dawn trueman

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since Apr 10, 2013
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Recent posts by dawn trueman

I've always wanted to build a timberframe house with hempcrete for insulation because I live in on the west coast with moisture, rodent, and mould problems. Mostly the rodent proof is appealing to me, and the thermal mass aspect of the hempcrete as insulation.

Recently I am under pressure to find a housing solution and if I can't find an affordable rental that is rodent proof and mould free I am looking at building a mobile home on my mom's property. My mom is a bit difficult to live with and my partner is only willing to live there if we have something we can move one day when we can afford to buy our own land.

So I'm hoping to find out if hempcrete is too heavy to use as insulation in the walls and floor of a mobile building. I'm looking at hiring someone local to build something on site as quickly as possible. I think 2 by 6 framing should work fine for the exterior portions, and 2 by 4 for interior partition walls.

Then again I just realized it's very likely hempcrete insulation would crack if the house did have to be hoisted onto a flatbed truck and moved one day, so perhaps I'd best go with traditional insulation.

Does anyone have any other ideas about building mobile homes to be more environmentally friendly? Is that affordable to even do?
It seems like traditional building materials are more affordable.

I'd love to hear any other ideas about mobile home solutions besides a travel trailer or a factory built park home. Is there any such thing as an environmentally friendly mobile home?

I live in Canada, on a small island. I found the perfect mobile home solution from a guy in Oregon but importing it and installing it on the property is too complicated so it looks like I'll have to either build on site or order a kit of some kind that can be easily assembled, but I have the feeling it would be a lot cheaper to build it locally than to order a kit.
So any tips about home built mobile homes would be very appreciated.
Thanks.
7 years ago
I just searched on google 'can you use old dish water on veggie gardens" and found this website: http://extension.umass.edu/landscape/fact-sheets/recycling-gray-water-home-gardens

They say that the phosphates aren't the problem, it's the sodium that is in the soap too. Also, the food particles if applied directly to the top soil would cause mold (that's my opinion not on the site). Grease is supposed to be an issue when applying directly to the soil/plants, which is why most gray water systems use some sort of filter to trap grease before applying to anything. This website says that the main reason to avoid using on veggies is just in case any sort of disease causing pathogens are existing in the water and that they don't transfer through to the food. They do say that if you have to use graywater on your veggies to only use it on plants like corn, tomatoes, broccoli, or anything that doesn't grow underground (like potatoes or carrots) or lettuces. They specifically say not to use it on greens, or anything that could get the water directly on the edible part of the vegetable.

Anyone considering using graywater for gardens who hasn't before should check it out, it seems to be an informative website.

7 years ago
I was surprised to see that it says not to use on veggies or anything but fruit trees, but I think for one thing it's probably to cover their own ass, to make sure no one gets sick or anything, and number 2, it could be due to soap detergents in the gray water? The soap is the only thing I can think of that would be a problem for the veggies since soaps have lots of phosphates and could have other chemicals depending on what you use.
7 years ago
Thanks kate, that is exactly what I was looking for.
7 years ago
No they did not want to drink the gray water.
They used some kind of filter involving worms (like red wrigglers) to eat the food particles from the dish water. You can't just dump gray water straight into the ground. I mean you can, but it's better to have some kind of filter first, I've read about many types of filters that all sound annoying and high maintenance, but these people just used worms to eat the food particles and then they could use their gray water to water vegetable gardens, whereas normally gray water is not used on edible gardens. You could just dump the gray water straight into the ground if you had some kind of septic field, but I don't want to have to dig or bury piping, or buy gravel for drainage. I would rather use a filter and then send the gray water to a holding tank to use for watering the gardens. The great thing about the worm filter was that the gray water was cleaned by the worms and they were able to harvest worm castings from the worms.

7 years ago
Cob can be load bearing but it needs to be the right thickness for the weight it will support. I'm sure there are places you can find out how thick of a wall to build for a desired load. I haven't build with cob before but I have done some research into it. I've read that cob is more structurally sound as monolithic structure, meaning when it's used on it's own with no wood or anything else in it. But you have to have room for the thickness of the walls. A cob wall could work inside if it's protected from any moisture from above, just make sure you do all the calculations you need to for whatever material you use to hold up an earth covered roof. earth is heavy.
8 years ago
I recently saw an episode of "peak moment" on the internet about a family who built a load bearing cob house with a living roof, a composting toilet, and a gray water system. She mentions that they use worms to filter the gray water and that it works really well. I was wondering if anyone knows any more about how to do that. I'm not sure how it would work. Perhaps having the gray water disperse through a pvc pipe with holes drilled in it but buried in a layer of gravel with soil and compost on top that you introduce red wrigglers to? Any thoughts or other ideas?
8 years ago
If you order a kit from a reputable company and do a good job on the roof it shouldn't leak. There are many ways to make sure that there is no leakage, sealing with silicone between plywood seams. I have been researching domes for quite some time now and have yet to read about a well constructed dome that leaks.
8 years ago
Karla, just reading through some of the other comments now, and I wanted to say, it might sound alternative, or maybe you've already tried it. My friend has a medical marijuana license for fibromyalgia. She says it helps with the pain quite a bit and helps her do her daily tasks. My mom also has issues with body pain, and she and I both follow a gluten free diet for our various reasons. She says it reduces her body pain and mental fatigue. I just go crazy if I eat gluten, but that's another story.

As for homes, geodesic domes are definitely a good option as you mentioned not being able to clean your rain gutters anymore, domes have no gutters! I guess cost could be an issue, but if you could find land for cheap, they seem like a good investment to me, and they can be assembled so quickly by a small team of people. anyway, hope you figure something out.
8 years ago
Have you considered a geodesic dome kit? you can order them custom made or by pre-existing plans. You can get them any size, you can get them high or low (no stairs you mentioned.). You can get multiple domes joined together. Domes are hurricane and earthquake resistant. Many companies offer struts made of wood or metal. Obviously choose metal if you are seriously concerned about fire. You can buy everything you need and have it delivered in a truck and assembled in a matter of days.

I personally prefer wood, and am less concerned about fire since I live on the west coast in a wet climate. I would love to be able to build a geodesic dome from Natural spaces. They have designed the dome so that even as the dome increases in size, the struts are still smaller and there are more triangles. It's easy for anyone to lift, although I don't know what condition you have or how debilitating it is, but you may even be able to help in the assembly to some degree, or find friends to help. They are designed to be built by owners easily, but you can also hire a crew to erect it for you.

My plan for a geodesic dome made from wooden struts and plywood sheathing was to finish the interior with lime plaster or lime wash. lime offers a certain level of fire resistance. plus it looks nice. I haven't figured out if you can berm a geodesic dome yet, but that would certainly add to it's stability and thermal efficiency.

Perhaps I'll need to start a thread about geodesic domes to get some input about these questions, but to me it sounds like your best option as far as being affordable, disaster proof, and easily built, also quickly built. Here is the link for natural spaces domes, there are many other companies, just search for geodesic dome kits. http://www.naturalspacesdomes.com/
8 years ago