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allerton abbey wofati 0.7: the second winter  RSS feed

 
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Thanks! Yep, covered outdoor space is very nice.

7am 35/50
12am 35/50 (by a strange coincidence)

We just got through with a super duper long day, ended by skinning a two-day-old calf of tim&kristie's as our soul labor. And it ain't even saturday (well i guess it is now)
 
master steward
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Mike, can you give us some temperature reports that include a high temperature? Like maybe at noon, or maybe after cooking a meal?
 
mike jastram
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Yes. Our high yesterday at 1:30pm was 53 deg. Not sure what outside was.
 
mike jastram
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Paul, do you think there's a high/low thermometer at base camp that I can use?
 
paul wheaton
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mike jastram wrote:Paul, do you think there's a high/low thermometer at base camp that I can use?



I thought I bought about five last year - but I just see the one at my desk. I'll trade you the one at my desk for a regular thermometer.

 
mike jastram
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First hint of "the stuff" was up on the hills this morning. Only a little bit on the ground at the labs
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pollinator
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Susan Doyon wrote:will you be adding a rocket heater ? temps indoors seem a bit low for comfort .



Ya, that does seem a bit cool, but it is surprising what one can get used to. Normally 10C is chilly, but I have been wearing shorts and short sleeved shirt outside for 3 hours at a time. Looking at older dress styles could help. It is not that long that humans have been expecting to live in 21/71 degree inside temps. The curtained bed, the night clothes and night cap are not new. I expect the temperature will eventually get up to 59-60ish without extra heat. I think the expectation is higher than that. It will be interesting to watch.

It would be interesting to see what a 5 foot compost thermometer reads in the middle of the mass to see how much effect the mass temperature is having on the inside temperature. Keeping things sealed might be hard though (maybe through the floor?). Infrared reader on the surface of the inside walls might give some ideas though. This would tell if the mass is trying to heat up the inside at all or is still sinking heat away.

Cool stuff.
 
mike jastram
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Len, I completely agree - we need more readings. I'll get around to posting requests for the appropriate thermometers at some point i'm sure.

11/3

7am 34/49
1pm 47/52
7pm 42/51
 
mike jastram
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11/4

7am 39/50
10pm 42/51
 
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The curtained bed, the night clothes and night cap are not new.



...and a feather mattress or at least a down comforter nothing more chilling than to have to waste body heat warming up a cold mattress. This whole discussion is taking me back to our off grid cabin in the early seventies through the mid eighties....chinking vertical logs with clay and deer hair slipped from hides and in the middle of the winter chinking the inside walls with freezing hands....My favorite things for making winter bearable were a nice big down comforter and a pair of muckalucks sitting by the bed. We had a dirt floor so no stocking feet.....several pairs of gloves so there was always a dry pair and insulated boots. Staying warm by working was easy in the daytime....
I envy you your 'experiment' , you have a world of support out here and we will all enjoy the journey..........
 
pollinator
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Our 4 winters in an uninsulated cabin with no power come rushing back! Our climate is not as extreme...we don't have snow every year, but it was often hard to get the temperature above 10 deg C, (don't know how that converts to Fahrenheit). Bed was the warmest place to be in the evenings. We had two hotwater bottles each, one for feet and one for body and i must say I never missed the electric blanket. Now we have a passive solar house I still don't miss the electric blanket...but minus the hotwater bottles.
All the best guys.
 
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Sue Rine wrote:We had two hotwater bottles each, one for feet and one for body

I was about to mention the awesome hottie
and was thinking it feels like a bit of a NZ thing. I don't know if another NZer posting about hotties confirms that
I've used hotties all my life-electric blankets don't do it for me.
Gotta have a knitted hottie cover in case the water's a bit hot...
 
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Tee hee, in America, "hotties" are attractive women. Also effective for keeping warm in bed, but not nearly so convenient.
 
Leila Rich
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Mike Cantrell wrote:Tee hee, in America, "hotties" are attractive women. Also effective for keeping warm in bed, but not nearly so convenient.


