been entertaining myself designing tiny houses and greenhouses on sketchup.
well, i am just getting started, so i know these arent all totally together yet, but figured i would share the best one i have managed to make so far .
an epic greenhouse, with a cabin attached...or rather embedded. i suppose most people would want a little greenhouse attached to their house, i would rather a little cabin attached to my greenhouse =). anywho, perhaps you will all enjoy checking it out...
something important to mention is that the bottom half would be underground, and earth bermed on the north and a little to the west and east sides.....which isnt exactly obvious..
and of course its a work in progress, so i havent really fleshed out the very bottom, masonry stove, the loft, or any of the fine details. the masonry stove /rocket mass heater/ something along these lines goes in the deepest part, and along that inside wall (which supports the edge of the second floor "cabin" part)....the area beside the steps.
the material i would want to put on the bottom would be lots of stone, maybe something like styrocrete, urbanite, and tons and tons of rocks.....soilcrete, earth/clay...and maybe light clay straw for the above ground walls that arent glass or polycarbonate.
also the glass/clear side faces mostly south, but also somewhat east...or rather i should say would face those ways...if it were not just a virtual house =)
its actually gotten smaller, slightly. and a bit more colorful, which seemed to help me to see it a bit better.
probably done for now....not going to fuss with all the particulars...just wanted to play with the dimensions, see this idea i have been having for a long time, fleshed out. well over years, i have drawn at least a dozen versions of something similar, although smaller ...and different...but this is my favorite version so far...
been working on this some.
still just dealing with very approx measurements, trying to see what the footing would look like, this is an enormous amount of stone/soil crete/etc! but not sure all of this would be stone, as represented here...the stone parts represent what would be underground, mostly, and may be made of something else?
been reading a lot, and thinking about building this winter, especially whats relevant to underground building, thermal breaks, insulation, moisture issues etc.....and also trying to more fully grok the rocket mass heater designs....
trying to work out some ideas anyway about what would compose the underground parts.
maybe someday soonish i will build something like this, i am wanting to eventually...build this. i think when that may happen, it would once again become smaller...
but for now it got bigger again. once i started playing with it more on sketchup, it kept seeming like it needed to be much bigger than my original drawings and ideas....
Went through the drawings, I like the last versione because it really shares the sense of space and different areas. Very interesting indeed. I will be drawing my housewith some architects and the idea is to have the south facing side of the house with a green house attached to it, so to have heat gain in the winter, my biggest thought now is how to cool the greenhouse in summer.
What are your ideas on that side?
I'm not so convinced only of gaining it by using trees, because it depends really how long the greenhouse, really haven't got into the drawing, just ideas.
lorenzo - i do have some ideas, but its hard to know how everything would work until it was actually made. but it is definitely one of the biggest concerns.
obviously there are vents that open up at the top, that i have not drawn yet. also windows, this is not enough probably. most of the first drawings i did had a large wall between the greenhouse portion and the earthen cabin/house part, that could be shut to keep the earth part more livable and not stifling, as well as gain some of the solar warmth by opening that...but this whole last series of drawings and ideas i have been having have half of it open, open ish, actually, there would be part of that blocked off somehow, i think part of that will have a thin wall...for more flow of warmth and/or cold.
another simple thought i have is about the how huge the ceilings are, and how huge the mass is in this version i have been tinkering with. i believe that this would also help. the very top would be where the hottest most stifling part is, but there is nothing up there, and its quite a large area in these drawings, where nothing is going on.
i think the huge thermal mass around this thing would be soaking up a lot of the warmth, and this would also help a lot, because that is a lot of mass to warm.so much that it would take a very long time to even begin to warm that much mass. i would have to create a rather large thermal break between the RMH and the ground below it, but still want to allow the warmth of the stove to go, ideally where i want it to go in my created mass, rather than the mass underneath (below the ground). i would probably also have to create thermal breaks elsewhere, and use some kind of insulation, which i am still very fuzzy on, to keep all the warmth from just being absorbed so slowly from the air, for the opposite effect of immediate warmth when i want it, where i want it (in the bed area and in those immediate walls and area around the stove) as opposed to just being absorbed into the huge amount of even just the created mass (taking days?) and then the earths huge mass around it.
