• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Anne Miller
  • Mike Haasl
  • Pearl Sutton
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • r ranson
  • Burra Maluca
  • Joseph Lofthouse
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • Leigh Tate
  • Carla Burke
gardeners:
  • Greg Martin
  • Jay Angler
  • John F Dean

Water wall with filled wine bottles instead of huge containers?

 
Posts: 13
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi everyone,
I am in the process of planing our strawbale house and I have just stumbled over an awesome idea: water walls! But our house will be very small and I don't have the space for big containers. So I thought: Why not fill wine bottles that have a cap with water and integrate them in the already planed interior wall that is facing north (southern hemisphere) and the wall behind the heater. It might look somewhat similar to the picture attached but with caps put on. Does anyone have experience with something like that? I don't find any information online. There are heaps of bottle walls but none of them are filled. I thought of letting the neck and bottom of the bottles look out of the wall in order to get the amazing glas bottle effect. The first wall will be approx. 1m x 2.30m and the second 2m x 2.5m. Is this a stupid idea? Anyone has made experience with this kind of thing or has more information than I do?
The house will stand on stilts but I don't think that the extra weight will be a problem. Will address that with my arcitect.

Thanks so much in advance for your opinions and help!
bottle-canada-pei-bottle-houses.jpg
[Thumbnail for bottle-canada-pei-bottle-houses.jpg]
 
gardener
Posts: 3450
Location: Upstate NY, zone 5
207
2
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The one serious issue I see would be expansion. If sealed, when the water heats up it will try to expand a small amount, and glass bottles have no give. A bit of airspace in each bottle might work to allow water expansion, or it might not... you would have to experiment to find out.
 
Tanja Sieger
Posts: 13
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes I thought of that too but then I saw the drawing attached and for one liter of water the difference is almost non-esisting. If I leave like 1 cl of space that should be already enough. And the wall won't heat up to boiling point for sure. But that's just what I found in internet... I have absolutely no clue about things like that... so if anyone knows better: your advise is very welocme.
water_temperature_specific_volume.png
[Thumbnail for water_temperature_specific_volume.png]
 
Tanja Sieger
Posts: 13
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ah and I forgot to ask: do you know how much sunlight per day a wall like this needs in order to function well as a heating source?
 
pollinator
Posts: 768
Location: Porter, Indiana
83
trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm not exactly sure what you are planning on doing with the water in the bottles, but leaving them empty would would improve the insulative properties of the wall because water conducts heat about 25 times more than air.
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/tables/thrcn.html
 
Tanja Sieger
Posts: 13
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks John but I don't need the water for insultaion as it is an interior wall in a really well insulatet strawbale house. Water is aparently the best thermal mass you can find. Therefore I wanted to use the filled bottles as a termal mass inside a wall that receives sunlight during the day in order to help us heat the house.
 
gardener
Posts: 3057
Location: Central Texas zone 8a
740
2
cattle chicken bee sheep
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Algae might be an issue. Light transmission a criteria?
 
John Wolfram
pollinator
Posts: 768
Location: Porter, Indiana
83
trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Tanja Sieger wrote:Thanks John but I don't need the water for insultaion as it is an interior wall in a really well insulatet strawbale house. Water is aparently the best thermal mass you can find. Therefore I wanted to use the filled bottles as a termal mass inside a wall that receives sunlight during the day in order to help us heat the house.


If you really want to get creative, you could fill the bottles with a wax that goes through a phase change around room temperature. Here is an article about BASF's product that uses paraffin wax to capture and release heat.
 
gardener
Posts: 2110
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
490
trees food preservation solar greening the desert
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Glenn Herbert wrote:The one serious issue I see would be expansion. If sealed, when the water heats up it will try to expand a small amount, and glass bottles have no give. A bit of airspace in each bottle might work to allow water expansion, or it might not... you would have to experiment to find out.



Actually air and gasses expand dramatically with temperature rise, but water doesn't change volume much, so if you want to prevent expansion, it's better to keep all air out of the bottles, and only water. That's why when you travel, a half-full container of shampoo or lotion is MORE likely to spill in your bag than a full one. It helps to squeeze all the air out before sealing.
 
Posts: 120
8
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey Tanja,
My buddy did just that with a trombe wall in his Earthship, cobbed right in. Bottoms face Sun obviously. Believe he's been happy with it for at least a few years now. Guess you'd want to borrow a brewers capping rig or order synthetic corks so that they're good.
 
Tanja Sieger
Posts: 13
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks so much for your answers:
Wayne: yea I thought of puting some clorine in the water to avoid that. I would love some light to come through the bottles but am not depending on this light source for the house.

