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Posts: 5
Location: Festus, MO
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I have been trolling this site for a while and you all have given me massive amounts of information.

My goal is eventual Self Sufficiency through a permaculture village. To achieve this I would like to build an earthbag community housing structure like the one found at http://www.jovoto.com/projects/300house/ideas/12132 . I have my varient drafted up and designed save for the few flaws a first time is bound to have. Given a good clay content (which i hope to settle on here in Missouri which is where i am basing information on atm)my questions are:
How does one figure in electrical wiring (if applicatable)
How does one fit the plumbing (especially if grey water is going to be recycled via reed pond or oyster mushrooom method)
and finally speculatively how much better is uing the southern side of the house (since that is where most sunlight in northern hemisphere will hit) rank against thermal mass, solar power and using it to create a microclimate? What are the pros and cons of each of these methods.

So far the earth baghousing cost is 750 to 1250 in earhbags and 440 in barb wire (after not factored the doors (8 needed) windows (none in plan yet) or roof. I will have enough materials left over to construct a decent sized root cellar (around 70 feet of left of materials speculated). I have also calculated the man hours in work days (assuming 6 people and an optimal flow rate) at 22 days for construction plus the roof and root cellar time.

I am open to any tips tricks or suggestions. My goal is to have this up and runnign when the proper land and money becomes available (aka within 1.5 years of graduating) I am willing to work in sections as well.

probably the most important question is how does one find quality people to help and occupy the rest of the rooms (6 "houses"). and how much acerage am I lookign at to support this crew. Sorry for being such a newbie but I can only learn if I ask
 
Kenny Eakin
Posts: 5
Location: Festus, MO
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The housing stands at a building of 45' x 45'
broke down into:

Entry way 5' X 14 '
Atrium (cooking and communal living area) 17' x 17' [289 sq feet in the center]
"House" 1 14' x6' x 20' x 17 x 14' (door finishing the gap to form 6 sides 332 square feet)
"House" 2 14' x6' x 20' x 17 x 14' (door finishing the gap to form 6 sides 332 square feet)
"House" 3 14' x 25' (392 sq feet)
"House" 4 13' x 14' (182 sq feet)
"House" 5 17' x 14' (238 sq feet)
"House" 6 14' X 14' (196 sq feet)

Root cellar space with possible 70 feet of wall left leaves
proposed space of 100 sq feet (leaving some bags for the roof for suitable covering)

Foor roofing I was wonder if leaving atruim vented in a greenhouse style with over head lights and protected air vents would be a good ?
 
Posts: 3366
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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I like that design, always have. But you need to figure out your roof--it could be 90% of your building cost.

Are you building individual bathrooms and kitchens or communal? Common bath and kitchen make plumbing simple. I would build it with the smallest two "houses" as the bath and kitchen with the atrium your kitchen garden.

In MO you need to protect from sun, rain, and cold depending on the season, so that makes roofing a challenge. If you want to stick with earthbags, I would do BOTH the dry and wet climate roofs--the dry style is purely for insulation and will need to be easily opened up for ventilation in the summer (gravity vents). The tin roof needs to overhang for shade and be high enough off the "dry roof" to vent easily.

Other option is a living roof, but you would have to find a good liner material and strong enough timbers.

You will need to roof the atrium or you will have serious water problems in MO. I would build that roof as a greenhouse as you said, but make sure you can control ventilation.

You can run conduit for electricity fairly easily or use armorflex wire (need to protect the electric wire from the barb wire) in-between the bags. Or you can set the boxes in the wall as you go using nail boards to hold them in the bags and run the wire afterwards, chinking it into the bags and covering with plaster.

If it were me, I would scrounge craigslist for an old barn or building to recycle. I just saw a used 50x80 metal barn roof and trusses for $6000, no side tin-just roof and posts to make the eves 6' off the ground. That roof would cover two of your communities or give you a large outer atrium. Put the roof up first, then you can build underneath it. It sounds expensive, until you price the other options. I would much rather re-use existing metal than cut live trees or buy new plastic, but YMMV.
 
Kenny Eakin
Posts: 5
Location: Festus, MO
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R Scott wrote:I like that design, always have. But you need to figure out your roof--it could be 90% of your building cost.

Are you building individual bathrooms and kitchens or communal? Common bath and kitchen make plumbing simple. I would build it with the smallest two "houses" as the bath and kitchen with the atrium your kitchen garden.

