steve jones

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since Mar 20, 2012
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Recent posts by steve jones

Leila Rich wrote:Nah mate, I don't know anyone in Queensland. If you just joined PRI and your post isn't showing up, you may still be in some sort of moderation queue.
I'd say you're much more likely to find people there, since the majority of permies members are North American, with a healthy sprinkling of the rest of us of course!
While you'll be more likely to find Aus-specific stuff on PRI, permies is a great place to hang out. I mean, the ONLY rule is 'be nice'

thanks 4 ya reply, yes i agree!! like trying 2 find a needle in a hay stack.
7 years ago

Mat Smith wrote:How'd you go with this? Did you get any further?

Where in QLD is the acreage property? That might make a difference as to who is interested or not.

hey and thanks 4 ya reply, the property is out past Kingaroy about one hour.
7 years ago

dez mouth wrote:i have built approximatly 90cm below ground built onto natural clay with a (visqueen) plastic sheeting on the outer side and running into the property . the only issiue that i found was the water. something similar to a french drain and either a submersibile pump or hand pump alrarmed to a level sensor have resolved this.

what sort of "roofing" did you use before you buried it. thanks.
7 years ago
hey everyone, i have a property out past kingaroy and already have livable dwellings there [caravans], wood stove [kitchen] etc. i have been interested in building a bag house for for the last few years now. but with the difference of it being built in an existing hole in the ground but also it would be a two story dwelling and then filling it all over with dirt. i have good building skills already but no experience in building a bag house let alone putting it underground. i would like to hear suggestions on such a construction. and would like to hear from someone interested in building their own structure on the property and living there.? i would prefer a retired male or pensioner that is still active, he must have his own transport also as the nearest town is 20 minutes away. he would also need to like the peace and quiet of the isolation there. no offense ladies because i know many of you are more than capable of doing what men can do and often times even better, but i have a female partner and jealously [always] creeps in, no matter what ones intentions are, even for a noble cause.!! so if there is a retired or pensioner man here interested in living out past kingaroy that has built bag houses before then get in touch. with kindest regards steve.

Steph mi wrote:Hey guys,
Looking for the same.
Am stationed in Mullumbimby.
Are you nearby to do coffee?
Facecrack - Eliezer Steph Miers
p 0411 113 007
(call anytime

hey there, i actually live on the southside of brisbane, but travel out past kingaroy to our 40 acre property. we would love to live there full time. it really depends WHERE you both want to settle down, during the hard times that will soon engulf us all. of course there is SAFETY IN NUMBERS that is for sure. have you both looked out past kingaroy way??? be good to hear back from you. regards steve
8 years ago

Yummykissy McCoy wrote:Greetings Fellow Permies!
My husband and I are looking for a great Permie community to settle into (NSW or QLD) ♥ Attached is a photo of our Permaculture Haven Reconnaissance Trip List. First Draft. Driving South to North. Am I missing any special spots or are there towns on this list we should cross off...? ♥ Any advice is much appreciated! Thanks for your time! -V

hey there you guys, i am interested in forming a community out past kingaroy way. so let me know what sort of stuff you have done etc. regards steve
8 years ago

Leila Rich wrote:Hi Steve, welcome to permies
Have you checked out the Australian Permaculture Research Institute's forum?

hey there and thanks for your reply, i have tried to join there, but i dont know the answer to the question asked there. but if you know any QUEENSLAND bloke interested in living the whole SURVIVAL lifestyle then please pass along my info or email. thanks. regards steve
8 years ago

Nicholas Covey wrote:Paul invited me here, due to a beating I was taking at another forum. Closed minds simply couldn't get around the idea that I was bringing forth and the original purpose of my post turned into an argument, which I chose to stay out of. Paul stepped into the middle of it and argued in my favor, then sent me a PM to email him later.

I did so, and was invited here to tell my story....

SO here goes. This is the original post with minor changes...

I have posted parts of this on other forums, and have gotten a few answers here and there. I have sort of summarized my thoughts and findings. If you recognize this from other locations, I have refined what I have learned and brought a lot more content into the main post.

I have been looking into a (relatively) cheap way to produce a home for the last few months and I have most recently been looking into the Post-Shoring-Polyethylene method pioneered by Mike Oehler (of the $50 dollars and Up Underground House fame. I have his book and have read it cover to cover several times. It looks like a highlighter exploded in it now, with all the side notes I’ve taken.

Underground housing appeals to a lot of us for a lot of reasons. But it's typically a very expensive thing to do. So unless you have a rich benefactor uncle (don't we all wish...) its not usually a feasible thing. This may be a feasible way to build your hidey hole and still be able to afford ammo to defend it....

For those of you who aren’t in the know, I’ll summarize a bit. The basic principle is to take a heavy duty wooden structure (preferably designed to withstand the inward pressures of the weight of the earth involved) shore it up, and cover the outside with polyethylene plastic (I’m looking at pond liner myself). Then slowly back-fill dirt against the plastic and eventually cover the entire structure, leaving obvious spaces for windows, doors, etc. The dirt covering the plastic negates the damage that is typically done by UV and weather on plastic sheeting.

I'm in an area that receives about 36 inches of rainfall annually. I've located a hilltop on the property that I'm in the process of purchasing. My thought is to construct the structure practically on top of the existing ground (even if I have to haul in soil to do so) and berm soil up around and over it. I also want to put one big piece of poly sheeting over the top of it (and out from the house several feet, only about 8 inches under the soil) and create a sort of umbrella effect, so that most of the water will run off the sides. Most of the moisture should only get to the location by capillary action in the soil. I plan to use a lot of gravel (river rock) and sand, as well as a ton of plastic drainage tile to keep the water that doesn’t roll off the sides draining away efficiently. (there are three things to emphasize... drainage, drainage, drainage...)

