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Toxins Vs Energy consumption  RSS feed

 
Seth Wetmore
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Location: Some where in the universe in space and time.
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The EPS discussion brings up a good point.
Do we do what we know to be toxic in the future for the reduction of pollution toxins today?
Please look to the options vs. the costs.
would you like to put your input in as a construction contractor, or other hands on person. Please do so.
What is the sollution?
What sollutions would be effective and cost efficient.
How do we get people to join us and solve these cost issues vs toxin issues?
Where do people go to be able to create the sollutions with out being squashed by a government office that is 10- 20 years behind the technology?
Have a great day.
 
Sean Rauch
Posts: 136
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
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Your going to get a myriad of answers of course and they are going to span the idealistic to the ignorant.

Here is my perspective. I'm a builder who is passionate about building design and performance. I live in central Canada, the temperature fluctuates 70C season to season and in the dead of winter we can have weeks on end of -30C. Our ground is primarily clay with a high water table and floods are common. The ground shifts with the winter frost etc etc. I live in a city of 700,000+ people.

Firstly lets talk the market. The market for truely sustainable building is weak, there are a few strawbale houses within a 200 mile radius, I know of one cordwood house, one earth ship and I'm sure a whole myriad of other "green buildings" thinly scattered about. I personally think strawbale is an awesome system that exibits some fantastic qualities. I had a meeting about this question yesterday with a consultant that I've started working with who lives in one of those strawbale homes and even she admits it; there is a ton of interest in her home, how she built and how they live but zero interest on the behalf of clients to actually build one themselves. So are there people who want to live in a cob, strawbale etc house? Yes. Are there enough to keep builders or the like going? No. The question is why and the answer is of course a bit complex. Primarily we as humans tend to stick to the patterns or traditions that we know. We eat what our parents fed us, we live in the same parts of the world we grew up in and we occupy buildings that are familiar. Another very real issue is people don't want to invest a massive amount of resources into something that isn't well backed with data. This is the primary hindrance to the market when it comes to super green buildings and the lack of data effects all aspects of the process: builders, insurers, inspectors, engineers, architects etc etc etc. The bottom line is unless your willing to cut the cord and move onto a piece of remote land and live off the grid on your own then you have some very real issues to grapple with. So the market is getting more open to these ideas but it will not currently sustain them on any real scale and that leads into one of your points...

Price. Everyone evaluates life's tangibles based on price. If you spent $20,000 hard costs on your home doing a DIY but also spent 4 years getting it done then you actually didn't just spend $20k, based on average wages around here you spent about $220k or likely more depending on the hours of input. So yes you can build for $20k or less so long as you're willing to input an additional $200k of free labor into your project. These aren't hard numbers just the overall concept. Some super green buildings are built by people who have a ton of money and they spend multiple times the amount per square foot to build vs what is within reach of the average person so its really important to remember that everything has a cost. Now as I grapple with this reality of economy and the need to eat, pay bills etc I know that we have to find ways to deliver simple and cost effective solutions to the market that are relative to the average person. Most people ply some sort of trade like cutting hair and they will typically be far better barbers than builders so their time is best spent cutting hair and paying a builder like myself to make them a home, its simple trade economics and its real. Add to this whole metric the possibility that you will invest years of your life building that dream super green home and because you've got zero idea what you're doing you built that cob palace like shit and its just as much of an albatross as an old conventional home. Does ideology and the input of personal time trump a turnkey solution? Its a roll of the dice to be sure. So back to price. People like me are trying to work out the baby steps in getting people from McMansions to Strawbale palaces, understanding that they just WILL NOT live in a straw house. This is why I bring up the EPS question you mention because my research is finding that it is less toxic then many other foam type insulation products, performs well, is easy to install and has a very good price point overall.

So the next point and its a valid one is toxicity. Is EPS an inherently toxic solution? Sure, is it more toxic then straw, of course but lets remember that the market has already ruled out straw so we are forced to compare EPS to the solutions that the market will in fact accept. Is an R50 EPS remote wall better than your standard R16 typical wall assembly with batt and poly, I'm gonna say hell yes because that R50 wall is sustainable in terms of energy input over years without much if any additional cost. So again we're back to balancing realities rather than ideals. Would it be ideal and cost effective to have a R50 straw bale wall? Yes. Does the market care? No. Like it or not we are surrounded by choices that run the gambit from ludicrous to ignorant and we need to make judgement calls based on the realities we are presented with no matter how they make us feel. Do I like a EPS as a step in the right direction as we educate the market about better solutions and smarter thinking? Of course but EPS is not an end state just one solution on the way to many better ones. Is EPS less toxic than XPS? Very much so. I challenge you to weigh the real equations when it comes to toxicity today vs tomorrow. I could build a sod home (that my wife won't be happy living in) that costs a mountain of wood to keep warm or a passive solar home insulated with EPS, which has the smaller overall footprint? Its like hybrid cars, yes they use less fuel but the manufacturing of the technology that goes into the car is hugely toxic, or the "super green" guy I passed the other day on the street riding his bike bringing his kids home from school in a snow storm with 4" of the white stuff already accumulated on the road and he's sliding all over the place. Does his choice to be green stop that prius from killing his kids when he wipes out in front of the oncoming car that can barely see him? If that were to happen how will it effect his family in the long run or how will it effect the family of the prius driver? So for the last time we have to compare against realities not ideals.

Generally speaking if you want to contend with your local government building codes you need to employ an engineer who is willing to risk his stamp on your building envelope.

How do we get people to join us on the journey? In my mind its pretty simple, we need to take steps and prove that those steps are justifiable. I personally believe the next big step forward is passive solar and if we need to sacrifice some of our ideals to make it a reality on scale and the result is a better reality then the one we have now then we are stupid to pass it up for an ideal. Its about the journey after all is it not?
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Sorry Sean, I have to challenge you on some of your points. some are subject and others are simply not true overall. In general I read what you write, and it presents more as a justification for your belief systems in construction than the actual realities on many (not all) fronts. You want to be "green," but the skill sets are not the same as conventional systems which it is obvious from what you share, that mainstream building practices are what you know, understand, and can make money at when marketing it to clients. I can see that, but it does not change this is a web site for "Permaculturists," and "Natural and/or Traditional builders," not modern industrial complex supported modalities.

So are there people who want to live in a cob, straw bale etc house? Yes. Are there enough to keep builders or the like going? No.
That is highly subjective, and usually "self realizing" if you don't agree with, and understand something - completely - you are going to have a much harder time representing the method.

Another very real issue is people don't want to invest a massive amount of resources into something that isn't well backed with data. This is the primary hindrance to the market when it comes to super green buildings and the lack of data effects all aspects of the process: builders, insurers, inspectors, engineers, architects etc etc etc.
Data? This comment Sean simple does not reflect a deeper understanding nor global perspective. The two dominant building forms today (and for the last 5000 years) is timber frame and earth architecture respectfully. Your statement reflects a clearly "modern Anglo European insular mind set." Is timber, earth and stone the most common where you are AT THIS TIME, no. Yet what you are trying to convince folks of (and perhaps yourself) is that modern is better than what has come before. If you just take the actually history of your region, the way I build has been around 20 times longer, with better durability and longevity record, than the methods you are suggesting.