In MO you need to protect from sun, rain, and cold depending on the season, so that makes roofing a challenge. If you want to stick with earthbags, I would do BOTH the dry and wet climate roofs--the dry style is purely for insulation and will need to be easily opened up for ventilation in the summer (gravity vents). The tin roof needs to overhang for shade and be high enough off the "dry roof" to vent easily.

Other option is a living roof, but you would have to find a good liner material and strong enough timbers.

You will need to roof the atrium or you will have serious water problems in MO. I would build that roof as a greenhouse as you said, but make sure you can control ventilation.

You can run conduit for electricity fairly easily or use armorflex wire (need to protect the electric wire from the barb wire) in-between the bags. Or you can set the boxes in the wall as you go using nail boards to hold them in the bags and run the wire afterwards, chinking it into the bags and covering with plaster.

If it were me, I would scrounge craigslist for an old barn or building to recycle. I just saw a used 50x80 metal barn roof and trusses for $6000, no side tin-just roof and posts to make the eves 6' off the ground. That roof would cover two of your communities or give you a large outer atrium. Put the roof up first, then you can build underneath it. It sounds expensive, until you price the other options. I would much rather re-use existing metal than cut live trees or buy new plastic, but YMMV.



I was planning for the "House to open open floor style at the moment
the communal space I would like to figure out how to make a more "greenhouse house style kithn" meaning windowed roof with kitchen amenities inside.

that is one of the reasons I have not figured out the roof yet, another reason is if I build it in sections it could change how I would need to layout roof unless the plan was in place form the start.

you cover the atrium well and gave me ideas for it, I like the roof top garden makes it more efficient, would the weight load to be to much (with those timbers included) to greenhouse it? I am just wonder for wonders sake at the moment. Thank you For the suggestions I will keep an eye out for old barns being Demo'ed.

Would it be possible to get salvaged support pillars form barns being demoed as well and build them into the corners of the houses and atrium, so the roof garden could cover the whole roof. and would this be plausible if building the community in sections (I know this would inflate the budget, but chopping up the project in sections the walls were tailed right to allow the other rooms to be added on latter as capital came in could allow for it to be done section at a time).

As for the bathroom, I could always take the smallest "House" and turn it into a bathroom. This would also help solve one fo my other question about the grey water, because I run the grey water pipe through the wall and into the reed cambers container the cleaning oyster mushroom (have not fleshed this part out but working on it) then use the run off into a reed pond for final cleaning before using it in my gardens
correct?

would you suggest fitting the community when closer to finished with gutters and collecting and sand pot filtering the water for use as well?
 
R Scott
Posts: 3366
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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ALWAYS collect roof water somehow, but do it right. One 55 gallon barrel is usually not right, you are catching 0.001% of the rain and it is not enough to be useful when you need it--unless it is just for washing hands and it rains every week without fail. Either chain enough barrels (also useful thermal mass in the greenhouse) or direct it to a pond. You need to think about it in thousands of gallons, not gallons.

If you can find salvaged barn timber, it could be a great resource. It is not the vertical pillars that are the problem (the earthbags can handle that just fine), it is the roof span itself. You could do something like raised beds directly above the load-bearing walls and then a minimal cover of lightweight mix everywhere else (buckwheat or other grain crop plus stabilizing rooted perenials) to minimize the timber size, but I can't do that math. It is in Oehler's $50 underground house book for heavy loads, and you can use Colorado snow loads to approximate thin living roofs in non-snow country.

Somewhere in my old sketchbook I have two very similar designs to yours--but it was to be built in-ground with a greenhouse above--one was a rectangle and the other a round dome. Trying to do the earthship thing without the load-bearing roof. But where I wanted to put it was only 2 feet down to bedrock...

 
Kenny Eakin
Posts: 5
Location: Festus, MO
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Thank you once again for the knowledge. are you planning any grwing walls (aka inside walls fitted to support small plants and berries)
http://www.ted.com/talks/stephen_ritz_a_teacher_growing_green_in_the_south_bronx.html

sorry I have been using Ted Talks as an Idea for designs on some things. (I was thinking of using this in the atrium or kitchen even if I do the roof garden)

if I use the area behind the bathroom to do a reed pond and let it flow into a main pond via dam or similar contraption where fish would be stocked is my idea. (reed pond for recycling grey water)
still working on plants looking at soil, sun and moisture needs as well as harvest times, nutrition, and yield; but that data is far form coming close. Need to bind what I have

I could always use a pump to return water to the greenhouse.

