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Question re: Greenhouse back on Paul's wofati method

 
Bethany Dutch
Posts: 164
Location: Colville, WA Zone 5b
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Okay so here's what we're thinking - My husband and I want to do a round "hobbit house" similar to the Simon Dale house. I've been reading about Wofati and I think that makes sense, although we won't do strict wofati I think we want to incorporate elements of wofati with a bermed strawbale home. So, it would be a 33 foot roundhouse (we like Owen Geiger's plan).

SO - question though. We're curious to see if this would work - to have a greenhouse/sunspace buried BEHIND the house so it is between the living space and the hillside. And then there would be entrances to the sunspace on both sides (which has to be that way, since we're planning on eventually adding on so we don't want to berm the sides fully).

I'm thinking it would be a good way to create a beautiful living space, a nice environment for my tropical plants (I grow tropicals in pots, but we live in zone 5 so can't grow them outdoors), and we could even install a pond which might work as a heat sink as well as a place to raise fish or even incorporate all of it into a hydroponic type system.

However, it does raise some questions. Regarding moisture - if it's going to be glassed in like a greenhouse (not only the top, but also the interior wall facing the sunspace), we'd most likely have to do stick built for that wall, am I right? Or is there a way to do it strawbale while keeping a large amount of that wall facing the sunspace being windows? What would I need to do to make sure the top glass portions didn't leak?

Also, am I crazy to think about doing a pond (very small one!) inside? My husband even suggested we could potentially divert rain runoff and make it a sort of waterfall down the side which would be gorgeous, but then we'd need to deal with an outlet for that.

Also - is there a way to make the earth wall (which would basically be the side of the excavation) to be secure and stable? It doesn't seem to me that we should be able to just use it "as is" without some kind of reinforcing but I don't know what we'd do there. It would need to be pretty affordable since we're working on a very limited budget. Would a typical Wofati wall with logs from our property be a good option there?

Edited to add: Oh yeah and would this get too hot in the summer? Our summers get to be around 90ish, and so I guess while I can see passive solar benefits during the winter, I'm not sure how we'd avoid it getting too hot in the summer and negating the cooling benefit of being bermed. We are planning on doing Earth Tubes, which might help.
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