I have access to a few wooded acres, a pile of (mostly) maple logs that have been ever so neatly stacked about a mile away, and a chainsaw or 2 (maybe three if I work on one). My wife works for a plastic manufacturer, so its likely that I may have access to some more inexpensive sheeting than average.

The design requires a few creative paths to provide adequate lighting so that you’re not living in a tomb (which is better than the usual path of south-facing windows and blank back wall, prone to leaks and dungeon-like gloom). Obviously a lot of emphasis goes into structure and drainage. A lot of emphasis also goes into design, so that there is adequate light and ventilation.

The design I'm working with makes use of light and ventilation in all directions, creating cross breezes, and utilizing the winter sun as often as possible. This would eliminate a lot of the usual underground house (dank cave/cellar) issues.

Rob Roy (a big name in the owner builder movement, better known for cordwood building than underground) suggests putting foam insulation around everything. His reasoning is essentially this: The ground is just thermal mass. It is a poor insulator. It cools and warms seasonally. By providing insulation around your UH you separate your thermal mass from the earth, which is prone to (slow seasonal) temperature swings that are not always within our comfort levels. 46 degree earth may not be cold when compared to the outdoor temperature of -15, but it’s still cooler than most people find comfortable as a living space. Ever sit on a 46 degree toilet?  Yeah, you know what I mean.

Rob uses the analogy that an underground house is just like an above ground house that's in a different climate. Instead of being in a climate where the temp may swing from the 100's to below zero, it rests in a climate where it gradually swings a few degrees over several months. That doesn't mean that the "underground climate" is a comfortable temperature all year round. Usually it’s a little on the cool side and the house needs to be insulated, otherwise its like trying to heat a tent in that same type of climate.

In short your heat is being bled off into the earth. If you insulate (and he suggests all six sides; even below footings if possible) then you keep your heat inside a small envelope. Add some thermal mass to keep your heat inside the envelope and a little heat goes a long ways. A small wood stove to warm the hands in the dead of winter may be enough BTUs to keep the whole thing heated. I plan to insulate about a foot beyond the walls (provided that I can keep that soil relatively dry) to provide adequate thermal mass so that I may not have to heat much at all.

I also wanted to note for those of you who are interested in these things, the water and power situations have been considered as well.

There’s a hill about 150 yards to the east that’s 35 feel higher. There is an old homestead there. All the buildings and structures have fallen in except the old windmill and well. Im planning on cleaning (if it's structurally sound) the old well and building a ferrocrete tank (cistern?) for the windmill to pump into and let gravity feed water into the house (may have to supplement with a pump if pressure isn't enough). I’m hoping it would deliver enough to at least flush toilets and keep the faucets running if power wasn't available. Showers might not be feasible though without pressure supplement.

A power line runs along the edge of the property which means I'm going to have to bury electricity for about 150 feet. I'll probably work on some alternate energy project later down the road, but that is not within my price range right now. I've planned to use natural lighting as much as possible and plan for situations where electricity isn't available by removing as much reliance on it from the initial design (like the water situation). I even have an experiment running using the Jean Pain method for heating the water and probably the house itself without power if that's even needed. If it works out this winter, that may change the way my design goes from here on out.

Maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree, but I look at it like this: if I live in it ten years and it costs me $10,000, that's about $83.00 a month. Compound what that saves in heating and cooling costs, I figure about $25.00 a month in the 3 coldest winter months and $35.00 in the 2 hottest summer months that’s $145 a year or about $1450 over the 10 year duration, making it a $8550 total investment. If nothing else it saves me enough to build something different.

Mike has lived in his for over 30. If I can make it to 30 years for $10K that’s about $28.00 a month, and saving $4350.00 in energy costs (that’s at today’s prices).If it lasts 50 years, it’s free. (Wishful thinking, I know). Oh, and I’m not in an area where building permits are required, so I can be a bit more free with my design than I would otherwise.

Anyone have the videos that Mike Oehler offers? I’m interested to learn more, just not sure if it’s $95.00 worth of interest (what he charges for his videos). I may order them anyway, as this design seems to be getting more solid every day and as I discuss this more the problems and questions seem to be resolving themselves. The more I work with the idea, the more feasible it seems. If anyone has bought them and scrapped the plan, we might talk...

So that’s my plan in a nutshell. Lots of labor involved in this project. But I have a lot more time than I have money.

So here’s the question: Has anyone here tried this particular building principle to see if its sound? I just want some real world facts. If anyone has any links or resources that I should look at I would appreciate it as well.

As a side note I have thought about termites. I'm working ways around it but if anyone has any ideas I'm all ears. I know they're pretty diligent little critters, so quite a bit of thought needs to go into that. One person suggested plastic underneath but that would be hard to do I think.

I was pointed to a forum where one owner/builder is constructing his own. It provides a lot of pictures and gives a more visual idea of what is possible. There is so much natural light in several of the pics that it’s difficult to remember that it’s an underground house. The builder is a mod at the forum. Thread link Here.

a pity you dont live here in australia mate, i could have helped you out and in turn you could have helped me. you have a great idea of which i have had the same idea for years. take care ok regards steve

8 years ago