Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Day 16 Sustainable Building

I am a few days late, but the sustainable building week was intense and it has taken me a few days to put together my response.

There are design concepts that were introduced that absolutely inspired me. Climate responsive design goes beyond just using a percentage of sustainable materials, and conserving energy and water through efficient appliances.

From: http://www.greenbuilder.com/sourcebook/

Passive solar design refers to the use of the sun's energy for the heating and cooling of living spaces. In this approach, the building itself or some element of it takes advantage of natural energy characteristics in materials and air created by exposure to the sun. Passive systems are simple, have few moving parts, and require minimal maintenance and require no mechanical systems.

Operable windows, thermal mass, and thermal chimneys are common elements found in passive design. Operable windows are simply windows that can be opened. Thermal mass refers to materials such as masonry and water that can store heat energy for extended time. Thermal mass will prevent rapid temperature fluctuations. Thermal chimneys create or reinforce the effect hot air rising to induce air movement for cooling purposes.

Wing walls are vertical exterior wall partitions placed perpendicular to adjoining windows to enhance ventilation through windows.

I am looking up some images of home design to get ideas for building in the Pacific Northwest. A passive solar heating/cooling system is very doable and from what I've seen here, can be quite beautiful. I will write more about using the angles of the winter and summer sun and ground cooling. I want to build a home with a root cellar, a sun room, a central open kitchen, and a design that mimics the natural landscape and regional climate.

I still haven't seen the Cozy Shack here on the farm. The Cozy Shack is a home that Dan built out of a shipping container. There is a lot you can do with one of those, for cheap, using recycled or renewable materials.


  1. In the natural landscape there is no need for a root cellar. The best thing for the natural landscape is to rebuild existing structures and leave as many acres for the Earth as possible. Well made trailer homes are the best because they can be removed or relocated after use with little or no permanent damage.

    Of course, all this is of no concern if you are not interested in protecting the natural landscape.
    Richard H. Stafursky
    Pres., WSLF
    Conway, MA (Massachusetts), United States (USA)
    (802) 257-9158

    WSL (World Species List Forest)

    The Natural Landscape

    Richard is also known as Dropintheforest on YouTube

    Richard lives in Brattleboro, VT (Vermont), United States (USA)

  2. I'm very interested in your input, thank you for sharing! The concepts in sustainable building and permaculture are so interesting it is fascinating to hear everyone's take on how best to design a functional home with the least impact.

    The land that I am looking at has no existing structures nor has it ever. It has been in the family for many years and we have discussed building a cabin out there for some time.

    I like the idea of trailer homes and container homes, but am looking for something that will last and provide a place for my family to gather, garden, and live into our twilight years.

    I am continuing to research ways to store food, heat and cool the home while limiting the use of energy. I appreciate the feedback and ideas!

    Thank you.

  3. http://gcaptain.com/maritime/blog/shipping-container-dormitory/

    there are several locations around Amsterdam that utilize the shipping container model, but Keetwonen is probably the biggest.

  4. Thanks Dutton! I LOVE IT! Wow. That is a lot of containers! I finally got to see Dan's place up on the hill. He has a very lovely home made out of one 20' container, a rooftop deck, outside shower, and two concrete slabs with lean-to roofs and a fabulous kitchen/dining area built into them. It is under construction right now, but you can see how precious it will be once it is complete!

    My mom sent me this link this week, it's definitely worth checking out.