Friday, March 14, 2014

Features any home should have

Dimensions divisible by 2' for advanced framing.

Oriented properly for passive heating/cooling. Minimal west exposure. Deep eaves or shade structures on south & west. roof slanted for solar, water collection.

Thermal Mass on inside.

Wet walls to reduce plumbing runs.  Kitchen back to utility & bath. Other bath stacked above.

Open floor plan with few halls, no sprawl.  Reduces ductwork. I hope to have a mini split or two, only. 

Designed to flow outside. Fit into outdoor space, not just sit in the middle of the lawn.

Transoms &/or other vent for air flow between rooms.

Places for pets. food bowls, water, litter box, access to outdoors that isn't in the door, facing winter winds, etc. ideally has an airlock &/or can be sealed tight at night or extreme weather.  Outdoor enclosed cattery.

Place for trash can, recycling, compost.  Especially in dense builds. It's crazy they leave no space for this.

Place for small chest freezer.

Utility room with utility sink, dog washing, foot washing, laundry machines, drying rack. Shoes, coats Doesn't all necessarily have to be in conditioned space.

Room size:
Living room - open to dining & kitchen so flexible, but
not much longer than sofa length plus end table width x  ?

Bedrooms - I plan for the alotted bedroom areas to be flexible so you can chose upstairs or downstairs master,  divide into 2 -3 smaller spaces, etc.  But one wall will be the width of a king size bed plus 2 feet on each side rounded up to be divisible by 2ft (for advanced framing)  That's as big as a master bedroom needs to be.  Period.

 My house:
Xella?  AAC cement blocks. Plaster on inside, stucco/limewash outside. No sheetrock over these walls.
"Limewash protects underlying lime coating and masonry as it acts as a sacrificial layer. It also remains vapour permeable thus allowing moisture to evaporate from the building fabric. Most modern masonry paints have very low vapour permeability (if at all) and will trap moisture within a wall or building, leading to greater problems of internal dampness and timber rot. Modern masonry paints also tend to peel and crack, and are affected adversely by UV light, unlike limewashes."

Mostly flat white roof for living/ growing food.

Situated to maximize growing space. Hopefully creating some microclimates. 

Bedroom area divvied up with some prefab materials, wardrobes, etc. Barn doors.

Walls of storage!!! 

Floors:  Plywood sheets cut into 4x4' squares. Separated by the strips used in terrazo.

kitchen/bath/utility in one block to include some kind of utility space in a central core that can blow into the open living area without ductwork.  also want to cool pantry & vent heat from behind fridge.

My kitchen:
Some kind of rocket stove either natural built or purchased high efficiency wood stove/oven in kitchen but open to living.

Pantry-  one of those foot or so wide pull out pantries. But cooled with something.

Small fridge or pair of European sized fridges so one can be turned off if needed to conserve in power outage. Or small fridge plus one fridge drawer.

Butcher block, stainless, aluminum banded formica or that black chem lab stuff made of paper.  No rock hard surfaces. 

Very large single basin sink, stove, etc all with covers to make it all work space. sink covers slotted to double as drain boards, carving boards, etc.

One island @ 4ft long workspace. Don't need a big kitchen, but must have at least that in continuous workspace.  Can have a counter height 'breakfast" table that can double as work space.

Magnetic cook top. 2 burner, could be embedded into island. Otherwise nothing in island. + one portable spare that can be stowed away.

Wall mounted small oven with broiler mounted at eye level.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Quote from Rob Hopkins, Founder of the Transition Movement

it feels like the world has gone from “there’s no problem” to saying “it’s too late” without the bit in the middle “maybe we can actually do something.

Read interview after his recent, probably once in a lifetime since he doesn't fly (carbon emissions), visit to the United States.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Best Plants for the End of the World

 Just starting my list.


MB001 Moringa: Natures Medicinal Cabinet -  Tree - superfood high in vitamin C, calcium, protein, oil,
Moringa may provide the boost in energy, nutrition and health you've been seeking. It's a remarkable tree whose leaves, pods and flowers have seven times the Vitamin C found in oranges, four times the Vitamin A of carrots, three times the iron of spinach, four times as much calcium as milk and three times the potassium of bananas. And its medicinal properties are no less impressive. Besides providing a natural energy boost, people also report their immune system strengthened, skin condition restored, blood pressure controlled, headaches and migraines handled, diabetes sugar level managed, inflammations and arthritis pains reduced, tumors restricted and ulcers healed. Excited laboratory researchers have already confirmed many of these results, and work is continuing.
Moringa also has a well-documented detoxifying effect. Universities around the world have studied Moringa's ability to purify water--attaching itself to harmful material and bacteria, and allowing them to be expelled as waste. The evidence points to this same process going on inside your body.

Hemp - high protein seeds

Other Uses

Hemp - Fiber. Fast growing, low water, low pest

Soap Nut Tree - for your laundry
There are two native varieties. 
Aztec Maxamillian Sunflower  - Rapidly produces a large hedge - Edible flowers, livestock forage,

Solar Antenna Printed onto Plastic at Pennies per Yard

 Another entry for my Things That Give Me Hope Pinterest Board.
A novel way to collect energy from the sun with a technology that could potentially cost pennies a yard, be imprinted on flexible materials and still draw energy after the sun has set.

The new approach, which garnered two 2007 Nano50 awards, uses a special manufacturing process to stamp tiny loops of conducting metal onto a sheet of plastic. Each "nanoantenna" is as wide as 1/25 the diameter of a human hair.

Because of their size, the nanoantennas absorb energy in the infrared part of the spectrum, just outside the range of what is visible to the eye. The sun radiates a lot of infrared energy, some of which is soaked up by the earth and later released as radiation for hours after sunset. Nanoantennas can take in energy from both sunlight and the earth's heat, with higher efficiency than conventional solar cells.

So far, the hold up is in converting the collected energy to usable electricity.
More info:

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Allan Savory: How to green the world's deserts and reverse climate change with livestock!

The great herds of animals that roamed the earth were an essential part of the ecosystem.  Their removal for monocropping and/or our system of limiting their movements has increased desertification. This Ted talk illustrates how proper grazing of large herds restores land.

Perhaps it's a good companion to the earlier post on grazing animals and growing grain in the same pasture using no till methods.  Especially in the parts of the world where they don't use giant machines to till, plant and harvest. 

See also this person's collection of articles on reversing climate change while meeting human needs that includes many of Allan Savory's articles.