The bottom line is unless your willing to cut the cord and move onto a piece of remote land and live off the grid on your own then you have some very real issues to grapple with.
True to only a point, and will only continue to be a struggle if folks keep trying to resist the logic of what has come before them. If you like big industry, and down want to step outside you confront zones, fair enough, but don't try to wrap some pretty weak logic around it to justify your position.

So the market is getting more open to these ideas but it will not currently sustain them on any real scale and that leads into one of your points... Price.
Again Sean, you are justifying and not really making an effort to market and push what I think you know is a better way of doing housing as well as more ethical and sustainable.


Everyone evaluates life's tangibles based on price. If you spent $20,000 hard costs on your home doing a DIY but also spent 4 years getting it done then you actually didn't just spend $20k, based on average wages around here you spent about $220k or likely more depending on the hours of input. So yes you can build for $20k or less so long as you're willing to input an additional $200k of free labor into your project. These aren't hard numbers just the overall concept.
No Sean, not everyone evaluates life's tangibles on price. Many do...Many do not. On a global scale the evaluate things based on comfort, hunger, and family needs. Your number are far from "hard," are subjective, and are not taking in many other aspects and variables to the human condition - both tangible, ethical, and spiritual.

Now as I grapple with this reality of economy and the need to eat, pay bills etc I know that we have to find ways to deliver simple and cost effective solutions to the market that are relative to the average person.
Yes you do, as well as step outside your own comfort zones, and perhaps embrace skill sets you are not familiar with or fully understand...yet.

Does ideology and the input of personal time trump a turnkey solution? Its a roll of the dice to be sure.
For some it maybe a gamble, as it would seem to be for you, but for the majority of the world "ideology" is more important than anything (for better or worse) as we are seeing in the Middle East and the European based culture of the words struggling to relate. My ethos, both public and private is more important to me than my own life, as it is for countless millions. I agree this is a tricky subject but as it relates to architecture, its a choice not just a "turnkey solution."

So back to price. People like me are trying to work out the baby steps in getting people from McMansions to Strawbale palaces, understanding that they just WILL NOT live in a straw house.
If you believe that, you are absolutely correct. "Mindset" and personal beliefs, combined with confidence in your personal ethos will effect success or failure. If you don't support "alternative green" building 100% then you are going to have a real hard time (impossible?) role modeling and promoting it.

This is why I bring up the EPS question you mention because my research is finding that it is less toxic then many other foam type insulation products, performs well, is easy to install and has a very good price point overall....
And is highly toxic in house fires, very vulnerable to pest damage (see comments to your own post at http://www.permies.com/t/30149/green-building/Lets-debate-EPS-foam-insulation) a product of the "industrial complex." and the list goes on. You are choosing this. It may even have merit in some applications with the proper encapsulation (maybe?) but it doesn't even begin to have the longevity record (it simply has not been around long enough to use your own words) compared to timber, earth and stone architecture. You can keep saying to yourself that the market does not support "straw" but that is only as true as you make it. I am not a fan of structural SB architecture in general, but it is better than most modern building forms, and when augmented with timber framing, highly superior. This doesn't even begin to address the other possibilities of straw panel, clay straw infill, and the related modalities.

Like it or not we are surrounded by choices that run the gambit from ludicrous to ignorant and we need to make judgement calls based on the realities we are presented with no matter how they make us feel. Do I like a EPS as a step in the right direction as we educate the market about better solutions and smarter thinking? Of course but EPS is not an end state just one solution on the way to many better ones. Is EPS less toxic than XPS? Very much so.
Again, you sound like a sales agent for the petroleum industry or someone trying to convince yourself. This is not the "miracle product" you present it as. Can it have application in cross over designs, yes, are there alternative, also yes.

I challenge you to weigh the real equations when it comes to toxicity today vs tomorrow. I could build a sod home (that my wife won't be happy living in) that costs a mountain of wood to keep warm or a passive solar home insulated with EPS, which has the smaller overall footprint? Its like hybrid cars, yes they use less fuel but the manufacturing of the technology that goes into the car is hugely toxic, or the "super green" guy I passed the other day on the street riding his bike bringing his kids home from school in a snow storm with 4" of the white stuff already accumulated on the road and he's sliding all over the place. Does his choice to be green stop that prius from killing his kids when he wipes out in front of the oncoming car that can barely see him? If that were to happen how will it effect his family in the long run or how will it effect the family of the prius driver? So for the last time we have to compare against realities not ideals.
Look Sean if you don't want to be green don't, but some of these comments borderline on the absurd. Foam is more toxic than SB, cob and many others period, it's not open for discussion as that is foolishness. If you want to use foam, use it, I do at times in some applications and in some ways, I don't pretend that it is better or what I should be doing, it is simply a reality because I tend to also use a lot of recycled materials. I use less of it all the time, and until we get plant based foams (may be never) leading the market, I probably will use less and less of it, even if recycled. As an WEMT I have seen as many deaths with trucks as I have seen with subcompacts. If you are driving a truck and are having a hard time seeing the smaller vehicles the onus is on you to change not society which understands the need for this change.

Generally speaking if you want to contend with your local government building codes you need to employ an engineer who is willing to risk his stamp on your building envelope.
Risk..what Risk? PE are some of the most pragmatic lot of folk I have ever worked with, mine especially. It works, or it doesn't it's that simple and he has no issue putting his stamp on one of my timber frames, if he won't for some reason, then I have to make a modification in strength, it's that simple, the thermal envelope has no bearing on it unless someone wants to make an issue. Until the consumer public pushes back, government won't change. I find it usually does if you approach authorities with confidence and don't create issues where there are none. Cellulose insulation is accepted almost everywhere and saw dust, clay chip, clay straw is all predominantly cellulose. A lot of these issue can be address by your language and not asking questions, you don't really need answers to when exploring what some (apparently you?) think as alternative building systems.
 
Seth Wetmore
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Sean thank you for your response. This is a excellent example of what is worth discussing. I am gratefull that you took the time to post so much information.
I hope many people read what you write for it brings up very good ideas, concerning cost, location, and many factors that people who are just trying to do the right thing may not think about while they are being sold a bill of goods that they can not afford.
Many times I have looked into increasing efficiency of the current buildings due to the points you bring up. So far the reality is the cost of nonconventional homes is just to high. Insulation is the primary resolution ( cost vs. efficiency ) to a building that is not designed with efficiency of resources in mind. Conservation of resources. Turn key homes are (as of this post), primarily not designed for conservation of resources. Upgrading a current home most likely costs less than tear down and rebuild in the same location. Our newer buildings have many advantages, and many detractions. Few new homes are designed for long term use (20 to 40 years is short term/single generation living.). People in America have a habit of moveing on a regular basis, so up keep becomes exspensive. People are doing a lot of flipping a old houses for a profit. Buy it paint it and sell it before anyone notices the problems. Turn and burn housing has caused the market to hyper inflate to the point where regular people have to go into debt in the millions just to buy a fixer upper. Homes should not be used as credit cards.
The problem is still the same. Are there less toxic insulation options than polymer, chemical based substances.
I would like to believe that we could retrofit homes at low cost. The benefits currently. Double pained glass, better insulation, more efficient heater/air conditioners, Increased home efficiency designs. Newer homes can meet old structure codes while being modified for higher efficiency/ at relativly low costs. Would people be convinced to stay in the same location if thier costs went down? I will keep thinking on it, I tend to agree with the way you presented your information. I hope many people respond to our discussion. Have a great day. Again thank you for your input.
 