Rebecca: Perfect, thank you! I did not know that. Very helpful!

Christopher: great, thank you. I actually thought of just using white wine bottles that come with caps or spirit ones. I thought of bottoms facing inside though and not all cobbed in so that some light passes through. i would leave the whole neck and a bit more facing the sun and some 3 cm of the bottom facing into the room to make light transmission bigger and the wall less thick. Nevertheless there will still be around 20 cm of cob wall.
 
Joe Vaughn
Posts: 120
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Don't know why I wrote 'obviously', just trying to explain his wall. I think your wall will perform nicely.
I've personally been partial to the aesthetic of laying the bottles vertically, wherein the bottle diameter is slightly proud of the cob thickness.
 
Glenn Herbert
gardener
Posts: 3450
Location: Upstate NY, zone 5
207
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Re: expansion, yes water expands much less than air with temperature, but gases are compressible and water is not. A mitigating factor would be the difference in expansion of water and glass, which might not cause any significant stress if the coefficients are close enough. Both water and bottle would be heating up together. Sealing the bottles while they are filled with hot water would further minimize expansion pressure, as long as the seal is truly complete.

Wax as a heat storage phase change material is interesting... it wants some numbers looked up and calculations to see whether there is enough benefit to be worth the effort and expense.
 
Tanja Sieger
Posts: 13
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for your answers.

We are on a tight budget so I am not thinking of buying wax when there are similar free options, but thanks a lot for the idea.

Well as I have understood until now expansion wouldn't be a problem as long as I fill the bottles with warm water and seal them well.

My friends told me that I should be careful with this idea though because the weight will be an issue and also it might not be possible to start with the bottles right from the bottom of the wall because the glas bottle might not resist the weight of the wall on top of it and burst. They don't know how this is with filled bottles but empty bottles are prone to burst when the wall above is too heavy.

So many things to think about...
 
Joe Vaughn
Posts: 120
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Google image search "bottle temple"
Doesn't look like they have a crushing problem with empty bottles.
 
Tanja Sieger
Posts: 13
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yea I saw that (put the picture in this post way at the top) but aparently there were other people that had problems with it. Supose it depends on how thick the wall is, how you stack the bottles, what material you use for the wall, ... but it's really just a guess...
 
Posts: 110
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
add alcohol for antifreez
 
Rebecca Norman
gardener
Posts: 2110
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
490
trees food preservation solar greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The guys at our school made some concrete bricks with bottles of water inside this autumn, planning to install them as a trombe wall next spring when construction resumes. They were stacked outside. But in early November they started to freeze and break. Oops! Maybe they'd never have frozen and broken if they'd been installed in a passive solar building, but still, I now think it's a fragile thing to include in construction. Anyway, plain old mud bricks or rammed earth walls or concrete bricks make a perfectly good trombe wall, and i just don't see the need for bottles of water in it.
 
pollinator
Posts: 117
Location: New Mexico USA zone 6
23
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wondering if anyone has actually made a wall with wine (or other) glass bottles for passive heating.  I'm thinking of dedicating my wine bottles to building a trombe wall for a stand-alone battery shed for my PV system.
 
pollinator
Posts: 271
Location: Appalachian Foothills-Zone 7
47
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wouldn't be a week before my kids broke a few!
 
gardener
Posts: 814
Location: Durham, NC
293
hugelkultur gear urban cooking building writing woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Looking at the original question, my concerns include (some of which have been mentioned):

Glass is susceptible to thermal shock.  If you have a large temperature swing and the glass is constrained by something with a different  thermal coefficient, that compression could easily break thin glass.

A glass bottle filled with water that freezes seems like a recipe for disaster to me.  Especially if they all break.

Regarding those two points, every bottle temple I've read about has been in southeast Asia, which doesn't really have temperature swings or freezes.

Water weighs a little over 8 lbs per gallon.  Just a rough estimate based on the picture that looks like 1,000 lbs.  That's not a problem for something distributed across several floor joists.  Stacked vertically in a one foot thick wall?  I sure hope your tolerances are very, very precise and the wall never shifts from soil expansion.  Brick walls are also heavy but they are flat, designed to give, and have mortar every three inches.

But by far my biggest concern is, how would you dust it?



 
gardener
Posts: 4340
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
1608
duck books chicken cooking food preservation ungarbage
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Tanja, it would really help if you gave us some idea what your normal temperature swings are, and how cold you think the house could get under the worst condition - bad weather and you get called out of town to tend a sick relative sort of bad conditions.

Tanja Sieger

i would leave the whole neck and a bit more facing the sun and some 3 cm of the bottom facing into the room to make light transmission bigger and the wall less thick.

