I'm very new to Permaculture and am really excited about all these resources. I want to build what I call a Tea House but is essentially an herbal clinic. I'd really like to utilize whatever sustainable options I can in terms of energy. I know most of these questions and discussions are about homes, which is something I definitely want to do for myself. But I'm also a big believer in having a sustainable business as part of the overall Permaculture vision.
Ideally, I will be building my own space. But if I need to purchase a space and make modifications that's fine.
My main question is this: would something like Rocket Mass be doable for "commercial" (what would a clinic register as) or would solar be better? Would it depend on how large the space is and not just needs (lighting and heat)? I am considering turning a home into a business which means I could install these. But it seems better to build my own space with sustainability in mind. I am thinking of rain barrels for garden spaces (as I'd like to grow my own medicinal supply). I'm assuming I'd have to check city stuff if I wanted to install purifiers for my drinking, serving and ritual bath water.
Any tips, thoughts or resources would be greatly appreciated!
Are you concerned about building codes, insurance, permits?
And, where are you going to be doing this?
This may very drastically impact the cost, hassle factor, and possibility of most less conventional options..
'Theoretically this level of creeping Orwellian dynamics should ramp up our awareness, but what happens instead is that each alert becomes less and less effective because we're incredibly stupid.' - Jerry Holkins
Tell us more! What are the main energy needs in your location? Is it a mild winter just needing the chill taken off, or a severe winter with continuous heating needs for several months? Also a rocket mass heater requires a strong foundation, so is tricky to install in an upstairs or over a basement. There are so many variables depending on your location, climate, what energy needs, etc. For example, the climate where I live is high desert with a long cold winter, so passive solar heating is dead easy. If I were to heat with wood here I'd have to buy it, and probably from very far away. But I'm from the northeastern US where the winter temperatures are similar to here, but firewood is easily available, and it's a cloudy climate which makes solar heating less easy.
So tell us more: it's a nice topic!
Works at a residential alternative high school in the Himalayas SECMOL.org . "Back home" is Cape Cod, E Coast USA.
Sometimes it is just a matter of taking what is already available, and thinking outside the box.
For instance I just moved back into my old house and when I did, I brought our pellet stove with us. I like it because it has consistent heat that is programable, and while a case could be made for wood pellets being sustainable, if we think outside the box a bit, we could really make the case that it is a sustainable way to heat a home or business. I mean, by its very design, a pellet stove is code-compliant of any solid fuel system.
But rather than take a fuel, manipulate it, and force it into a pellet shape that is consistent, what if we sustainable raised something that was already consistently shaped and would burn? A pellet stove can burn other fuels besides wood. I mix mine with whole corn kernels, and sunflower seeds can also be burned. So in your Holistic Store you put in a pellet stove (or boiler) and then put a big picture up of a field of sunflowers and explain to your customers THAT is what is heating your store. Yes, it takes a bit f communication, but people resonate with that...a beautiful field of flowering sunflowers, and heating your shop all winter. How cool is that?
Thank you all so much! Yes, I'm sure some details would be helpful haha.
I'm in Colorado...that high desert climate. We've already got snow! Yes, I am concerned about building codes and permits. I dream of using a fireplace or two if it's permissible in the city (just outside the downtown Denver area). So I'm looking at heating for at least 5-7 months (it's been known to snow in April and May) and will of course need to heat water. It does get below freezing here at night. I'm sure it's been under 20 during the days some days but up until now I've just been dealing with it. It's amazing what one tunes into when exploring these options! I'm still figuring out daily traffic and building occupation. ideally, someone in the building all day. But I'm sure there will be plenty of times when that's not the case. I have no problem keeping the building cold when empty if it's safer. Two stories, possibly a basement. Can you tell I'm still planning?
In my design I would emphasize Passive solar, internal mass in ceramic flooring, thick slabs, active Solar collection both electric and thermal. If extra heating was required I would opt for a pellet stove. If you are in a built up environment and commercial there will be a lot of " must follows" due to population density... Be flexible and try for the best compromise you can.
Cheers, and welcome to Permies, David