that looks awesome. Im actually jealous that you are actually doing it.
I noticed that you dug down for the head space instead of building up. great way to have material for pounding and lesson the number of tires pounded. from your previous post I understood that you are on a crest of a hill and believe you will have little problem with water. excellent.
out of curiousity how do you plan to fortified the dug out knee wall supporting the tire wall?
please update as often as you can. Im a huge fan of the pics and building process.
Sorry for the untimely reply. The plan to support the knee wall is to pour a concrete wall around the inside. Likely only about 3 or 4 inches think, as all it really has to do is prevent the earth wall eroding from under the tire wall. I'm thinking pin (with some nice big 6 or 8 inch spikes and washers) some chicken wire to a well prepared, free of loose earth, earthcliff, and pour a thin wall. Time will tell really, as this whole thing has kind of been a fly off the seat of your pants build and not thoroughly planned out.
Sound advice lol, I definitely do not plan on planting another pine mono crop. I Like the idea of planting some nitrogen fixers. The pine is planted pretty densely so I guess maybe my best bet is to choose some good locations around the property and actually clear out a few of the living trees to punch enough of a hole in the canopy that something would be able to survive. I will try my luck with some black locust in the spring. They seem to do well in my area.
"A few questions:
Where are you located (obviously the south ) and zones, water etc. would be helpful to know.
I am in southern ontario. I am fairly certain its a zone 5b. As for water there is a small river that runs along the east edge of the property. There are 3 10 acre fields the first 2 are sloped to the south east and the 3rd is relatively level but downhill of the first 2. All of the furrows that the trees are planted in run down the hills and not across them unfortunately. I have been clearing out the dead trees (I used a pile of them to build a pretty cool hugel its in the hugel fourms my buddy Simon posted it a while back) and pruning the lower dead branches on the living trees.
I try to put a couple table spoons of apple cider vinegar in my chickens water on a regular basis. Sometimes it doesn't happen but when I have young chicks I put a bottle of the stuff in the coup so that every fresh fill of water gets a dose. It seems to help keep the chicks healthy and strong. They are so much fun to watch be bop around when they are little but it can certainly be taxing on the nerves when you run into something like what your dealing with. I like the comment to let the crop empty before feeding again. I hope your chicky is feeling better soon. Keep us posted.
I have about 10 chickens and two ducks. I say about because every year we loose a few to the butchers block and gain a few in the spring. But I clean my coup twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. I use wood chips and straw for bedding and each clean out goes strait to the garden. Haven't had any problems yet, just great tasty veggies! I do make sure to wash anything before I eat it. But I say go for it! My hugal seems to love random clumps of the stuff.
I was thinking about your idea and I think that its definitely plausible. I would recommend doing something similar to this.
basically just running some pex pipe through a compost pile. Then have it circulate into an old used hot tub or well insulated 55 gallon drum or heck even an old deep freezer. You might need some additional heating but it would likely be pretty minimal compared to no heating from compost. Hope this gives you some ideas.
I was hoping for some suggestions as to how to improve my planted white pine forest. The forest was planted about 30 years ago by my grandfather upon his retirement from farming. His used his equipment to do the planting. So basically from one end of the fields to the other are long straight rows of white pine trees all growing out of 5-6 inch deep trenches from what ever machine he used to plant. There are cedar trees intermingled along the edges and a few other varieties here and there mostly around the old rock piles and in between fields. There are 30 acres and I would love to start implementing some things to help boost the forest. What grows well with pine? Anything that really helps pine? I have been working on taking the lower dead branches off every second row of trees but am a far cry from being done even the first field. Any and all ideas welcome.
Nice one. Lets stick it to them lol. Its no surprise to me that the page went down. I'm sure that monster has people working for them just to shut down web sites like yours. It certainly would not surprise me.
Im not sure if this article as any useful info for you or not but I thought the last one on the page sounds like it might be similar. So from my understanding its likely a fungal thing and they say the best you can do is rake up the leaves in the fall and dispose of them. The fungus will stay dormant in the cooler months and then when the nice damp spring comes it starts again. The spores get carried in the wind and passed on to the next tree. Anywho here's a link to one article I thought might be helpfull.
Nicely done! I like your idea of using doweling and piping to make a mini hoop house over the planter. Was it just plain pea gravel you used for a growing medium?