Brian Knight
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Location: Asheville NC
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Great question and response. Obviously no easy answers with so many variables. I think most folks on this forum and reading these threads dont fit into the typical market. I also think that many in this realm and those new to green building ideas place too much emphasis on materials, at the sake of lower hanging fruit and areas that have a much bigger impact.

The toxicity of materials can be broken down in several ways. The most overblown in my opinion is the toxic effects on the dwelling inhabitants. According to NIOSH, only 4% of a home's Indoor Air Quality problems are from building materials. Its likely that the computer or smart phone we are reading this on is having a more damaging impact on our health than any of the materials used in conventional construction. The key to reducing toxicity in our homes is to provide outdoor air with mechanical ventilation when the weather is unfavorable to opening windows. While obsessing over toxic-free materials can help, the reduced impact is barely measurable. Outdoor air is almost always cleaner than indoor air and totally natural homes are no different. A home built entirely of toxic foam that has fresh air introduction will easily have better air than the toxic-free home without mechanical ventilation.

More important is the damage to the environment from manufacturing. Luckily, most industry is moving in the right direction by cleaning up their processes. As consumers, we can help speed this up by fleshing out the appropriate details and selecting products that reduce these impacts like choosing EPS, Isocyanurate and water blown products instead of other choices when appropriate.

Most importantly, and the heart of the thread's title, is the toxic, energy consumption that more toxic products can reduce. Burning and mining fossil fuels has much more toxic and environmental impact than the making of plastic and foam. The impact from making foam is certainly there but once its made and in place it reduces the hidden costs of fossil fuels for decades into the future. The toxicity is also less harmful and much more localized than the widespread and more potent use of dirty energy.

There is also the smaller issues of labor and durability. A more toxic material that needs minimal labor and maintenance could easily have a less toxic big picture than totally natural materials. Labor can also have many toxic effects on our environment and reduced durability means more future labor.
 
Sean Rauch
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Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
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I am a huge fan of the passive house standard because it is designed to address the whole building envelope and in general offer you a cost effective solution that has a reasonable ROI. Standards like leed are generally significant cost increase systems that make accomplishment out of reach for most people.

I actually disagree with you assesment of the market. I would bet that most readers of this or the like forums are not living a very permaculture lifestyle. Most are here for the sake if interest rather than commitment.
 
Seth Wetmore
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Wow good stuff.
Sean I am not a practitioner of permaculture due to not having a PDC ( I could be sued. fun huh.). I am one of those persons that have a extremly limited income. I have not gone to college. And until things change I am as stuck as most of the rest of the population (roughly 47% poverty). Thus I have no personal investment in land or buildings for personal reasons.
I am an advocate for it though.
Creating a better place to live is my goal. So yes I am not practicing the system as the system, yet I follow the ideas. I take what is usefull and modify what I can.
I have noticed a distinct pattern. The idea of this system is based upon sollutions. I am very interested and commited to helping others solve the problems that face them. To get back to subject
The ability for the general population to change what it purchases, is the strongest way to modify the products being sold. The difficulty is that so many of us are just trying to get enough to put food in our mouths that owning a home is unlikely. Yet we are also the ones that build all the buildings and create the structures. I am a weldor, fabricator, carpenter, computer tech, general handy guy, gardener, etc. Yet for all the skills I have, and all the knowledge I know. I have been found to be woefully ignorant. As well as lacking the funds to purchase land or own a building.
So the toxicity of the product may be just a point of clarification. Giving people enough options to choose from without confusing them into a catatonic state of being; where someone else has to make the desicions. This is where contractors usually take over and make decisions that are approved by the state, local municipality, engineers useing building codes, architects. Most of these decisions are already made for the consumer. They just give the consumer enough options to let them think they are involved. For instance In my recent working history I have found very few homes ( only the ultra rich ) with any interior structure other than sheet rock. Standard building codes allow contractors to lower cost and speed up production. The results are the way we see our community as normal. Does that meen that sheet rock is the best least toxic interior surface to work with? No it is just the easiest, cheapest, with the highest fire rating that does not cause complete deforestation. I still hold that improving efficiency of exsisting structures is the best short term sollution at the lowest cost. The structures of the future will be influenced by the purchases of materials today. So in the case that the structure that is being built or retrofitted can get better value at lower cost, with less toxic materials. Than I want you to have the highest quality, lowest cost, least toxic products for the survival of who ever occupies the building.
My investment currently is time at this computer. The return is the vast amount of knowledge you offer to me.
Have a great day. I hope that the product you choose works for what you need done. Regardless of what it is.
 
Burra Maluca
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Seth Wetmore wrote: I am not a practitioner of permaculture due to not having a PDC ( I could be sued. fun huh.). =


Relax Seth. You can practice permaculture all you like without the PDC, you can even call it permaculture too, so long as your ethics are aligned with the ones in the manual. You just can't teach it. And sharing what you know with friends, neighbours and your virtual friends here on permies doesn't count as teaching.

From 'the manual' - The word "permaculture" can be used by anybody adhering to the ethics and principles expressed herein. The only restriction on use is that of teaching. Only graduates of a Permaculture Institute can teach "permaculture"...
 
Tom Gauthier
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Burra Maluca wrote: Only graduates of a Permaculture Institute can teach "permaculture"...[/i]


I don't think this is true. There is no copyright or registered trademark for the word "permaculture" (Reference the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office ... uspto.gov}. There are a few copyrights or trademarks that contain the word permaculture ... something like The John Smith Permaculture Orchard, but these are private businesses protecting their name.

Bill Mollison originally tried to copyright "Permaculture" but he ultimately dropped his application.

So, for better or worse, anyone can teach permaculture. Of course they could not legally represent themselves as certified by the Permaculture Institue unless they really were. Just as anyone can teach mathematics even if they don't have a teaching certificate from XYZ University.

Just trying to clarify things.

Sincerely,

- Tom
 
Seth Wetmore
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Burra and Tom Thanks for the clarifications. I got to view some of the parts of a PDC that had been recorded and put out on the web, then taken down. These were probably early videos. Bill claimed he had to copyright the word permaculture. Is it possible that the copywrite office in new zealand or austrailia do not communicate yery well with Americas copywrite office? Government deplomacy and all HAR! Is it possible he had it protected in some other way?

I am enthusiastic to keep doing the work, regardless of what we call the system. The name means little to me. It is the end result I look for.
A rose by any other name...........
 