i have looked into geothermal cooling/heating, one of the neat things about that is that it works both ways, to cool and to heat. it involves taking long pipes and positioning them so that they are sucking in the hottest air at the very top, pulling it into the ground by means of fans, and then having that air move back up a pipe that lets cool air enter from the bottom of the structure.
this means one would be storing the heat in the ground right under the structure, so when it was cold at night the air being released would be warming. it's not that complicated, but i am not sure it is the best thing for what i am thinking. it would be very good in a greenhouse thats only purpose is for plants, i would like to use this structure for other things.
as well, with geothermal theres a huge time lag...not just hours like with the releasing of warmth through a small amount of thermal mass...but because the ground underneath is epic amounts of mass, its a time lag of months and months. so this is used to store warmth from the summer, and one would be getting that warmth back months later, same with the cold...which would come months later once the weather turns hot. it is definitely an interesting idea.
again its hard for me to wrap my head around until i actually saw...this is what it would be like...but those are some of the ideas i've been having.
well the morning's gone and my coffee is gone, but i just wandered around internetsland soaking up some information, contemplating this, and looking for some good geo thermal and geo solar informative links to post. theres a lot out there to read about this all, i am much more interested in the simplest designs and ideas, rather than the more complicated, expensive versions of innovations around these concepts.
i changed my mind, i would want to design in something along these lines, but one of the simpler versions....where ideally i could direct the excess heat to where i wanted it, maybe not all to directly under the structure. or if under the structure, insulating below that (the tubes and pipes carrying the air currents) so that the excess heat was going into the floor. probably throughout the area designated for plants, as well.
i think that no matter how much insulation, or going way over the top with awesomely designed thermal breaks and figuring out all that, even with all this there would still be heat "loss" (or rather -the plus of loosing excess heat) to the side walls of earth beyond the created mass and the earth directly below it. this would be a good thing though, as that time lag and extra buffering and regulating of temp, would be one of the subtle ways this structure would be warmed and cooled, as with all earth bermed/underground building.
the whole structure is already a geo thermal/geo solar project anyway, being planned to be partially deep underground.
so here's the best of what google pointed to this morning that was most relevant to this -->
been stewing on these ideas some and still working on the design in my spare time. if and when i get it closer to completed i will post it again. although soon i think i need to start over again, especially now that i am starting to get the knack for sketchup better.
i dont have any conclusions yet, just a lot of loose ideas, for stewing on.
theres this idea thats been coming up from the stew, i am not quite sure how i could work it out, but my intuition tells me its worth exploring.......about having multiple layers of insulation under the bottom, with thick layers of rocks in between, or potentially something else, and the tubes/pipes go into that middle...where the top insulation layer has a section open to the floor (by the plants and greenhouse area), and then in a completely different area, have a small section of the bottom layer of insulation open to the ground. well this is an amorphous idea, how to go about it, but my intuition is pretty sharp, so i keep contemplating it.
the idea being i could try to keep a lot of the warmth in the middle layer, with insulation above and below it, only have two open sections, where some heat (and cold for cooling) could come up into the floor, and some warmth could also be "deposited" and therefore stored in the ground below it. not sure how this would work in actuality
i have seen one person discussing something similar somewhere in all my internet research somewhere...where that person actually made several layers, all with insulation between them.....but not having any sections of the layers open.
with annualized geo solar, people usually insulate above the tubes/pipes, this helps with the long term, six month lag, of storing the heat under the ground till winter time.... then with similar ideas, people do insulate the area right below the tubes, to keep most of the warmth coming up. are they sacrificing some of the long term warmth in winter/benefits/storage?
if we could say ideally -- and why not be ideal? -- we would want some of the heat to be immediately accessible, some to be stored short term close to the floor, and some to be stored long term for gaining heat in winter. well i know its not this simple, but as an ideal....so how would one go about that?
some more questions i am stewing on-- what are some materials that could be used for insulation, besides the commonly available rigid insulation stuff one can buy? there may be a good reason it seems most people go with that stuff, even the less professional, more earth friendly types of people, tend to go for that rigid insulation stuff? that seems like it could be good for at least the umbrella or the wide area around the structure this calls for...an area of 10-20 + feet going all around the outer edge, for insulating the ground around and below the structure.
most stuff i read talks about the rigid insulation and vapor barriers made of plastic sheets, using them both under and around the structure...so i am curious about other options....