I have other ted talks that I am looking at for possible information.

and would it be possible to fit the root cellar indoors under the atrium/kitchen or would that cause problems?

Things I am currently working out:
Windmill power to air pressure
leads to needing to find refrigeration repair books for some models so I can figure out how to modify them)
How to bleed off the water into the garden or pond
Plants to use (have a ton on my list including other bits like splicing plants) side note looking forward to devil tree with tomato and eggplant splice once I get that far into experimenting

and you have any information on wildcrafting? curious about this especially with the herbs I grow for aromatherapy reason or medicinal reasons. another side note currently finishing up school for massage therapy so living green and showing people how to take care of themselves and the land is trying to be part of my lifestyle I want to live. This ecovillage (on assuming an acre when I get it) is going to be my pet project to learn and grow form, but I will always except the information I can get.
 
R Scott
Posts: 3366
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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TED talks have some fine ideas in them, plus they get to the point quickly. Like everything on the internet, you need to filter and verify the information before you rely on it.

On my property, the house is above the main pond so I use a small solar pump to pump water up to the house and garden ponds. Solar pumps get expensive fast when you have to pump higher than about 10 or 15 feet, just to be warned.

You can do a trap-door root cellar--that is what most homestead cabins had back in the day. It works, but you have to insulate your floor. You would probably have to line up the walls with the load bearing walls above and treat it like a basement foundation.

I came to permaculture with a black thumb--I understand engineering and construction and infrastructure, but shockingly little about plants. My wife is the green thumb.
 
Kenny Eakin
Posts: 5
Location: Festus, MO
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Still working on figuring up the how much wiring I will need for electrical (both house and the greenhouse roof) [11 dollars roughly per 25 feet, without breaker wiring, or solar panel wiring)

but the grey water recycling system which filter down a channel cultivated with oyster mushrooms dumps into the reed pond, which si over set the pond with koi, trout and crayfish, (not sure on the plants yet need to looking up some more and put some though into it. Trout and craw being a major source of fish and koi harvested near end of life so they obtain all the luck the Japanese believe them to have. My choice of trout is based on the Norse believing it was a fish that same in the well of knowledge (the same well Odin gave up an eye to drink form) and they believe when you eat it you gain the knowledge. am not superstitious but I though it was 2 good fish. I will bleed some of the pressurized air into the pond when I figure how to make smaller bubbles.

the wind mill is be pressurizing air (found the idea area...still need machine looked up but it should not be that hard to find) into the holding tank (recommended 500 gallon pressurized propane tank). then run to fridge's compressor (looking into how to do this) air tool ( a luxury I can buy when I can buy them) can also run off this. This cuts down on a lot fot he things I would need power for.

One the outside fo the wall about 3 to 4 feet off the wall lattice some espaliers (leaving gaps for the window so they still get a view. creating a microclimate on at least the southern wall to extend the grow season by a week or two. (would the heat form the walls make this longer?) and in between windows brace and make wall plantings on the side of the house. (not attached into the earhbags, but the farm could be laid partially into the wall while building. (think about it, you could have selves built int the wall on ones side (back t legs being the wall, side shelf and front to legs salvaged and treated wood as the wood pass through the wall to the outside it connects tot he shelving unit out the but these have beds angled slightly so when the plants grew up they do not crowd each other[need plants that like partial to full shade and are edible)

but that is as far as I have come. any thoughts on how this is looking. my plant list is low because I am researching still on nutrition, champion planting, season and growing habits.

animals I would like to include: rabbits and chickens for sure. pigs if I get more than an acre.

as you see I am slow transform my idea staring with what I can form the house. I did not mention rain water being collected as well. Could you use the pressurized air to pump water up form the pond to a filter tank cultured with good bacteria, into the reed pond so it sets the good bacteria there and when the reed pond over flows it overflows into the normal pond carrying the good bacteria there and if that is so, then you use it to pump the water up to the green house as well right? so one the conversation of energy the water spilling over the reed pond could turn a water wheel and regain some power as electricity (not a lot if I believe so, but some). Inside of flat paddles bucket paddles so the water feels up the bucket making it turn so even if it slow and steady it is turning one bucket at a time.

k tapped out of ideas to add to the system atm, but I think I am on the right track.
 
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