Letter Re: Advice on Enhancing Cool Basement Food Storage

Mr. Rawles:

We are building a new house with a basement. I am planning a food storage room in the corner of the basement that is the furthest underground. Can you guide me with details about how to plan that room, mainly about temperature. I know that cooler is better. The basement has poured cement walls. Should I insulate the [other] two walls [that are partitions] inside the basement? The rest of the basement will be heated, should I leave the vents out of that room all together? What about the vent that pulls air in for circulation? We are in Kentucky and have cold winters and hot summers. I am excited to finally have enough room to prepare my family for anything. Any help you can give me will be appreciated.
Thanks, – Linda

JWR Replies: To take best advantage of the ambient ground temperature and isolate the food storage area from the heated portion of your basement, you should definitely construct well-insulated partition walls–preferably using 2x6s and two bats (two thicknesses) of insulation. The thickness of the door through the partition wall is not as crucial as it being relatively airtight–to keep the cool air from "spilling out" from under the door. In my experience you should omit any vents unless the humidity is high, but your mileage may vary (YMMV).