Gary Hughes

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since Jan 11, 2014
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Recent posts by Gary Hughes

I live in OK and since I live outside a small rural town there is no inspections and the only thing I needed was a $30 permit. I'm doing a straw bale house with an earthen floor. I've got my roof up with minimum 30" of overhang all the way around. I'm just now plastering the straw with clay dug from my trenches and I'm using "clean screenings" from the local rock quarry as the sand. So far not a single crack and I attribute that to the powdery stuff in the screenings. If screenings get wet and then dry they are hard so they must have some sort of bonding in them but they break apart, but with clay and straw added it becomes as hard as rock or stucco. I plan on sifting out the bigger particles for the last coat though since they are slightly bigger than normal sand. My straw bales are only insulation, and provide no structural support. I would highly recommend you orient to the south and use as much passive solar design as you can. Just realize it will take longer than you think, at least it is for me. It's a one man show here.

Biggest costs for far, trusses $3500 standing seam metal roof $5000, lumber...don't know for sure but maybe $1500-2000? straw $1000 labor of love, priceless.
4 years ago
I'm in NE OK and we have clay soil too so I'll be interested in what you do. I'm more than likely going to do a rubble trench with a stem wall and french drain as shown in" building with awareness" video. He's in NM and I'm sure they are clay with all the adobe. I highly reccomend his 2+ hour video, very good quality and just search youtube or google
5 years ago
The other thing I'm not understanding is I see passive solar houses and they are almost all windows or very little wall between windows on the south side, and yet if I'm understanding the 10-12% "rule" correctly then my south facing wall would have a lot of wall between windows which just seems counter intuitive.
5 years ago
I'm trying to figure out how many windows or sq. ft. of windows to put on my south facing wall. I'm thinking of building a cob house 40'x24' with an earthen floor. I found a guy who can order SHGC .61 and a ufactor of .47 So if my building is roughly 1,000sq. ft. is it correct to put about 12% of that or 120sq.ft. of windows on the south side? I don't want to overheat in summer and I do want to get as much thermal mass heated up in winter, so how do I strike that balance? I do plan on overhangs and possibly exterior shutters or other means of summer blockage of windows if that would help? And at the same time I'm worried about heat loss in winter at night so I'm thinking of thermal blankets or something on the inside at night during winters. I really am having a hard time figuring out a balance that seems realistic. I don't want to put too much or not enough of the right or wrong glazing etc. I'm in Oklahoma NE. Thanks Gary
5 years ago
I think I'll buy a couple since they are only $20 and if anyone knows a way to perform a homemade SHGC test on them I'll try that out. I wouldn't want to put them on my south wall if they aren't .5 right? But if they are much lower I guess I could use them on east or west.
5 years ago
There is a local guy selling used glass doors from a gas station. The ones that are insulated for the beer or pop. Would that type of glazing be a no no as far as SHGC? I was also thinking of using one of them as the top to a batch solar water heater. any comments? Thanks in advance, Gary
5 years ago
Hello everyone,
I'm new here and I didn't find a thread that addressed this so pardon me if it's already been discussed. This is partially a cob house "problem" but it's more of a drafting question so I figured RMH'ers would be a better place to ask. My concern comes from the guy in MO who is having mold issues and venting is one of the "possibles" of his problem. It gets very hot and humid in summers here and fairly cold in winter, we just had a spell of teens and zero nights, summers into the 103's for weeks. I saw a guy in CO uses 4" PVC pipes buried about footer depth (2ft?) in order to cool hot outside air as it passes down the pipe and into his house at around floor level then rises through ceiling vents and exits out roof vents, basically a passive draft system. My questions are:
1. Similar to an RMH would different size intake pipes/vents or number of them entering the house, and I would assume the same or equal size/number as exhaust vents be needed? And assuming a 900sq. ft. house with 8ft. ceilings, how to figure out the best turnover ratio of new air, ie. with an 8" pipe it would take how long to vent all old air to new?
2. How long of a pipe say 4" would it take to actually cool to soil temperature? Would 103 degree incoming air cool down after traveling 40' in a 4" pipe? What determines how fast the air will flow down the pipes?

Thanks in advance, Gary
5 years ago