I hadn't even considered the fun language thing
The possibilities for really dodgy jokes are endless and I better not go there.
To avoid confusion, I will only refer to them as hot water bottles!

I'm dragging this further offtopic, but since I'm on about hot water bottles already....
They are also great for soothing sore muscles/bad backs, clutched to your tummy for period pain, acting as a 'warm body' for young animals and so on.
 
Len Ovens
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Sue Rine wrote:we don't have snow every year, but it was often hard to get the temperature above 10 deg C, (don't know how that converts to Fahrenheit).



Much like here. 10C/50F (deg F = deg C x 9/5 +32) is a nice temp. for working in if a bit cool for lounging. The main thing to remember is ankles, wrists and head. Wool socks, old sock ankles for the wrists ( Wrist warmers ) and a hat (for me I need my ears covered). It is good to use fleece pants and a house coat. By house coat I do not mean a bath robe, but a coat for inside. This means not a nylon thing but something comfortable. I use an insulated shirt for this.

I say wool for socks because they smell nicer, I think any organic material attracts bacteria which will make some sort of smell as they eat the material. Plastic (nylon or whatever) socks are made from organic beginnings and the bacteria they attract really does not smell very nice and it seems to make my feet crack but wool socks don't.

I use those cheap clogs as indoor shoes, but have found they also give foot problems because of the biology they attract. I put felt insoles in them and they are fine... plus they don't smell bad and they keep my feet warmer too. Proper felt is made from wool.

Normally, a Waftai should be warmer than 10C, but it may take a year or two to get there. (maybe a bit longer as the mass started colder than normal) It should end up at least 10F warmer even with no fire. Once the inside temperature gets above 15C/60F I would consider that "comfortable" overall, but I think I would like to have a "hot spot" for sitting around. 15C is great for sleeping or working though. Having a wood fired cooking stove/oven would probably make a good hot spot. A well designed wood fired cook stove should be able to feed a mass bench too. In a small building like this wofati, it is hard to add a wood fired cook stove without heating the whole building anyway. It will be hard to analyze how much heat is being added by the stove as opposed to the mass.
 
mike jastram
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11/6

42/51 7am
47/53 10pm

Gonna throw in a shout out to tim and kristie, their hospitality and general friendliness has helped us immensely in adjusting to life on the hill. Thanks so much you guys.
 
mike jastram
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11/7

630am 42/52
10pm 30/50
 
mike jastram
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Soul day saturday was processing 300lbs of sausage. But thank goodness it's not done yet so we have something to do tomorrow.

11/8
630am 25/47
10pm 31/47
 
paul wheaton
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I am curious how much of this is from finishing the umbrella in the fall when it was pretty cold.

How would you guys feel if we brought you down to the house for a day or two and then we ran a propane heater in there? I don't like the idea of people and the heater being in there at the same time. But supposing we run a heater for a couple of days and heated it up in there to, say, 110F. My guess is that it would be really hard to get it that warm in there - the more you heat it, the more the mass under the umbrella will absorb.

If nothing else, if we did this for a while, we could then see the numbers come back. Will it be much warmer for a week? A month? The rest of the winter?

 
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So if I recorded the data right, here is what I see:

OM=Outside Morning temp; IM= Inside Morning Temp
OE=Outside Evening temp; IE= Inside Evening Temp