Seth Wetmore
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Energy. The ability to alter matter into energy seems to be the problem. We burn the fuels that have the highest hydrogen value, just to heat water to pass by a turbine creating D.C. current. For the moment this is the dominent form of energy production in America/ not the world.
Hydro power forces water to pass through a turbine to create D.C. power.
Wind turbines have air pass them to create D.C. power.
Neuclear heats water to pass by a turbine to create D.C. power.
So since this post is concerning energy and the forms of energy that can be produced Vs. the toxins related to consumption of energy. Maybe we should look at energy as toxic and start there.
The energy itself is probably very low on the scale, but the production and byproducets are very toxic. Gick<- thanks for the new word Paul.
Bill put out the idea of old technologies that could be adapted to current needs.
Trompe. Not the art form, the device.
Has any one made a trompe successfully? People get together to make a trompe and stop talking about it "if they do work?"
What would the outputs be? I have some ideas concerning this and I have to keep them "unfortunatly" to myself for others may have them done already.
We are by passing D.C. power from what was being releyed by Bill. No electricity in the system. Low waste streams< ha I made a funny
Is this fesible on large scales like the size of mountains?

Rant warning!:! I really really really really really hate nueclear. Rant over.

Ohh no one of my ideas got out....what am I to do....LOL patten it quick somebody patten it... I have no money go paten the idea....

If the inputs of a trompe are feisable then all future energy inputs for green technology for energy should go forward with things such as trompes in mind. My english teachers are cringing or turning over in thier graves.

Currently elecrical current is the power form for the planets industrial complex. Yet all the fuels are processed using systems such as fractile distilation.
We go through a very elaborate structure to release energy from matter just to throw the energy at a grid that mostly wastes the energy.
The matter has to be constantly used as fuel, while the grid goes up and down in usage. Thus the needs go up and down but the power conversion goes on for ever and ever. Also the energy consumption only goes up as the poulation increases.
trompe. trompe. trompe. trompe. trompe. trompe.
Check it out let me know what you think.
Energy vs. toxins
 
Sean Rauch
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LOL here come the massive posts hahah, I'll try and answer in red

Jay C. White Cloud wrote:Sorry Sean, I have to challenge you on some of your points. some are subject and others are simply not true overall. In general I read what you write, and it presents more as a justification for your belief systems in construction than the actual realities on many (not all) fronts. You want to be "green," but the skill sets are not the same as conventional systems which it is obvious from what you share, that mainstream building practices are what you know, understand, and can make money at when marketing it to clients. I can see that, but it does not change this is a web site for "Permaculturists," and "Natural and/or Traditional builders," not modern industrial complex supported modalities.

Yes I'm aware of where I am. What I'm saying isn't meant to be a challenge to what you believe to be the "right way", I'm only answering a thread that was basically directed at me (ref EPS). Frankly you have zero idea what I market to clients. I'm really trying t find ways to market as natural a method as possible to the market in general. My goal isn't to just address the 1% of 1% who are already there and fully engaged, the goal is to market to the 25% who are interested changing their lifestyles in context to where they live. "Permaculture" whatever name you want to give it or box you want to put it in only has limited value if it is only allowed to effect an incredibly small group of people, and the current logistical and governmental roadblocks are reflective of the exclusivity of the practices (not that I think those here are trying to exclude anyone). We need to find ways to make it work across the board. If we want to effect the larger population around us we have to communicate on their level and work towards those goals. You can disagree and that's fine this is just two opinions voiced on the internet.

So are there people who want to live in a cob, straw bale etc house? Yes. Are there enough to keep builders or the like going? No.
That is highly subjective, and usually "self realizing" if you don't agree with, and understand something - completely - you are going to have a much harder time representing the method.

Whos method? Your specific brand, because its the best? This is completely subjective.

Another very real issue is people don't want to invest a massive amount of resources into something that isn't well backed with data. This is the primary hindrance to the market when it comes to super green buildings and the lack of data effects all aspects of the process: builders, insurers, inspectors, engineers, architects etc etc etc.
Data? This comment Sean simple does not reflect a deeper understanding nor global perspective. The two dominant building forms today (and for the last 5000 years) is timber frame and earth architecture respectfully. Your statement reflects a clearly "modern Anglo European insular mind set." Is timber, earth and stone the most common where you are AT THIS TIME, no. Yet what you are trying to convince folks of (and perhaps yourself) is that modern is better than what has come before. If you just take the actually history of your region, the way I build has been around 20 times longer, with better durability and longevity record, than the methods you are suggesting.

Again your making it about you and its not. Frankly I'm shocked that you know so much about my region. There are no buildings standing that I have seen older then 150 years. The only people who lived in my specific area before urban development were largely nomadic or settlers who's homes are long gone. Although if you go 1000 kilometers east you'll find longhouses etc you don't find that here nor will you find a comparable climate. I have no standing proven "old ways" structures to compare to, what I do have is a wide array of options to choose from here and now. We do have older homes and buildings and the 100 year mark is about their lifespan without massive upgrades, those timber framed sawdust insulated houses built on stone foundations are falling down and rotting away. My piece of the world and the one you work in may not be the same... thats ok.

The bottom line is unless your willing to cut the cord and move onto a piece of remote land and live off the grid on your own then you have some very real issues to grapple with.
True to only a point, and will only continue to be a struggle if folks keep trying to resist the logic of what has come before them. If you like big industry, and down want to step outside you confront zones, fair enough, but don't try to wrap some pretty weak logic around it to justify your position.

Ideology is great but if not tempered with time, the plan to communicate, and the steps required to get there then it will never have scalable effect. This is the point isn't it? To get people to start down the path at a volume that actually has an effect on the world? People have real issues to work out for themselves, its not a simple question of how to build its a question of how to live. Just because you've crossed the line doesn't mean everyone else is there with you in exactly your spot just begging to do exactly what you're doing if only you would show them how... (this really ins't specific to YOU personally its specific to everyone trying to offer a solution)

So the market is getting more open to these ideas but it will not currently sustain them on any real scale and that leads into one of your points... Price.
Again Sean, you are justifying and not really making an effort to market and push what I think you know is a better way of doing housing as well as more ethical and sustainable.

Everyone evaluates life's tangibles based on price. If you spent $20,000 hard costs on your home doing a DIY but also spent 4 years getting it done then you actually didn't just spend $20k, based on average wages around here you spent about $220k or likely more depending on the hours of input. So yes you can build for $20k or less so long as you're willing to input an additional $200k of free labor into your project. These aren't hard numbers just the overall concept.
No Sean, not everyone evaluates life's tangibles on price. Many do...Many do not. On a global scale the evaluate things based on comfort, hunger, and family needs. Your number are far from "hard," are subjective, and are not taking in many other aspects and variables to the human condition - both tangible, ethical, and spiritual.

You missed the point, money is just a store of time and energy. The cost of everything in life is time and energy, its the only way to fight the natural state of breakdown in nature. So you can choose to put your time and energy into something in exchange for money or whatever you want it really doesn't matter. I'm just making the point that people have to recognize that it all has a cost. You can choose to live completely free of money and the reality is the same. You can choose to live on less, with the hope that you are going to have to input less time and energy. So put a dollar figure on it or don't the physical constants remain the same.

Now as I grapple with this reality of economy and the need to eat, pay bills etc I know that we have to find ways to deliver simple and cost effective solutions to the market that are relative to the average person.
Yes you do, as well as step outside your own comfort zones, and perhaps embrace skill sets you are not familiar with or fully understand...yet.

Exactly but as a GC I don't need to master every skill set nor fully understand them, I just need to have enough understanding and work with the right people to put those skills together and deliver the building people want at a price then can afford one way or another. My goal is to separate myself from the majority of my peers by offering more sustainable solutions

Does ideology and the input of personal time trump a turnkey solution? Its a roll of the dice to be sure.
For some it maybe a gamble, as it would seem to be for you, but for the majority of the world "ideology" is more important than anything (for better or worse) as we are seeing in the Middle East and the European based culture of the words struggling to relate. My ethos, both public and private is more important to me than my own life, as it is for countless millions. I agree this is a tricky subject but as it relates to architecture, its a choice not just a "turnkey solution."

Yes everyone's ideology is a dominant factor in their decision making process. Not everyone shares priorities or values etc, nor can your make them. You can however offer better solutions to what they have now and in a way that they can feel comfortable with. I don't need to drive people towards what I or you believe to be the "right choice" I just want to offer better choices at whatever level they feel comfortable. This is the problem, you can life a fully self sustaining life in a hobbit house and be happy with that but your brother or neighbor may not share your view. What I'm saying is temper yourself and recognize that the world may never be able to accept your ideology and that if you want to influence people in that direction it takes time, a plan and milestone accomplishments along the way. If I can influence someone that they can choose a passive solar option that uses EPS and its the limit of what they are willing to accept is that not a better state then letting them just have a standard solution?

So back to price. People like me are trying to work out the baby steps in getting people from McMansions to Strawbale palaces, understanding that they just WILL NOT live in a straw house.
If you believe that, you are absolutely correct. "Mindset" and personal beliefs, combined with confidence in your personal ethos will effect success or failure. If you don't support "alternative green" building 100% then you are going to have a real hard time (impossible?) role modeling and promoting it.

So its only right if I define "green building" on your terms? I support what I see making sense I don't want to nail myself to the door of any ideology based on what someone on the internet says, nor should anyone reading this. If anyone reads this thread and comes away with either timber frame or EPS remote walls are "the answer" then we both fail.

This is why I bring up the EPS question you mention because my research is finding that it is less toxic then many other foam type insulation products, performs well, is easy to install and has a very good price point overall....
And is highly toxic in house fires, very vulnerable to pest damage (see comments to your own post at http://www.permies.com/t/30149/green-building/Lets-debate-EPS-foam-insulation) a product of the "industrial complex." and the list goes on. You are choosing this. It may even have merit in some applications with the proper encapsulation (maybe?) but it doesn't even begin to have the longevity record (it simply has not been around long enough to use your own words) compared to timber, earth and stone architecture. You can keep saying to yourself that the market does not support "straw" but that is only as true as you make it. I am not a fan of structural SB architecture in general, but it is better than most modern building forms, and when augmented with timber framing, highly superior. This doesn't even begin to address the other possibilities of straw panel, clay straw infill, and the related modalities.

Yes in the past we build with dirt, wood and stone. Also in the past we accepted shorter life spans, chronic health issues due to cooking and heating fires, physical degradation due to poor living conditions etc etc. In the past the only people who really had a building that would last multi generations were either specifically skilled in building them or had way more resources then the average person. In the past we accepted homes where the heating costs were enormous because the supply of fuels far outweighed demand. In the past people just lived with the health risks of a moldy home. Its always easy to look at the past and say those were the golden years, a time when we all knew how to live... truth is that argument is complete bullshit. In the past people were much the same as they are today, they made the same kinds of choices that we do today and they generally did the best they felt they could for themselves and families just like we do today. The major difference between then and now is that we have access to an unfathomable amount of information compared to our great grand parents. Today we have the ability to communicate and make choices with more options and hopefully do better or at least do the best we can with what we have.

Like it or not we are surrounded by choices that run the gambit from ludicrous to ignorant and we need to make judgement calls based on the realities we are presented with no matter how they make us feel. Do I like a EPS as a step in the right direction as we educate the market about better solutions and smarter thinking? Of course but EPS is not an end state just one solution on the way to many better ones. Is EPS less toxic than XPS? Very much so.
Again, you sound like a sales agent for the petroleum industry or someone trying to convince yourself. This is not the "miracle product" you present it as. Can it have application in cross over designs, yes, are there alternative, also yes.

I think that is my point isn't it?

I challenge you to weigh the real equations when it comes to toxicity today vs tomorrow. I could build a sod home (that my wife won't be happy living in) that costs a mountain of wood to keep warm or a passive solar home insulated with EPS, which has the smaller overall footprint? Its like hybrid cars, yes they use less fuel but the manufacturing of the technology that goes into the car is hugely toxic, or the "super green" guy I passed the other day on the street riding his bike bringing his kids home from school in a snow storm with 4" of the white stuff already accumulated on the road and he's sliding all over the place. Does his choice to be green stop that prius from killing his kids when he wipes out in front of the oncoming car that can barely see him? If that were to happen how will it effect his family in the long run or how will it effect the family of the prius driver? So for the last time we have to compare against realities not ideals.
Look Sean if you don't want to be green don't, but some of these comments borderline on the absurd. Foam is more toxic than SB, cob and many others period, it's not open for discussion as that is foolishness. If you want to use foam, use it, I do at times in some applications and in some ways, I don't pretend that it is better or what I should be doing, it is simply a reality because I tend to also use a lot of recycled materials. I use less of it all the time, and until we get plant based foams (may be never) leading the market, I probably will use less and less of it, even if recycled. As an WEMT I have seen as many deaths with trucks as I have seen with subcompacts. If you are driving a truck and are having a hard time seeing the smaller vehicles the onus is on you to change not society which understands the need for this change.

You think my point is about cars, trucks or sod homes

Generally speaking if you want to contend with your local government building codes you need to employ an engineer who is willing to risk his stamp on your building envelope.
Risk..what Risk? PE are some of the most pragmatic lot of folk I have ever worked with, mine especially. It works, or it doesn't it's that simple and he has no issue putting his stamp on one of my timber frames, if he won't for some reason, then I have to make a modification in strength, it's that simple, the thermal envelope has no bearing on it unless someone wants to make an issue. Until the consumer public pushes back, government won't change. I find it usually does if you approach authorities with confidence and don't create issues where there are none. Cellulose insulation is accepted almost everywhere and saw dust, clay chip, clay straw is all predominantly cellulose. A lot of these issue can be address by your language and not asking questions, you don't really need answers to when exploring what some (apparently you?) think as alternative building systems.


I think you are far more interested in finding ways to argue with me personally rather then actually think through what I wrote. Its not a personal argument, its an internet forum, I have full respect for what you do and I'm sure if you stop seeing threats to yourself where there are none we could probably learn a lot from each other. A PE's value is their stamp, they accept a certain level of liability for any design they put their stamp on. So if you want to convince your local jurisdiction that a home made of whatever you want to use is something they should allow then you'll definitely benefit from an engineer who is willing to risk their career on your design choice, locally our municipal building codes are very very loose so long as your engineer is willing to stamp the plans. Maybe its not the same for your region? I'm not sure why you're arguing with this point though, its basic standard practice all across the developed world. I have a very close friend who does blown dense pack cellulose, soy spray foam etc and we are working on ways to make the cellulose option work in our locality at a higher than 3.5"-6" wall applications,newspaper, sawdust, and wood chip insulation have all failed where I live, after a couple decades they compact and leave walls basically devoid of insulation and even when new offered poor performance compared with most modern options.

Finally, I'm not sure how you think you know me well enough to make blanket accusations about my character or thought process, I'm only presenting a possible solution to be looked at. I hope I never develop the arrogance to claim that anything I present is "right" or the "best". Its all subjective and everyone needs to make the choices they can live with. My hope is that I can present people with better options then the cookie cutter volume based ones they are surrounded with.



OP, I totally understand where you're at, I think everyone has been there at one point or another. I started my journey making furniture out of pallets in my father's workshop when I ruptured my Achilles during officer training for the army, then with sheet composting in planters on my condo balcony and grew some awesome veggies , and then bought into an organic co-op that operates on public land (with permission of course)... its all baby steps. The financial cost to myself was marginal and the physical cost was some labor. Its fine that you want to learn and maybe building isn't in your grasp currently but you can definitely start small and work your way towards the goal. My overriding point here has been that its about baby steps, you can't expect to wake up one morning and find yourself fully engulfed. Its really easy to see the world around you and get frustrated by its corrupt state, the reality is the only person you can change is you and you can only reasonably expect to do it as a process. I do encourage you to do something though. Maybe grow some food or whatever holds your interest, specifics don't really matter.
 
Seth Wetmore
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Thank you for up dating use Sean. There is no one perfect option. I also agree with the idea of making the best of what you have available. Baby steps are always encouraged, easier to change direction when a problem arises. I would like to know if you have looked into alternative sources of clean energy for buildings. Curious what you find interesting or valuable. Thanks
 
Seth Wetmore
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Jay I would like to know what you see as sollutions.
People have limited resources, limited options for building codes, limited budgets.
I would like to see how you would address the building code/ architect community.
What would you like to see changed that could benefit the masses?
Thank you for you post I look forward to indepth discussions.
have a great day.
 
Seth Wetmore
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Thank you for the warning.
 
Sean Rauch
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Seth Wetmore wrote:Thank you for up dating use Sean. There is no one perfect option. I also agree with the idea of making the best of what you have available. Baby steps are always encouraged, easier to change direction when a problem arises. I would like to know if you have looked into alternative sources of clean energy for buildings. Curious what you find interesting or valuable. Thanks


I think solar is our number one option at this point. I am just beginning to play with solar air heaters as a preheating option for my climate so final answers are yet to come.

I really like solar water heating as a concept, it is being used in Alaska which is a similar climate to myself but as has been stated here it is really complex and somewhat expensive.

Masonry heaters are awesome but again pricy. rocket mass heaters look VERY promising but again still bleeding edge and use in an insured home is sketchy so I've put it aside for now.

Solar electric is good but still needs to be either way overbuilt or combined with another input like wind in order to be viable in my climate. Again price is a factor if you want reliability and longevity.

Locally we have natural gas and hydro electric as the primary options for heating and both at well below north american averages for cost so its hard to justify solar electric in the home. Both options are relatively "clean" so its all about perspective. If you live away from both grids then its a wide array of options on the alternative side.

My personal view is that we need to address the building envelope first and foremost when thinking about energy. You can add all the alternative inputs you want but if you can't manage heat with your building design then they are all wasteful. We have 100 year old homes that were primarily heated with wood/coal burning fireplaces around my city and those old homes would take a mountain of carbon input to keep comfortable and from freezing. They have all been converted to some sort of furnace in the last 60 or so years because of the input cost. You just can't compete with better building design though as even on a relatively cheap natural gas furnace those old homes are an albatross, heating costs eclipse mortgage costs in some cases.
 
Seth Wetmore
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I agree. the idea that we get almost all of our possible power from the sun and the weather cycles present because of the sun. Gives solar very high ratings on my scale. Once the infrastructure is in place, the cost vs toxicity begins to change places. Unfortunatly the industrial way we build things still amounts to a lot of toxins from the manufacturing process. No way to get around that one as of yet. With that put out there, the overall foot print of toxins for systems that run for decades or centuries with little maintenace would be minimal and ideal. If the replacement rate was extreamly rare. So far batteries are still a toxin problem, yet fully recycleable. Construction of the plastics as well as thier use is still toxic (what does not have a polymer in it/ packaging it, or part of the sales gimic).
Although we are going toward grain based biodegradable plastics.
Have you reseached mycroryzal fungi. There is a company on kickstarter that is attempting to make a insulator with fire resistance from it. Probably a ways off from going to the public. They are out of oakland or sanfransisco. Have a great day. I will try to post stuff tonight.
 
Miles Flansburg
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Seth Wetmore wrote:Energy. The ability to alter matter into energy seems to be the problem. We burn the fuels that have the highest hydrogen value, just to heat water to pass by a turbine creating D.C. current. For the moment this is the dominent form of energy production in America/ not the world.
Hydro power forces water to pass through a turbine to create D.C. power.
Wind turbines have air pass them to create D.C. power.
Neuclear heats water to pass by a turbine to create D.C. power.


We make AC power not DC.

If you want to learn more about Jay C's solutions start here.

http://www.permies.com/forums/posts/listByUser/155553
 
Julia Winter
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I would encourage you to look into solar hot water. We had a roof top solar hot water system in Wisconsin (not as cold, but pretty darn cold) and it worked beautifully. It didn't have water in it, of course. Even in wicked cold weather if the sun was out it would preheat the water going into our Takashi on-demand water heater from the 40 degrees F it came from the city up to 50 or even 80 degrees, and that saved natural gas. You need a water heater that can adjust to the temperature of the water coming in--they don't all do this.

We didn't find the solar hot water to be unreasonably expensive. We couldn't justify solar electric but the solar hot water paid for itself pretty quickly. Obviously you need to have a plan for getting rid of excess heat in the summer time (we would actually run heat out to the panels at night in the summer to discharge excess heat).

Have you seen that Portland Oregon has written up code for cob rocket mass heaters? I'm not sure why they would be considered any less safe than any other wood burning device, if built to some established standard, like following one of E&E's proven designs, or the standards in the Portland code. The stupid pellet stove in my new house seems a much bigger risk, in that it depends upon electricity to vent the smoke.
sta
 
Seth Wetmore
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Miles Flansburg wrote:
Seth Wetmore wrote:Energy. The ability to alter matter into energy seems to be the problem. We burn the fuels that have the highest hydrogen value, just to heat water to pass by a turbine creating D.C. current. For the moment this is the dominent form of energy production in America/ not the world.
Hydro power forces water to pass through a turbine to create D.C. power.
Wind turbines have air pass them to create D.C. power.
Neuclear heats water to pass by a turbine to create D.C. power.


We make AC power not DC.

All power as far as I can tell comes from DC power plants, which has to convert the power through an inverter. Upstepping the power and converting it to A.C. for transmission. It starts as D.C. power. Unless I missed something. yes A.C. is the dominent power used due to distance from source. Thank Tesla. Have a great day.
 
Miles Flansburg
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Seth, I work in a power plant.
 
Sean Rauch
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RMH needs to have a manufactured kit that includes a certified installation process before it will have wide acceptance. This is how masonry heaters currently meet code in most places. Basically someone needs to setup to hold the liability issues.
 
