vents (2 ft. x 4-1/2 ft.)
  • 1 screen mesh (2 ft. x 4-1/2 ft.)
  • 1 chicken wire (2-ft. x4-1/2 ft.)
  • 1 handles
  • Reflective insulation (2ft. x 20 ft.)
  • Wood lining (4) 3/4in. X 4 1/2 ft., (12) 3/4 in. x 1 ft., (4) 3/4in. x 2 ft.

Building Instructions[edit | edit source]

The cold closet can be built as a solid box form or as being demonstrated in this particular design, half box and half wall. The half box structure will be connected into a corner of the room. Thus, giving a full box structure as your cold closet.

  1. The cold closet is going to be built in the North corner of the house.
  2. The North wall of the house is a hole cut out (2 ft. x 4 1/2 ft.) by a power saw.
  3. The downward vented slot (2 ft. x 4-1/2 ft) need to be installed in the cut area.
  4. The mesh screen (2-ft. x4-1/2 ft.) is placed over entire cut out with a staple gun and then the chicken wire on top of, using the same method. Trim can be added around cut area if desired.
  5. Inside of the house, take the front section (2 ft. x 1/2 in.) and the side section (4 1/2-x 1-ft.), line the wood lining (3/4-in.) on the outer edges of both sections.
  6. Connect the side and front sections together with screws and a drill, forming an "L" shape structure.
  7. The top section (2 ft. x 1 ft.) needs a circle cutout to be able to put the ventilating system through.
  8. The top section is lined on all edges by the wood lining.
  9. Mount the top section to the "L" shape (of the side and front section) with screws and drill.
  10. Mount the structure into the corner with screws.
  11. The ventilating system can then be installed, following the kit's instructions.
  12. Line the complete inside of the closet, except for the cut area on the North wall, with reflective insulation with a staple gun.
  13. The wood lining (3/4 in. x 1 ft.) for the 4 slotted shelves Needs to be installed by mounting the lining on the inside of the two walls with screws and drill.
  14. Put a handle on the door, if not provided, with a screwdriver.

Sources[edit | edit source]

  • Johnny Gary, Co-Director for CCAT.
FA info icon.svg Angle down icon.svg Page data
Keywords cold closet, thermal insulation, ccat, energy efficiency, energy, construction
SDG SDG07 Affordable and clean energy
Authors David Lopez Jr.
License CC-BY-SA-3.0
Organizations Cal Poly Humboldt, CCAT
Language English (en)
Related subpages, pages link here
Impact 519 page views
Created July 3, 2008 by David Lopez Jr.
Modified January 29, 2024 by Felipe Schenone
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