I am also in northern northern California, and love what your are posting/doing! I am also in especially western western Northern Northern CA. I look forward to learning more from what you are doing in this area of natural abundance.
This is all just my opinion based on a flawed memory
hey thanks =)
this plan is still simmering in my mind, but on the back burner for now, dealing with everything else thats right in front of me now.
so maybe not next year, like i had been thinking...if i could plan this year and get a definite spot to do this, i would love to start off early next year.
we will see how things flow, but that seems unlikely at this point, although i am still checking out some possibilities. and then theres always another year after the next one =).
if you are in the western western section of northern northern cal, this idea might not be as suitable, just due to how much water and clay and the moist air. or rather, lets say it would have a different set of issues to work out, due to how wet it is on the coast.
recently i learned that one of the traditional types of shelters built here were partially underground.
the natives, not having a friend with an excavator like i do =)
...or even metal shovels (!) probably didnt go that far underground...but earth bermed into little niches in the hills. anywho it was interesting...maybe i will find out more about that eventually...
Location: Redwood Country, Zone 9-10, 60" rain/yr,
The Talowa did similarly around here (just west of Jed Smith Redwoods State Park). I was an interp/ed ranger there with the state and NPS. The oldest known continuously inhabited place in North America is an arch. site at the campground, over 10,000 years. As I understand, the Talowa would dig where it was convenient and well drained and use easily split redwood planks overlapped like giant shingles. I can only imagine they would try to use the massive berms formed by downed trees and roots as a primary wall and move earth around that, as you could get a nice 20' thick/high wall out of one. It is amazing though how much the climate and environment changes on the way between where I am and 100mi east to you. I am at 60"/year and just within 7mi it could be 125"/yr and 20mi further east just 25". What diversity! You probably already know you are in the most botanically diverse region in the US, and the most coniferously diverse in the world. Down here we have the highest biomass/acre, such an amazing region to be in. If you come to the coast and want to take a hike and talk redwoods/permaculture, let me know.
Regarding your epic greenhouse plans, I can understand, but you can also get a 16x12' greenhouse up in a day that will last several years for about 100$. I just got another huge pile of free old growth salvaged from an torn down house at my neighbor's. I plan to build an arbor for my kiwis to my 50'x9' snag with the wood, but have to get up a big hoop house for now to keep my tomatoes and peppers producing. All the best, I am glad to have found your post. And that video, wow, that's a great summation of why the Smith watershed is will dig in and make my stand.
This is all just my opinion based on a flawed memory
yes i do already have a small hoophouse (although its starting to fall apart after many years of use), and another metal frame that was re purposed to be used as a type of basic greenhouse...and the past few winters have covered one of those with thick plastic sheeting, to protect our young lemon, mandarin, avocado, guava and passionfruit vines. plus this is the area where we plant peppers and maters, so they get started earlier and last until december under the sheet. besides this every year i have been filling up our laundry room, and that has been even warmer. so that will do for now, and i have set it up better with a few lights, and theres good shelves too. this year i am going to stuff that area with even some of the now larger citrus trees, and see if i can get most of it in there, to not bother with the plastic sheeting again. or well...we will see but thats the plan. the laundry room also houses the water heater and is attached to the main house here, so even with the old window in there it stays warm enough to keep the citrus alive.
but the system with the hoop house and the metal frame is...well a bit of a bother, the plastic wears down very quickly and has to be replaced every few years, shedding plastic everywhere, etc. i would definitely like something better. we may eventually build a small greenhouse proper here with glass windows, someday....
but this above -- this is what i want to build to live in. and grow some citrus and a lot of vines and such in the taller parts of this, with lofts and other areas surrounding the glass/polycarbonate parts. the small embedded cabin would actually be a much larger space than i currently live in.... i think this would be a good temperature with little heating required, for most of the year, except the heat of mid summer and the coldest of the winter here. but i think this would work very well out here.
anywho i do know a lot of areas of nor cal, have lived on the coast and in a few different spots in this area where i am now. it is true, you dont have to travel very far to get different weather patterns, and truly, this is one of the most beautiful spots on the earth, as far as what i have managed to see of it.
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