Seth Wetmore
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Miles did I miss something? The generator that the power plant you are using starts by making D.C. power then converts it to A.C. power for transmission. Could you send me general (nonspecific) specs on the type of generator you are useing. I would be interested to know that there is a generator that goes straight to A.C. power. I could be way behind the times on physics, and new tech for power plants. I would greatly appriciate new knowledge. Thanks Seth
 
Seth Wetmore
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If Oregon has new laws to allow the testing of RMH, I am sure California would love this. Especially since the passing of law AB32 Cap and trade.
 
Sean Rauch
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I could be wrong but I don't think RMH is outlined in the Oregon code in the same way that say framing a house is. My understanding is that they will allow a RMH that is installed according to a stamped drawing and under inspection verification of that engineer. Basically they won't take responsibility for inspecting it themselves. So the process can be replicated but not easily or cheaply. I could be wrong here so correct me if I am.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi folks, just doing a quick scan, and can see I have much responding to do!!!

Seth, I just called one of my Timber Framing students to make sure that Miles and I hadn't messed up, but I was just told (he is an Electrical Engineer for the FAA and former power plant tech) that for the last century all major power plants only produce high voltage, 3 phase AC current. and we are now just getting into HVDC (high voltage direct current) for long distance and submarine long distance transmission.

Regards,

j
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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This post thread has confirmed for me that I (from now on) need to:

1. Start using emoticons.

2. Validate when (as my students say) I go into that blunt format of "old world Daiku 大工."

I now am writing almost 20 plus full pages of text a day, and that isn't even my private research, and business, so when it get to 1, 2, and 3, o'clock in the morning, often all I have time for is blunt. I apology to any and all, if I have offended, that was not my intention. I also thank Burra Maluca for not deleting some of the valuable sections of this post, even though my words may have sounded harsher than I meant them. I did notice that a recent one did get remove, rightfully so, as Permies is not about competition of any form as the pejorative wording of the last post indicated, but I do become blunt when I feel information is being presented as fact, when it is not or merely subjective. If I am in error about such information, please do correct me, and I will (and have) acknowledged same, as this is a place of learning. I would also like to validate that not once (and I make a real effort at this) did I use the words "right way," as that is not me, nor my belief system on just about any topic. I speak of homeostasis of design, and approach, alternatives, normative cultural choices, and subjective truths as I see them. I have never liked "right and wrong," as a concept, but more about "balance and imbalance" on all subject matters from theology-philosophy to math and science.

So on that note, back we go to the topic at hand...
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hey Sean, sorry if my last post was too blunt. ops:

Sean no one here, least not me, is speaking of a "right way," that is your choice of wording, I did not and typically do not use such language. You are correct, that I do not know what you market to your clients, at least not in detail, but I can draw some relatively accurate rough outline from your choice of words, and scope of views you share. Subjective perhaps, or just the views of someone that has been around "natural building" for 35 plus years, but I do not believe that this “natural - traditional style,” of building can or does only affect a, "incredibly small group of people," as you suggest. Again that is narrow thinking as there is an entire world out there that is building and the majority of it is in 3rd world nations and location (like some of my reservations) and "natural building" is done as a "cultural focus" and also simple necessity. I also do not believe that the "current logistical and governmental roadblocks," are as rampant and insurmountable as many suggest. A challenge, to be sure, but often workable if approached with an open mind, positive ability of patients, education and compromise. You are correct about much of this being subjective, but only to a point, then it becomes a matter of which side you are going to put your focus, energy and talent, marketing mainstream building modalities that has some small perceptively "green" element within it, or are you going to design, and build as naturally as you can, while compromising where you must.

Now your next point, was rather misdirected? "Method," was structured in the sentence as a "generic," with no one speaking of "best method" other than you. Earth based construction methods are vast and ancient. Whether someone is doing restoration, of vintage architectural fabric or some modern reinterpretation of earth based architecture in its many forms, (i.e. Clay, Cob, Adobe, Bousillage, Bajareque etc.) or an amalgamation of these styles like "clay chip," "clay straw", cob slip forming techniques, SB etc., it does not matter, nor is there a "best" only site applicable , and appropriate. I was simply suggesting you have a choice in what you market and put out there (assuming you have the skill sets) Your statement, "Are there enough to keep builders or the like going? No." is a choice not a reality, as many (more each year) are only marketing natural and traditional building methods. I have for 35 years, as now do my students. If you make a choice to do otherwise, fine but please don't make it sound like you don't have a choice. even if in the beginning you have to start slowing to build your skill sets.

Your next point lost me again? How am I making something "about me," if I am speaking of building modalities that are 5000 plus years old? As for understanding markets, I just was hired by two Japanese Architects to work on documenting, dismantling and repurposing 100 to 500 year old Minka Farm houses 民家 from Japan to new possible venues. It is my job to stay aware of multiple market bases not only in North America, but globally. So yes I can have some insight into your market in Manitoba. I know of several traditional Timberwrights in Manitoba Sean.

Your point about age of architecture in your region is also a bit wanting in accuracy, and as an example of age alone the Prince of Wales Fort was built in the mid seventeen hundreds, so I don't need to ramble on about the styles you have there that are "old and traditional" both indigenous and Anglo European. Many which present with very rich architectural histories for your region older that 150 years. I have even helped remove a few, as we took a barn from up your way last year to Texas, (now a SB, with mass wall elements) that was built in 1820s so I believe that would make it 193 years old. Again it is about choices and expanding your purview. Manitoba is a big provence, with a rich history, so even if you don't have hundreds of examples in your immediate area, and there are artisans that have embraced those systems.

I am trying to dialogue with "you," about "your area" and what "you could be doing better," if you choose to. So don't present this discussion as me projecting my own realities up where you are, it simply is not the case, and I think most of the readers at this point would agree with me. You have all the right to disagree, but don't belabor this further, you can chose to change your ideology or not, that is totally up to you. You can change your goals and separate from the majority if you chose. and market an entirely different style of building that combines modern motifs, and ancient methodologies, such as timber framing, as just one example, which I know very well and is vernacular to your region. Sean, it is not me, after 35 successful years on and off in this field that needs to "temper" themselves. Not to sound too discourteous but, "been there, done that." I don't want to influence people. Never really tried, or cared much of what most people contemporary folks think. I have always done what I was taught, for the most part, then I just try to role model the same. I have always just been my own person, following the path that is under my feet. If someone wants to walk along side, great. By doing that I have helped many refashion their views of what architecture was, is, and can be. What started all of this was your insistence in using EPS foam and thinking that is a vast improvement over traditional systems or augmented versions. I am saying it is but one, and it has some "remarkable" challenges in it's own right. Ignoring them does not make them go away.