Also what were you using as the fertilizer so to speak was it an algae or did you have fish in that pond?
Yes, chainsaw mills work great. I have done some research on the chainsaw mills, and they are great and super portable and not to mention rather inexpensive. However, they do take a fair bit longer to process lumber. And you lose close to 3/8 of an inch of material every cut. So every 4th cut you have lost at least and inch of that log. That could be an extra board. The way I see it is if I can save 40 000 bucks on lumber by buying a sawmill, I might as well make it easy on myself and not cheap out on the mill. Honestly spending 5000 on a used bandsaw still equates to 35000 in savings instead of 39000. But without the headache of having to sharpen your chainsaw after every two or three boards you cut or losing a board every 4 cuts. Just my opinion on the matter. Its worth it to spend a little more.
I'm not sure if any of MR books talk about the thermal wrap. But the info is there to be found if you dig around the internet enough lol. I think I learned about it from a video of an ES seminar that MR did sometime back. Maybe you could find it on youtube if my memory serves me it was something like "Earthship seminar 2009".
I am curious how big you are planning on building. I have been working on a small (180sqft) earthship for the last couple of years (see the thread "small earthship"). Its taken a long time but have been doing it pretty much by myself when I have the weather and a little spare time. None the less, it was dug by hand and tires were pounded with sledge hammers. We used about 100 tires in that build, and that was enough pounding to make me reconsider using tires for my foundation. I think if you have a crew of 10 guys sledge hammers are a definite plausible method of packing tires. On your own or with a small number of people it might be a real time and energy saver to mechanize packing. Again just my opinion but I am a young guy in pretty decent shape if I do say so myself and pounding those 100 tires certainly did a number on my back.
As for rocket stove cookstoves, I've definitely seen a few viable options floating around out there. Spend some time on good ol' youtube and you will find lots of ideas.
This is a video of a pneumatic tamper packing tires. This is how I am going to do it when I finally get the land and start the build. 100 tires was enough for me!
And heres a link to that es seminar. Lots of good info here. This is just the first of two videos.
I'm not sure what you plan is as of yet for the build but another suggestion I could give is to start small. When we buy our land and decide on a location for the house we plan on building a small 600sqft portion of the house first. That way we have a place that can easily be build in the first summer and keep us warm and dry through out the winter. Later this portion will be added onto and eventually become two bedrooms. I think it should make the build a little easier. Im thinking that way it doesn't seem so overwhelming when we are only 1/4 of the way done the foundation of an 1800sqft house and the winter is vast approaching. Also we are planning to build mortgage free, so the amount of materials we have to buy or find at the same time, goes down. You know what I mean? Like we buy 6 windows instead of 15 and pick up the rest later so we will have a place to live and sleep out of the elements sooner. And by doing this building small and adding on method, it give valuable experience in building this style of house. You may find something here or there that you could do differently or quicker or better on the rest of the house. Or in the very least the rest of the house build might just go faster because you have already done it once!
Anywho hope some of this helps or at least gives you some things to ponder.
Well definitely make sure any outside ducting is well insulated and then water proofed because wet insulation is worse than no insulation. As for the combustion blower it will always be on when the unit is burning or at least I would assume. That's how a typical boiler works. I know we aren't dealing with a natural gas boiler but it would make sense to me being that its job is to provide air for combustion.
I would assume that your friend likely won't get much of that warm air circulating her house if the fan is not used. I would question whether a damper should be installed between the gas furnace and its return ducting and maybe partially closed? Perhaps it is easier for the fan to recirculate the cooler air in the house than to draw on the warm air from the outdoor burner? Just a thought keeps us updated with your successes and woes.
If I was the one planting the food forest I would incorporate the swales into it. Put a swale in that overflows into the next and so on and plant around them. Or if the spot you are planning the forest for is flat maybe just overflow your swales one into the next and have the final one overflow towards the forest. I would say stay on contour and just have the overflow designed to pour over once there is a certain depth of water present in it. This way the ground will saturate and with time the lower ground where the forest is will too. I feel you would ultimately be better off staying on contour. I could be wrong but from my understanding of it the level ground below the slope should saturate eventually too as the swales and forest mature.