Date- OM- IM- Delta IMOM------------------ OE - IE - Delta OEIE----------------Delta OMOE - Delta IMIE
14-Oct 33- 52- 19--------------------------- 56- 57- 1--------------------------- 23- 5
15-Oct 40- 54- 14--------------------------- 44- 55- 11--------------------------- 4- 1
16-Oct 38- 54- 16--------------------------- 52- 57- 5--------------------------- 14- 3
17-Oct 28- 50- 22--------------------------- 40- 57- 17--------------------------- 12- 7
18-Oct 35- 51- 16---------------------------
19-Oct 34- 52- 18--------------------------- 50- 57- 7--------------------------- 16- 5
20-Oct 35- 55- 20--------------------------- 50- 57- 7------------------------------ 15- 2
21-Oct 46- 55- 9 --------------------------- 44- 55- 11--------------------------- 2- 0
22-Oct 33- 52- 19--------------------------- 44- 54- 10--------------------------- 11- 2
27-Oct 34- 49- 15--------------------------- 26- 48- 22--------------------------- 8- 1
29-Oct 36- 49- 13--------------------------- 35- 50- 15--------------------------- 1- 1
31-Oct 35- 50- 15--------------------------- 35- 50- 15--------------------------- 0- 0
3-Nov 34- 49- 15--------------------------- 42- 51- 9 --------------------------- 8- 2
4-Nov 39- 50- 11--------------------------- 42- 51- 9 --------------------------- 3- 1
7-Nov 42- 52- 10--------------------------- 30- 50- 20--------------------------- 12- 2
8-Nov 25- 47- 22--------------------------- 31- 47- 16--------------------------- 6- 0

Average 35 51 16 --------------------------- 41- 53 - 12 --------------------------- 9 - 2
Std Dev 5 2 4 --------------------------- 9 - 4 - 6 --------------------------- 7 - 2

So, without checking to make sure it is statistically significant, I see that the delta outside is 9 degrees from Morning to Evening, with a variation of 7, while the delta inside the Wofati is 2 degrees with a variation of 2. So the mean and standard deviation are both better inside the wofati than outside.

We also see that in the morning, the wofati averages 16 degress higher than outside with a variation of 4, and in the evening the wofati averages 12 degrees higher, with a variation of 6. So the benefits of the wofati during the night are better than during the day.

I did this quickly just to see...I know we need more data, but this should help us prove what happens over time.

Adding in dates of additional "blanket" will help too.

Edited to try to make the table look better, but still stinks on format
 
mike jastram
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Appreciate the input, sorry it's too cold out here to read the whole thing, will later!

11/10

630am 27/46
1pm 32/49
9pm 24/46

Eatin well up here right now thanks to tim and kristie - their excellent fatty sausage and raw milk, our sourdough bread and kristie's huckleberry cobbler. This is livin!
 
mike jastram
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Paul, just tell us when. This is your experiment.
 
paul wheaton
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The inside temp is getting too cold. We need to do something to set the mass temp higher.

Tim says that running a propane heater in there will cost $60 for eight hours. Not only does that seem too expensive to me, but you cannot have people in there at the same time. It will also add a lot of moisture to the space, and the need for oxygen is a bit spooky. I also think it will take a huge amount of heat to get the mass charged up enough that it will show up in the results.

Maybe we need to shift the test for the first year: put together a shippable core and run a rocket heater (no mass). I suspect that the space will be really hard to heat as the mass absorbs a lot of heat. And then if you get the mass up to a comfortable temperature, you might be able to go several days without running the heater. The upside of this is that you can heat the space and have people in there at the same time. Plus no moisture buildup.

It won't be as awesome as if we started off with summer heat, but it would still be an excellent test.
 
pollinator
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paul wheaton wrote:
...
Maybe we need to shift the test for the first year: put together a shippable core and run a rocket heater (no mass). I suspect that the space will be really hard to heat as the mass absorbs a lot of heat. And then if you get the mass up to a comfortable temperature, you might be able to go several days without running the heater. The upside of this is that you can heat the space and have people in there at the same time. Plus no moisture buildup.

...




Maybe a pocket rocket up on some blocks to help charge up a spots on the floor?

Maybe put in a hydronic heating loop? Rather than putting in the floor maybe on the bottom of an insulated platform, then move the platform around... Maybe just run the loop in places where people probably wouldn't be stepping and cover it in sand for now. Try to get the heat going into the mass rather than directly into the people.

humm...




 
paul wheaton
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I've banned pocket rockets. They burn out their metal innards - which is contrary to my values.
 