This means that if the water doesn't work, you can drain the bottles because the cap's accessible. That suggests that so long as the weight is calculated for floor support, you can probably live with the wall even if you eventually decide that water's not the best choice.

This issue with thermal mass and specifically water, is what I think is called "thermal inertia" - it takes a long time to heat up, and it takes a long time to cool down. If it gets too cold, it will take you much longer than a simple cob wall, to re-heat it. Hot days with cool nights (like in my ecosystem at times) will allow the water to cool off during the night more slowly than plain cob, so the house stays warm longer. The amount of energy coming in the window is the same - it's when that energy heats the air around you that you're trying to influence.

Gray Henon wrote:

Wouldn't be a week before my kids broke a few!

I had kids who didn't just bounce, they ricocheted and they didn't break the class cabinet in the living room and wine bottles are much stronger than the glass case. Wine bottles have decently strong glass in them because the contents make a mess if they do break!

Rob Lineberger wrote:

But by far my biggest concern is, how would you dust it?

I've been told by someone that leaf blowers do a great job...
 
gardener
Posts: 2739
Location: Fraser River Headwaters, Zone3, Lat: 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
455
hugelkultur forest garden fungi trees books food preservation bike solar woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey J

This means that if the water doesn't work, you can drain the bottles because the cap's accessible.

 I'm not sure how this would work.  If the bottles are placed flat horizontal through the wall, with a capped neck in their center, you'd have to siphon out the lower half of the bottle to drain them.  That would be e lot of work.  

So long as the climate can handle the situation (doesn't ever freeze) and you can guarantee that your caps are permanently in place, I don't see what is wrong with the idea.

I would definitely not put the neck side on the outward (sunward) direction of the wall if you are trying to get solar gain on the bottle's water.  The capped necks all sticking outward would gain little of the oncoming light, and would in fact create a lot of shadow on your wall.  Compared to the flat end of the bottle, the solar gain would be quite low.

Once you are confident that the bottles wont leak, then you might want to get beyond the dust situation of that massive surface area.  Make the wall thicker, placing a jar over the capped end of the bottle, and a band of tin, plastic, or something over the two, and concreting that all in place as an individual 'brick' in the wall.  This allows the light from the bottle to pass through the wall and it shines through the bottom of the jar in whatever colour the bottle is.  
 
Jay Angler
gardener
Posts: 4340
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
1608
duck books chicken cooking food preservation ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Roberto pokachinni wrote:Hey J

This means that if the water doesn't work, you can drain the bottles because the cap's accessible.

 I'm not sure how this would work.  If the bottles are placed flat horizontal through the wall, with a capped neck in their center, you'd have to siphon out the lower half of the bottle to drain them.  That would be e lot of work.

My vacuum can suck water, as can Hubby's Shop Vac - it would still take time, but not as much time as siphoning.

What would take time would be if you were fickle enough to decide the water was better there after all... I'm picturing a water hose going into the bottle, but you'd need a second small hose at the top to let the air above the neck escape and even then, it would be a wet mess!

This may just sound like silliness, but in fact, one of the things I try to always consider is, "What's the worst that can happen?" and at least consider how to deal with that risk. If a cap were to fail, but you had a spare, is it possible to refill that one bottle?
 
Roberto pokachinni
gardener
Posts: 2739
Location: Fraser River Headwaters, Zone3, Lat: 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
455
hugelkultur forest garden fungi trees books food preservation bike solar woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

My vacuum can suck water, as can Hubby's Shop Vac - it would still take time, but not as much time as siphoning.

 Sure, but you would need a very thin flexible hose (not standard) to go into the bottle neck to get the lower half of the water completely out (if that was the goal).  You can't create a seal with your vacuum nozzle, or you would create vacuum pressure in the bottle and get nowhere.  The vacuum end needs to be mobile, sucking air as well, and can not create a full vacuum seal.  

What would take time would be if you were fickle enough to decide the water was better there after all... I'm picturing a water hose going into the bottle, but you'd need a second small hose at the top to let the air above the neck escape and even then, it would be a wet mess!

This may just sound like silliness, but in fact, one of the things I try to always consider is, "What's the worst that can happen?" and at least consider how to deal with that risk. If a cap were to fail, but you had a spare, is it possible to refill that one bottle?

 In response to your last question, I'd say, probably not, especially not to the top.  In response to your idea of putting water back in: 'm pretty sure I it would indeed be a wet mess and a pretty big one at that!
 
