After much deliberation, The Lady and I have finally settled on a plan for our new house. The very fact I am here should hint to our intent of keeping things green, low energy, etc. etc.
A genesis of our path: we bought land last spring, and thought, originally, of some kind of adobe/cob building plan. However, the absence of mud in our immediate area made that unfeasible.
We pondered cordwood, but the lack of R-value (we're just north of Maine, for a reference) combined with concerns over the longevity and internal appearance - we just didn't like the look - forced us to move on.
Straw bale was the technique we looked at longest, but concerns over how to obtain straw (we're a long way from any grain farms - so cost would have been an issue) along with some cautions issued by well-established Permie folks (Jim Merkel) about humidity ... and we were sorta stuck.
The plan, now, is to go with slipform masonry, a la the Nearings, with 4" closed-cell foam on the interior, backed by OSB which we will plaster later. Masonry heater at the centre.
The rural planning chap already had a good look at the preliminary plans, and said we wouldn't need to have an engineer or architect sign off on the plans (saving some big cash).
A little passive solar, combined with 1,400 watts of solar into a 24-volt, 700-amp-hour battery.
We've already gathered 29 trailer and truck loads of rock, which should get us well in the right direction. 700-square-foot footprint, two storey, open concept loft.
Property is 28 acres, with existing well and septic. We're going to slip the footprint into the space a previous owner had a cabin (it burned down). The footprint choice is largely driven by the desire to avoid hacking trees.
We've already obtained a cement mixer, corner tub, two doors, and a buncha other stuff. The intent is to keep it cheap/recycled/home-built as much as possible.
We are in zone 5a/b, and will likely be trying to seed some blackberries, raspberries and - our favourite - Saskatoon berries - later this year. We also have maples and will try our hand at surgarbushing this spring, if all goes well.
Gail Moore wrote:
Are you familiar with the Yestermorrow Natural Building School in Vermont? They may also have some research and building
information which would be useful for your area "north of Maine".
Also, New Frameworks Natural Building, http://newframeworks.com/ they have developed a hybrid wall system that I just heard about, and they are taking publice, for keeping dry and insulated.
BEST OF everything on your adventures.
I've heard of neither group so I am glad you sent me the links - I'll do some investigation.
Wyomiles Hogan wrote:Cool Vern, This is what I hope to do someday only using logs. I don't have that many rocks, sure wish I did.
Well, those aren't local to us. The province put in a highway, and blasted the ever-loving heck out of a whole bunch of rock faces - so we're collecting the junk left at the side of the road. It's taken a bit of gas money to do so, but an analysis suggests the end result is less cost to us... we still need a few more loads, though!