I am by no means an expert in timber framing, but I would have another post in under your horizontal one where it meets your upright next to the guy in your sketch. And would put some kind of cross bracing in. It probably doesn't matter that much on a shed that small how you do your cross bracing but it should probably have some at least. Just my opinion.
Ya the windows are going to go in front of those standing logs. They will be on an angle of aprox 75 degrees. I say aprox because my miter saw is old and worn so I'm not sure how accurate its readings are anymore. And yes I plan to insulate as well as I can. I have been scrounging up as much insulating material as I can find. I have a few rolls of 3inch thick fiberglass and a number of 4inch thick 4x8 sheets of Styrofoam. And then a couple of pickup loads of random Styrofoam from garage door packaging I got from a friend who is a garage door installer. Oh and the roof will extend from where it is now to the top of those vertical logs.
No doubt you can build an earthship in your climate. Making use of timbers on the property will definitely decrease the costs involved. Also a used portable sawmill could be a big money saver as well. I guess it all depends on how much work you are willing to do yourself. If you have the trees and a sawmill you could completely cut out the cost of lumber. Other than fuel for the mill I suppose. In the cold climate your in I would make use of the thermal wrap method, a high r value insulation (like 45+ I think MR books might even suggest as high as 60) in your roof and a well placed rocket mass heater you should be just fine. Windows and insulation is where you will want to spend your money. I have heard of people venting the warm air in their greenhouses through a series of pipes under the floor to aid in heating efficiency (in floor heating but with warm greenhouse air instead of a liquid) and I am sure with a little research it could be incorporated into an earthship build. No point in venting it outside if you have a fire going and are a little to warm in the winter, might as well put it into the floor for added comfort in the evening. Another consideration would be to buy a large air compressor (like the big tow behind ones you can rent), with one of these you could use a pneumatic tamper to pack your tires instead of sledge hammers. This could be a huge time and energy saver. Youtube filling tires with a pneumatic tamper, I've seen at least one video of guys doing this and it seems to speed up the process significantly. Also when the time comes to insulate that compressor could come in handy once again. With use of it you could apply your own spray foam insulation. You can buy the stuff for discounted prices when you buy bulk and not to mention you wouldn't have to pay labour for someone else to do it or their material mark up. And it could be handy again if you were to do shotcrete pargeing on your interior walls. I've seen simple set ups made for cheap, do a google of diy shotcrete. This is all if your going to do the work. If your wallet is thick enough just call up MR and he will show up with a crew and set you up with a gobal model.
As for location of the house that's up to you and your wife to watch the land and see where the most suitable site would be. Are there any places that flood in the spring? Spots that get shady with the low winter sun? Look up some historical data about that big river. When was the last time it had a big flood? If it happened 100 years ago it will happen again someday. Lots of things to consider. Are you planning on making your own power? If not how far from utilitys are you it can often cost an arm and a leg to have hydro poles or underground wiring installed. Another thing to consider is how easy is it to get materials to your build site? A concrete truck or lumber delivery might not make it down that muddy trail you know what I mean?
Anywho there's some things to consider while you do your planning. Best of luck and keep us posted on your build!!!
Here are a few more photos. I made a little bit more progress this week. The first and second photos should be in reverse order. But I got my uprights in place they are going to support the load of the roof so that I dont have to make the connection so strong where the front window wall and roof meet. For the most part I am using logs that are on the property for the main framing and it was easier to have a few logs standing to take the weight vertically instead of putting all that pressure on an angle if that makes sense. All of the standing logs have an 8inch deep concrete footing poured underneath them and also what isnt visible in the pictures yet is the footing for the doorway. Its poured and has a length of 2x10 secured across the top of it.
Cool build!!! Its exciting to see these things come to life and even more exciting to hear that you are in it and its working! Congrats
Im curious if the tire bales were sufficient for a load bearing wall? Inspectors or whom ever didnt make you do a post and beam construction with bales as infill? How were the bales secured together other than the top bond beam and shot Crete?
I did not do anything in particular for drainage as of yet. The structure is right on the crest of a hill so for the most part water should run off either side. Around the back side of the structure there is a gentle slope heading downhill towards it so I plan on doing some landscaping to run the water away. The soil has a high clay content so hopefully that will help me in running the water away. As you can see in the pictures I have some plastic that covers the tire wall. It is bunched up at the wall right now but it will be buried in the berming around the structure so as to help run the water away. When the plastic is stretched out from the wall it covers the top two feet of tire wall vertically and then will head away from the wall at a slope about 3 to 4 feet out. The berm will then be added to covering the plastic in about 2 feet of soil. Right now I am having some pooling going on after heavy rain but I am thinking that is just because it is still open to atmosphere and the high clay content so I end up with a shallow pool. Time will tell if drainage will be an issue or not. If so I will wrap a tile around it and route the water downhill.
I am going to do a sloped glass wall on the south side. Yes there are some trees in front of the structure. I left them standing to keep the job site shaded as possible while I am working on the project. Once its closed in I am going to see how it preforms and trim branches or drop trees as need be. Thanks for the questions. Any more feel free to ask. I will hopefully be doing some more work on it this weekend. If I make any progress I will take pictures and update.
Bill J Price wrote:Calling all Earthship Dwellers, Earthship Builders, Off-Grid Folks and others in the know. I am trying to spec out exhaust fans for the bathroom and exhaust hood for the kitchen for our Earthship here in the "Land of Ahhs".. How did you accomplish this task? I am looking for 24vdc exhaust fans for this purpose but the search is not getting me far. All responses much appreciated.
How did you make out? Were you able to find some 24v motors that worked in your application? And more importantly hows the build comming? Any pictures?
Looks good!!! It's exciting to see so many of these houses pop up. I had just a couple quick questions in regards to your thermal wrap.
1. Did you put a layer on the bottom of the hole at the base of the foundation in between the wrap and tire wall before you started backfilling? My concern with not having one is that heat could wick away under your wall of insulation. I could see this being ok in the summer when you want the cooling effects but couldn't be a little more efficient in the winter if it was insulated?
2. Did you fuse the joints between pieces of insulation that make up your wrap in anyway? Like tape them together or overlap joints? Glue or silicon? I know that when insulating a regular house even a gap as wide as a dime can render your insulation near useless. Now that might be because of convection but the laws of thermodynamics still apply to conduction. I know even with little gaps its better than no insulation but I'm just thinking that the less heat transfer from the inside of your wrap to the outside the better.
3. When you put the top layer of insulation on your wrap how far from the top of the wall will you go? I'm just curious because where I live the frost line can make it down a few feet and I wanted to know if the frost line comes into consideration at all in your decision on where to cap your wrap.
Keep up the good work and keep us posted!!!
Good luck with your build!
I read your questions in regards to dirt packed tires vs. cinder blocks. Here's my take, yes a tire foundation could be replaced with cinder blocks or even a conventional concrete foundation. Properly insulated and nearly air tight, passive solar heating would be a definite possibility. A back up heating system is probably a good idea (where I live in Ontario even a MR earthship would need back up heating) none the less most of the heating could still come from the sun.
But here’s the thing the tires help with. Thermal mass. The whole idea here is to store some heat energy in the wall. Because the tires are packed so tightly with dirt, they are rather dense and heavy. In the small earthship I'm building I would guess that the tires (the 16" and 15" ones) weigh pretty close to 300 lbs each. So like the big rocks that get hot in the summer sun and stay warm well into the night the tire foundation holds daytime heat into the night and as the room temp cools off heat energy is released to the room. When a tire foundation is properly insulated (high r value) on the outside (of course the roof insulation must be very good too as heat rises), any heat in said tire foundation has to be released on the inside of the wall. Although sand filled cinder blocks or solid block or stone like the old farm house foundations do have some mass they don't have nearly the storage capacity of the large tightly packed tires. The denser a mass the more heat energy it can store. So although the concrete blocks will hold some heat into the night it won't hold it as long into the night because it simply has less stored energy to give. Modern earthships have evolved to include the use of what’s called thermal wrap. This is where they basically create a wall of high r value insulation between 3 and 5 feet away from the outside of the foundation wall and tamping the dirt between tight. The idea is that you slow down any heat escaping to the ground around the house via the wall of insulation and at the same time add to your thermal mass. I guess it works from what I've read. I think that if you were to spray foam the outside of your foundation and bury it you wouldn't have to use the thermal wrap but maybe the added mass would be nice and account for a little less fire wood chopping. Anyway that’s the idea with the tires. And yes you could do it with concrete wall or block but it would require more supplementary heating on the cool evenings.
Now as for berming up your walls or digging into a hill the idea is to take advantage of the relatively consistent temperature of the ground. Below frost line the temp of the earth stays pretty much the same year round. I think the ground temp is around 55 degrees? (I can't remember off the top of my head and it does vary from place to place on this planet) but that’s cooler than 100 in the summer and warmer than -20 in the winter. It’s to use the laws of thermodynamics to lessen your heating and cooling energy requirements. In a sense it's also similar in concept to the second greenhouse, where what it does is take the elements off the walls like the second greenhouse keeps the elements off the inner one hence limiting or at least slowing heat transfer in the living area. No -30 winds and snow wicking away your hard earned heat (Here in the winter anyway). By burying up the walls it brings the temperature surrounding your building closer to a constant without big fluctuations because the greater the difference in temp the greater the rate of heat transfer. In the hot summer you don't have the warm temperature of the ambient air constantly surrounding your house, just a nice cool ground temp. I know where you live the winter temps might not be as cold as the temps I gave but they really just help to get the concept across.
As for cost it's all in how much work you are willing to do. You said you have access to nearly any tool or machine you need, that’s a heck of a step up on a lot of people. If you’re willing to do the work you could save that 40% on labour and when you start to look and ask around you would be amazed at the building materials you can track down for hugely discounted prices if not free. It might need a fresh coat of paint and a bit of TLC but a $1000 sawmill is a heck of a lot cheaper than $40 000 in lumbar. Or if you have access to a large air compressor you can buy do it yourself spray foam kits online and safe yourself another $20 000 by not paying a guy to do it for you. The cost is what you make it. Even building a conventional match stick house if you want 2400 sqft its going to cost you a pretty penny. I have a thread going called small earthship, I have spent $45 on a sledge, $200 on 150 board ft. of nice rough cut cedar 2x12's for the bond beam and $40 at the restore on a skid of Portland cement that I've use 3 bags of so far. It will be close to 180-200 sqft so that comes in around $1.50 per sqft. Granted this is not going to be a fully furnished house, but it's proved to me the structure can be built on the cheap. I have the rest of my materials that I've pulled out of dumpsters at job sites and though bartering with neighbours so what’s left is just the time and energy input on my end. I will certainly do my best to keep updating that thread on the progress and what my final costs are. As for time, it’s hard to say I started it a few years ago and have just kind of once in a blue moon went and put a few hours in on it. Anyway I'm getting away from myself here so ya, I think that if you take your time and plan it out cost can be substantially less than the scary numbers we always seem to be hearing about in regards to earthships.
Everything is fastened together. The bond beam is held down by ancor bolts embedded in concrete every other tire. The blocking holding up the beams is nailed in place with 4inch spikes and the beams are nailed in with multiple 12inch spikes. The deck boards are all spiked into the beams with 4inch spikes as well. The tires are only held in my gravity but its incredible how solid the tire wall is. Each tire packed has to weigh at least 300 pounds.
Its a fun idea to think about building a small earthship. I had planned on building a 108sqft one but fould that there just wasn't enough room to build a tire wall and green house. If you were willing to build a "hut" style earthship it could be done but if your hoping to have the green house like the standard earthship style 100 sqft just isn't enough. It would work out that the U-module of the earthship would only be about 5 feet deep and 10 feet wide with a green house portion the same. I ended up going a little bigger than that and its been a lot of fun building. When mine is done it should be about 180sqft a little bigger than allowed without building permits but hidden away at the back of the property its doubtfull that any neighbours are going to raise a stink. Check out the thread I started called small earthship. Its a work in progress but its comming along.
Im sure that one could carefully remove the propane fired fridge from a camper and modify it to run off a solar collector instead of the propane burn chamber. Im fairly certain that most of those camper fridges are ammonia absorbtion systems so all that's needed is a heat source that I'm sure could be supplemented by a rmh or solar application. the trick I think would be to get the guts out in one piece so that it doesn't leak or need to be recharged or resealed.
So this banter thing is a lot of fun,
Here's how I see it, No matter what you build if you look through the lens of Wilderness Fragmentation your going to do more harm than good. Like Brian said thats a differnt topic for another day.