Green, Natural, and/or Traditional building is what it is, I am not trying to give it any kind of "new definition," nor was I trying to “nail you to any door,” but I was suggesting that there is very little about any foam that is"green" especially EPS and XPS varieties. Equating earth, stone and dirt (which is still the number one building methods used worldwide today) with the elements of the “Darkages” again is risible. To suggest that,

"...in the past the only people who really had a building that would last multi generations were either specifically skilled in building them or had way more resources then the average person..."

is just obtuse. I'm not sure if you have traveled around this globe very much, or lived in/with other cultures, but that is about the farthest from the truth as possible. I have walked in "peasant villages" across this earth where the newest home is 150 years old and the oldest over 500. You can find them everywhere. From the timber frames of the Zafimaniry in Madagascar, to the Minka of Hokkaido, and all across Europe. Yes many of these homes did present with less insulative materials than we are comfortable with today. Much of that was a normative cultural choice, as modern humans have become remarkably “soft,” so your premise that we are pretty much the same is simply not true. I have seen it throughout my career in wilderness guiding, with many of the clients that I facilitated, and guided for. They would simply die if left to their own devises, and/or of exposure if they immediately stepped into this “wild world” many have lived in their entire lives, that is just a reality of many indigenous cultures even today. Many (most?) Westerns have softened to the point of compromise both in spirit and in body. Because of my other skill sets and career path, I just so happen to live outside a lot, which includes sleeping outside 350 plus days a year, all my life, from -40 to 107, it doesn't really matter, nor did it to our ancestors. That "culture shift" from what we were, to what we have become, does not change the reality that almost every building style I have studied could easily be, updated and adapted to current living standards, we make a living doing just that. I can not stand when anyone "romanticizes" means, method or material so I can assure you I am not doing that in the least to the vernacular styles of the past.

I am not trying to argue with you, or anyone, but if I take the time to enter into any dialogue, individually, or in a group, I will not simply nod my head when someone leads that conversation into areas of either subjective or actual fallacy. It is my nature to confront it, and on a forum like Permise where I have been asked by my peers to share information, I find it a personal mandate that speaks to my general ethos as a human. I did think through what you wrote and I simply, and now thoroughly, have challenged your logic on several facets of what you have shared.

On your rebuttal about PE, I can assure you my PE, and the many I have worked with have not, nor would they risk their careers by stamping something they did not find of merit. I was simply suggesting that if you are having issues with local authorities not accepting something within a design matrix they perceive as "outside the box," a Professional Engineers involvement may be warranted. I also challenged your notion that the alternatives to "modern methods, "have all failed." You have demonstrated your lack of faith in them, throughout this conversation, that is fine, but I can assure you, they have not "all failed." Only the poorly done, and/or the very old, which compared to where most of these modern domestic buildings will be in even one generation is much better performance. I would close by stating that the only thing I have presented with is confidence in my experiences and observations; knowledge of a larger view and scope of sharing with many cultures, and a higher tolerance than you are reflecting to change and others views. You have used the words “right,” and “best,” way more than I have or ever will, which suggest a “black and white,” thinking pattern. Sometimes that is fine, but most of it is “gray.” So the only thing I am suggesting is stop making statements of fact that aren't and if you want to honestly embrace other building modalities, there are many of us that love to share them.


Regards,

j
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Seth,

At this time, if you read some of my other post thread entries you may develop additional germain questions to this post. I would love to share my views on them or answer any question you may have. If I have missed something or a question, please let me know.

Regards,

j
 
Burra Maluca
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Seth Wetmore wrote:Miles did I miss something? The generator that the power plant you are using starts by making D.C. power then converts it to A.C. power for transmission. Could you send me general (nonspecific) specs on the type of generator you are useing. I would be interested to know that there is a generator that goes straight to A.C. power. I could be way behind the times on physics, and new tech for power plants. I would greatly appriciate new knowledge. Thanks Seth


This might help



As an aside, I know nothing about electrics. My father was an electrician and, as such, refused to teach me anything or let me experiment as 'I would never need to know because there would always be somebody to do it for me'. And girls at my school were not allowed to do technical subjects. I still have an enormous mental block about all things electrical.

 
Seth Wetmore
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Seth Wetmore wrote:Miles did I miss something? The generator that the power plant you are using starts by making D.C. power then converts it to A.C. power for transmission. Could you send me general (nonspecific) specs on the type of generator you are useing. I would be interested to know that there is a generator that goes straight to A.C. power. I could be way behind the times on physics, and new tech for power plants. I would greatly appriciate new knowledge. Thanks Seth

This is innacurate.
Miles is correct. Power Can start of in A.C. current. Induction fields.
How I forgot this is interesting since I have been making this error for years.
In small power generation units D.C. may be preffered to Run to batteries. Yet for the grid Induction Field generators look like the way we go. So As with that crow is yummy.
 
Seth Wetmore
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Many time we learn more from our mistakes than if we made no mistakes at all. I love learning things. This is one subject I apparently have to relearn. HAR!
 
Seth Wetmore
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Thanks for the video Burra. I found the information in the book the physical world published by McGraw Hill.
 
Seth Wetmore
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Ok back on subject.

Power conversion from fuels to energy.
Requires combustion of most of the fuels.
This burning of fuels it considered Toxic.
SO.
Do you have any ideas to create huge amounts of power, at relativly low costs that is less toxic than our current fuel sources.
It has to be reliable. It has to be implemented inexpensivly.
Bill Mollison suggested the Trompe.

Are there other ways to create power with out burning Things that are toxic for the environment?
 
Sean Rauch
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Seth Wetmore wrote:Ok back on subject.

Power conversion from fuels to energy.
Requires combustion of most of the fuels.
This burning of fuels it considered Toxic.
SO.
Do you have any ideas to create huge amounts of power, at relativly low costs that is less toxic than our current fuel sources.
It has to be reliable. It has to be implemented inexpensivly.
Bill Mollison suggested the Trompe.

Are there other ways to create power with out burning Things that are toxic for the environment?


Define huge.

What kind of power do you want to generate?

You have to remember that our western system relies heavily on liability so its not just the fact that you can make something its important that you can manage the liabilities that come with it. Most corporations employ lawyers and insurance providers to mitigate this. So the minute you try and enter into any venture of scale you need to start finding ways to cover your ass, even if you don't think its justified... This is why the personal experience metric doesn't compare with imperial laboratory data, even if you don't think its right its reality.
 
Seth Wetmore
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The amount of power being generated by any new system would have to be comparable to recent power plants. These power plants put out huge amounts of power. To define the idea. Controling the conversion of power is the goal. Not to produce a burst of sudden power that fades quickly. So to create huge amounts of power, is due to consumption. Consumption is due to population. So the population is dictating how much power needs to be supplied by the system.The population is huge, so the power required to be produced is huge. America alone has roughly 300,000,000 people. The inherent problem associated is energy consumption. As well as toxic out puts from the population. So if we are going to continue to utilize electricity as our primary power source, ( and I see no other way at this time.) Then we need systems of generating or translating energy into electricity. These systems: Can they be made with less impact on the environment and create comparable power. As the population grows exponentialy the power source would have to adapt to grow with the population.
Have agreat day.
 
Sean Rauch
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I think the solutions are already coming into play. Wind generation and large scale solar plants are already coming online. We just have to remember that things on this scale take a long time to flesh out. On the converse we have been making strides even on the mass consumer level to more efficient systems an products.

Places like this are on the bleeding edge if the movement so it's easy to look at the world and see that nothing is happening. Of course you also have the option to setup your own electricity and generate what you need.

I know it's not really in vogue to mention things like this here but my new diesel truck is leaps and bounds ahead of my last one. I can stand beside it and breathe while it idles in winter, it has great performance and really good milage. So yes progress is being made and I of course try and make progress myself too.

It's all milestones on the journey for me.
 
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