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 7498
Location: SW Missouri
3515
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

you would need a very thin flexible hose (not standard) to go into the bottle neck to get the lower half of the water completely out

I have a hose like that. Don't recall if I made it or bought it. I'd have to go out to the garage to look.
 
pioneer
Posts: 198
Location: Chesterfield, Massachusetts, United States
hugelkultur purity forest garden food preservation fiber arts building woodworking rocket stoves
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wouldn't these freeze potentially, resulting in the bottles cracking and water leaking next thaw? I mean I know the ideal outcome is the insulation keeps things warm enough not to freeze... But if it doesn't work, hope you've got flood insurance!!!
 
Posts: 72
Location: Manotick (Ottawa), Ontario
7
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Tanja Sieger wrote:
My friends told me that I should be careful with this idea though because the weight will be an issue and also it might not be possible to start with the bottles right from the bottom of the wall because the glas bottle might not resist the weight of the wall on top of it and burst. They don't know how this is with filled bottles but empty bottles are prone to burst when the wall above is too heavy.

So many things to think about...


I suspect that bottles are easily strong enough to support the weight of several feet above, especially if they're bedded in supporting material such as cob. To be certain, you could construct a simple test frame simulating a perhaps 2-foot section of wall and load it with water-filled bottles.

If the weight is excessive, the wall could be subdivided with horizontal I-beams to reduce the weight on the bottom layer(s).
 
Posts: 2
Location: Upper Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia: K-G class Cfa; NCC zone 6; USDA zone 9b
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

I think most waxes just get thicker till they are eventually solid like butter.



This would be because waxes are a mixture of many different length hydrocarbons typically, all with different melting points.  So whilst there is no distinct freezing/melting point, it is actually happening over a wider temperature range.  I'm sure the rate of change of temperature would slow at the point where melting begins until it finishes, and because it happens over a wider temperature range might actually be more useful in a real life situation.

However, compared to filling bottles with water, it does seem like a painful and expensive exercise (and somewhat typical of the industrial system's over complicated and needlessly expensive solutions to a simple problem)

It would be interesting to see how water behaves against wax or indeed any mixture of oils (olive oil? coconut oil?), given that it would be both unlikely and undesirable to take advantage of the latent heat between solid and liquid states, given the change in volume that goes with it.  At least with coconut oil, if the bottle broke it would smell really good (in my opinion)!
 
pollinator
Posts: 599
Location: zone 4b, sandy, Continental D
177
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well, I sure have a lot of questions on your project.
Are you ready for the dust and cobwebs with all the nooks and crannies that the bottlenecks create?
How cold does it get where you live? Would you have some source of heat besides the sun? If you are thinking of using *only* the sun, I would be worried about the water expanding as it freezes at night and on long cloudy, gloomy winter days. [We sometimes have weeks of freezing weather with no sun]. It is dreary. You would have to be *very* sure because freezing water in the bottles even once would be disastrous. Now, if you could fill the bottles with antifreeze such as propylene glycol, which is a clear liquid? That might work. It is somewhat pricey but it can be diluted a lot:
https://www.supplyhouse.com/Hercules-35284-Cryo-Tek-100-Anti-Freeze-Glycol-5-Gallon?gclid=Cj0KCQjwufn8BRCwARIsAKzP694CNCxCgt8MzWup1RQyNiBef46OdkQRnihn9F-MYfaJwcR1FfXpUyIaArAyEALw_wcB
Another concern I have is indeed the weight. Glass is already quite heavy as a building material, but water really adds weight fast. I didn't look but propylene glycol is a bit heavier than water. On the other hand, filling the bottles is smart because it does add structural integrity. [Pressure from inside equals pressure from outside, so they should not crush, even with the weight]. Also, you mentioned the structure being on stilts. How tall would these stilts be relative to the weight you anticipate? How would the weight be spread evenly along the walls? I picture a standard building, square with 4 stilts, one at each corner, but maybe you are thinking of a lot more stilts? Also, if you put the structure on stilts, cold air/ shaded area may negate all the sun you can harness, no? In other words, why does the building have to be on stilts?
If you are thinking of staying warm, I would dig a basement or a half basement and use bottles from earth level on up and have a plan for snow removal. That way, you would take advantage of the Earth's warmth and insulating properties. I would also do all I can to lighten the weight of the roof and max out the number of  skylights with lots of light insulation in between.
I must say, though that the wine bottles in the photo make the room look absolutely lovely. The stained glass look is really nice and gives you this church feeling.
 
Those cherries would go best on cherry cheesecake. Don't put those cherries on this tiny ad:
19 skiddable structures microdoc - now FREE for a while
https://permies.com/t/138333/skiddable-structures-microdoc-FREE
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic