Does anybody know of any real houses built using the techniques described in this book? I love his approach to layout and lighting and such, but I can't believe that a couple of layers of foil and dead air will hold enough heat in.
In short, he makes his walls and roof by using one-inch boards on the inside and outside with foil, furring strip airspace, more foil, more air, more foil and then more wood. He claims it's energy efficient, but that term may not have meant the same thing in the 60's when the book was written,
Foil (Radiant Barrier) is a crummy way to try to insulate your home. For RB to have its most potential benefit, it must face a 1" airspace or so. I think this gets you an R2-3 at most. R3 per inch is not very good and there are much more affordable insulation products that will perform better. Generally, the only good things you hear about RB is from the people who sell them.
"If you want to save the environment, build a city worth living in." - Wendell Berry
In the early 1980s, we had family friends who lived in such a house on the hillside in Anchorage, Alaska. It seemed to work very well there and then. In particular, I enjoyed how walls were rearranged from time to time as their young children grew or even temporarily for "house parties." Tom was a guitarist, Mary was an artist, and they both were active in community theater. Having read the Roberts book in the early 1970s, I immediately recognized the house when we first visited Tom and Mary at their home. Certainly, we learn more as the decades go by, or at least I hope so. I still regard the book as EXCELLENT for its basic philosophy and principles even if some details may be obsolete because we have learned more since it was written.
This cake looks terrible, but it tastes great! Now take a bite out of this tiny ad:
2020 Permaculture Design Course for Scientists and Engineers, June 14-27