My Sustainable House-Building Project

Discussions on the interactions between components of the environment and their effects on all types of organisms.

Re: My Sustainable House-Building Project

Postby zetreque on November 1st, 2016, 9:47 am 

vivian maxine » Tue Nov 01, 2016 3:26 am wrote:
serpent wrote:So what if you must have a garage? Nobody can make you keep a car in it. Berm up three sides, put large glass doors on the fourth and use it for anything you want.


Exactly what I was thinking. But, please, why do they require that you have a garage? Perhaps to keep your car off the street? That is all I can think of.

As for those big windows on the south to allow good solar heating in winter, I suppose you are remembering all that solar heating in summer. Or, are you where that is not an issue? I have solar heating all winter. Very nice. In summer, my shades never get opened and it's still hot. Big AC bill.


The purpose for the garage is to make it even less affordable for average people to afford to live and because of lobbying by wealthy people who do not like looking at a vehicle parked outside other people's houses. It could even be the same people who do not like the way solar panels look.

There are solutions to solar gain in the summer if designed right.
One is a good air circulation draft system. A design that brings in fresh cool air from below as hot air rises and drafts out the top. (of course you have to live in an area where the air isn't polluted)
Another is a roof overhang that blocks out summer sun. In the summer the sun passes higher over head so if you have the right overhang then it will not shine in your windows and the overhang will instead cast a shadow instead.
A third option is window blinds that do the same thing. These blinds can be like outside shutter or mini roof overhangs built out from just the windows. They can be temporary moving mechanical ones or permanent that also take advantage of the fact the sun moves at higher angle in the summer.
Here is an example
http://www.h-hmetals.com/Aluminum_Sunshades.JPG
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Re: My Sustainable House-Building Project

Postby vivian maxine on November 1st, 2016, 10:05 am 

So, the reason they would give publicly is to prevent street parking. Then you get driveway parking. I have friends nearby whose neighborhood association has a "rule" against any kind of truck being parked outside a house. The husband was told to take his pickup over to the school and park it there.

I do get a bit of benefit from the fact that the sun has moved far enough northward in summer to not shine in too long. Not much of an overhang, though. And being on the top floor, despite attic insulation, heats things up some more. Actually, my big whine about southern exposure in apartments is that I cannot have plants on the balcony. They just don't survive. Nor can I have a thermometer out there as sun move east to west and that also all open.

But 10' snowfalls? Never in a million years. Wherever are you? I did go back to the start to see if you said. Didn't find it.

Have a good day. I'm off to enjoy Indian summer.
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Re: My Sustainable House-Building Project

Postby Serpent on November 1st, 2016, 11:26 am 

We were in rural southern Ontario, where 10' of snow is an occasional inconvenience, and summer temps can easily reach the nineties. (Celsius, of course.) We did have a 6' wide covered balcony (meant to be a deck on the original design, but we built that extra under-storey with two walk-outs, to separate an in-law suite) all along the south-west and south-east sides. Thus, the upper cathedral windows were shaded in summer and plants on the window-ledge helped filter light on the lower half, so we rarely had to draw the blinds (just cheap horizontal slat ones). Wide screened patio doors on the front*, open doors and windows on the adjoining rooms helped circulation. It was mostly comfortable on the top floor, and always pleasantly cool downstairs.
(*Until the collie.etc figured out how to unlatch it and help the Pyrenese escape. After that, only windows could be left open. Except the bathroom one, where the damn cat would bring in imperfectly killed prey. Was up till 3 am one time, trapping a chipmunk.)
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Re: My Sustainable House-Building Project

Postby Braininvat on November 1st, 2016, 12:26 pm 

Some building codes make sense. If you make bad widgets, the free market takes care of the problem, because people get home with their widgets and they don't work, so you go out of business. But if you make bad houses, sometimes the flaws don't emerge until decades later, maybe after you've made a fat sum and retired somewhere far away. And thousands of people are having pieces of ceiling fall on their heads or receiving electric shocks from their bathroom taps or whatever. Where I take exception is where codes intersect with what we're talking about here, which involves the freedom to try an alternative, sometimes to innovate. As more people take an interesting in alternative housing (e.g. the Tiny House movement, the Off Grid movement, treehouses for adults, etc.), I think there would be great social value in having Low Code Zones, where only the most basic structural codes are enforced (i.e. codes that ensure your home won't cave in on you or blow down in a strong wind). Maybe require the wiring (if any) is done by a licensed electrician. And that's it. Everything else is up to you.

Proper eaves, at most temperate zone latitudes, will manage summer sun input for solar windows. Any book on solar architecture/design will give you the geometry tools for calculating your eaves. Probably can be googled.
Maybe there's a pamphlet somewhere called "All About Eaves."
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Re: My Sustainable House-Building Project

Postby Paul Anthony on November 1st, 2016, 1:16 pm 

vivian maxine » Tue Nov 01, 2016 3:26 am wrote:
As for those big windows on the south to allow good solar heating in winter, I suppose you are remembering all that solar heating in summer. Or, are you where that is not an issue? I have solar heating all winter. Very nice. In summer, my shades never get opened and it's still hot. Big AC bill.


The right kind of trees can help. Meaning, trees that provide shade in the summer but shed all their leaves in winter.
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Re: My Sustainable House-Building Project

Postby Serpent on November 1st, 2016, 6:25 pm 

We have no clothes-dryer or electric heaters or dishwasher, and wouldn't even consider air conditioning. The closest we get is an old-fashioned fan for moving warm air from one part of the house to another, or cool air in from outside.

The Alternate Zone sounds wonderful! Straw-bale, stackwall, bottle, styrofoam and cob houses; trees and caves and geodesic domes; turf roofs, solar tiles, thatch and garden tops. People leaning over their strawberry wall to exchange wattage figures and eggplants....
Eden.
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Re: My Sustainable House-Building Project

Postby Braininvat on December 21st, 2017, 3:00 pm 

Not suggesting this for Zetreque or anyone else, just adding a bit of grist to the mill....

https://www.treehugger.com/modular-design/smart-affordable-portable-prefab-kasita-registration.html

Not sure that's quite as afffordable as it sounds, if you have to add in the cost of land, foundation construction, utility hookups, and so on. I would definitely want to learn more about why it seems a lot more expensive than what many of the Tiny House companies are offering now.
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Re: My Sustainable House-Building Project

Postby Serpent on December 21st, 2017, 3:37 pm 

Very sleek, very tech, very smart.
What probably makes it more expensive is the materials and the electronics - place is just riddled with appliances and devices!
What have they got against colour, I wondered, then thought - Oh, because white, grey and neutered earth tones make the space look bigger. Still boringly anonymous and magaziney though.
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