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What an awesome project! Thanks for showing us and inspiring us!
John S
PDX OR
 
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How about throwing a massive party with a lot of dancing and jumping around - that should get plenty of heat going.
 
mike jastram
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Won't a no mass heater blow a lot of heat out the flue?

11/11
630am 16/42
9pm 7/40

Good news ladies and gentlemen. We've totally solved our refrigeration problem. Meat locker space available for rent. Low rates.

Also this is violet milking. It's colder than it looks.
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mike jastram
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11/12

7am 2/37
9pm 4/36
 
Sue Rine
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Oooh, Cold!
 
steward
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OK, now you are camping.

Maybe you could borrow some dogs?
 
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What's the ventilation inside consist of? Are you doing any ground-air heat exchangers or exput/input heat exchanging?

 
mike jastram
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Nope, just annualized thermal inertia using passive ambient conductive gain.

11/13
7am 1/33
6pm 12/36

This is likely our last temperature reading for a bit. Jesse's moving down the hill and we're moving onto tim and kristie's magic sofa which runs about 110 degrees. We are, as always, much obliged to them for their generosity.

Base camp is in progress of inventing some sort of heat source for us. We might be moving back in sometime later.
 
Len Ovens
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mike jastram wrote:Nope, just annualized thermal inertia using passive ambient conductive gain.

11/13
7am 1/33
6pm 12/36

This is likely our last temperature reading for a bit. Jesse's moving down the hill and we're moving onto tim and kristie's magic sofa which runs about 110 degrees. We are, as always, much obliged to them for their generosity.

Base camp is in progress of inventing some sort of heat source for us. We might be moving back in sometime later.



Wow, that’s a bit cold for living in.... but, I will point out that the delta has increased as the outside temperature has decreased. That is a good sign.

Another thing to look at, is that there is at least some insulation between the living space and the mass in the way of wood logs. This can be good or bad depending on the way people live inside. If people want to be able to have warmer area than the mass, some insulation could help.
 
paul wheaton
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I had some math rolling through my head this morning.


Let's suppose that the mass temp is currently 45. And if the temp outside drops to zero, then the temp inside drops to 32.

So now let us suppose that it is three years from now and the mass temp is 75. The temp outside drops to 30, then the temp inside drops to 62. That is too cold.


If we say the mass temp is currently 55, outside drops to zero and the inside drops to 32 ... then we go into the future with a mass temp of 75 and the outside temp drops to 20, then the inside temp drops to 52. Too cold again.


So, I have two conclusions:

1) If we make no further changes to the wofati, we will need supplemental heat.

2) I'm already thinking of design improvements to get us closer to the goal of needing no heat. It is possible that we can make the improvements and even though there is supplemental heat in there that we don't need it.


 
Julia Winter
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I know the wofati is earth sheltered and not underground, but I can't see how being above the surface allows the mass to get above around 65 degrees, other than in August and maybe September. Yes, I get that a huge mass will cool slowly, but it heats up slowly as well, and you don't have consistently super high temps where you are, AFAIK.

Now, in the Mississippi River basin near St. Louis, where I grew up, the night time lows in the summer could be as high as 80, because we were sometimes stuck under a massive blanket of hot humid air. Growing up there, at some point in the spring you could just pack away all your sweaters and jackets, because you weren't going to need them until autumn. I haven't experienced that anywhere in the Western U.S., even Los Angeles cools down every night.

There are ways to super insulate a living space such that the heat generated by the bodies within and the activities of daily living end up heating the space adequately, but then you've often got a technology dependent Passiv Haus that needs things like heat exchangers for fresh air.
 
Len Ovens
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paul wheaton wrote:I had some math rolling through my head this morning.
...
So, I have two conclusions:

1) If we make no further changes to the wofati, we will need supplemental heat.

2) I'm already thinking of design improvements to get us closer to the goal of needing no heat. It is possible that we can make the improvements and even though there is supplemental heat in there that we don't need it.



Yes.

First, you have said that 62 is too cold. (not arguing the point) What is your design target temperature and at what outside temperature? I can understand not wanting to wear a coat inside, but I think probably long pants and long sleeve shirt would be ok (for me anyway). Perhaps the goal is to be able to "set" the temperature to match the inhabitants... that is to be able to change parts of the design to have different target temperatures (this would be helpful for climatic changes anyway).

I think what you have really said is that the delta from inside to outside is too small and the delta from mass to inside is too big. Is that correct? This would suggest that the inside should be more closely connected to the mass (there are problems with this) and the non-mass walls should be supper insulated (meaning much thicker if one wants to avoid really high tech insulation)

The second thing is that right now there seems to be only good guess as to mass temperature, not measured values. The theory seems to be that heat travels about 9in/month (depends on the mass material of course) so knowing the mass temperature for the first three feet would be helpful, but only the closest 6 inches or so really matter for "right now".

Mass behind logs will have a different effect than mass without. So a dirt floor will have a more immediate effect than the earth cover (I think, wood has mass and stores heat as well, but I think it has more insulating properties than dry soil. Again, measuring would be useful).

I personally think indoor micro-climates would be a good idea. I think it is healthy to make the body deal with different temperatures... though for someone who is outside most of the day, the home should be a haven, cool in summer and warm in winter. I still think most people sleep better with the air a bit cooler/fresher than would be comfortable for awake time. This just means sleeping areas could be used as extra insulation for awake areas.

I think in some areas it would be helpful to make use of solar gain during the summer to overheat part of the mass such that the heat arrives at the living space at the coldest time of year. I am thinking sort of a green house kind of deal that is within the mass umbrella but at least 6 feet away from any living area (maybe more). This could be pretty much passive... in the winter it would start cooling the mass somewhat for the next summer. I don't know if it could be sized right so it just worked or if it would need to be closed for part of the year (making it no longer "passive", but still not really inconvenient). I think with this wofati, it would make more sense to do this by extending the umbrella than cutting into what is already there.

I think there is quite a lot of room for experimenting, but I think a more scientific method (recording more temperature points for example) would be helpful.

Thank you all for being willing to actually build these and try them out.
 
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Supplimentry heat . Need this be from a fire/stove ?
Why not from animals ? Either have a two story building with cows goats sheep horses living on the ground floor and warming the ground second floor bit like a Bastle . Also some one mentioned Dogs Didn't the native americans have a breed of dog for such ? ( I could be wrong about this )

David
 
paul wheaton
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Julia,

We had a lot of summer days with highs in the 90's this summer. It would have been wonderful to have a space that was 75 to keep cool in. At the same time, it would be nice if that same space might hold up to 72 when it is 26 below outside.

Your concern is that if we add zero energy, then what we would end up with must be the average of all temps through the year.

But if you add human beings to the mix, a few fun things happen:

A) if opening the windows can make the space more comfortable, human beings will do that.

B) human beings put out 25 watts of heat throughout the day.

C) human beings tend to cook their food which adds heat.

D) human beings will use electricity for a variety of contraptions, and those contraptions put out a small amount of heat.

So, in time (maybe years), the surrounding mass should end up at around 72 or so.


Len,

I think the mission should be "luxuriant comfort". Getting the temp above 40 when it is 40 below outside (like Dick Proenekke) is good when you are tough, but I want to shoot for luxuriant comfort. I want to optimize this to the point of

This would suggest that the inside should be more closely connected to the mass (there are problems with this) and the non-mass walls should be supper insulated



That is where I'm going with this right now.


The second thing is that right now there seems to be only good guess as to mass temperature, not measured values.



True. Having the exact information would be convenient. And perhaps somebody would arrange that at some point. For now, I'm just glad that the umbrella is on.


I think in some areas it would be helpful to make use of solar gain during the summer to overheat part of the mass such that the heat arrives at the living space at the coldest time of year.



It is possible that we might want to implement a design variation if we want a to warm some of the outer mass up to, say, 80 in the summer .... or maybe even see if we can get it up to 90. With the idea that we might harvest some of that in the winter.


 
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