If one was going to build with recycled materials then bonus, I don't care if its tires or cans or used windows or steel cutt from the side of a washing machine. Things are being used in a useful manner and thats better than being sent to the dump to rot in a toxic enviroment or a recycling plant that uses a redictulous amounts of energy (usually not very carbon friendly even with onsite energy production but thats another subject for another thread) to transform said recyclables into something new. But do what you please, build from all new materials if you like. If you don't like the tires use concrete pack your backfill and do a sealed thermal wrap what ever its all good.
If one was to build a earthship style (I say this because anything that isn't built from one of mikes plans is a passive solar TM home) and made sure that it was air tight (when all vents are closed) and insulated properly like an r-20+ (from my understanding anymore r value is not worth the buck) it could most certianly get most of its heating from the sun. Windows sloped or not. (most of mikes designs still have sloping windows except the simple survival that does have sloped windows ontop of the vertical windows and the packaged design but the rest all have sloping windows to get the most amount of sun in on the shortest day of the year) I think that one could most certianly build an interior wall with windows and doors (insulated where it can be) that seperates the main house from the greenhouse. And I think that if it has an airtight seal when doors, windows, and vents are closed there really shouldn't be any excessive humidity issues in the main house and same for the greenhouse if sufficient venting is supplied. As for cold season venting and fresh air could not a hrv of erv be used? the hrv should take some of the moisture out of the air, no? I think that the greenhouse can be a huge aid in keeping steady temperature and it can also be a hinderance if used incorrectly. If insulated curtans or shades are used to keep the warm in on those gray days and cold nights in the winter and to keep the heat out in the summer you should be able to see more gain from your greenhouse than loss. By having a greenhouse attached you don't get the wind and snow hitting the inner windows of the interior glass wall, so heat loss from the main house is minimized basicaly a weather lock. (I live in an old house built in the 60's. I heat with wood and here in the winter at night I close my blinds to keep the heat in. and in the summer often durring the day the temp of the house can be kept quite cool by closing the blinds in the morning and leaving them shut all day. there is a substantial differance in temps just by running my blinds at the right time and i have no TM and the house is very poorly insulated)
So what I put forward is
If you build a house with thermal mass, make it as air tight as you can and have proper ventilation why couldn't you use a greenhouse to do most of your heating and use say a rmh to supliment on the crappy days? Should be a lot more effecient than the matchstick house I'm living in now. especially if electricity is produced onsite in a renewable fasion.
Wilderness fragmentation isnt that hard of a concept to get if you think about it. This stuff gets political so we should stay away from it unless earthship promotes it?
Im not sure what you mean by this. I googled Wilderness fragmentation this is what i got.
-Wilderness Fragmentation is often defined as a decrease in some or all types of natural habitats in a landscape, and the dividing of the landscape into smaller and more isolated pieces.
I'm not really following what your getting at. Should we only be building in towns and cities that have already decreased the natural habitats? Why stay away from it unless the earthship promotes it? Building any kind of house in the bush is going to deminish natural habitats but if propor permiculture techniques are used in the building and surrounding area arn't we going to increase habitats for critters? What does it have to do with earthships?
The plan to heat the building is to use the sun. If I ever get this thing done we will find out if it works! If not I'm thinking of putting a rocket mass heater in. And as for building with tires most places seem to be ok with it if you have stamped plans it might take some explaining but they seem to be popping up all over the place these days
Thanks! Im in ontario Canada. The dementions started as a 10 by 10 U-module and was supposed to have a green house section 6 feet out but I ended up going 8 feet out with it to give just a bit more room. so i guess its inside dimentions are aprox 10 feet wide and 18 feet long ish. The whole thing has been done by hand. We dug the hole and pounded all the tires with a sledge. It does take a long time and a lot of pounding. My buddy and I got pretty good at it by the time we were done the 100 or so tires in this build. I think on a good day we could get a tire pounded and on to the next one within about 15 min. most did take longer lol. We decided to go with an earth cliff that will be platered over and only 4 rows of tires, this was mainly because we were digging and pounding by hand. Its been a lot of fun and I will deffinatly try and keep updating this thread. Its a bit of an incentive to get working on this thing having it here for people to see. Hopfully I can get a little more done before i have to tarp it up for the winter.