Jim Gagnepain

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since Jun 21, 2015
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Recent posts by Jim Gagnepain

We toured one of the Globals when we were in Taos.  It was very nice.  Do you know if they use outdoor shades in the summer?  I know they use the cooling tubes, but I wonder if that's enough cooling to counter that much heat.  I imagine that greenhouse could become quite an oven!

With our conventional model outdoor shades are a must, no matter how far north one is located.

I probably mentioned on this thread, that if I had it to do over again, I wouldn't use an angled glass.  There is more than enough incoming heat, here in Colo. Springs, and glass/window mfrs don't warranty an angled install.  It's difficult (not impossible) to avoid sporadic leaking with the angle.
4 years ago

Todd Gunter wrote:

Jim Gagnepain wrote:

elle sagenev wrote:This is AMAZING! And in COSprings. So 250k in your cost area would cost me....... Uh oh, husband is about to have a heart attack!

I would guess that, if one budgeted, and did a lot of the work themselves (including GC), they could build a 2000 sq ft home like this for between $100K-$150K.  That does not include the cost of the land, and any renewable energy options.  If you're handy (and willing) with interior finishing work, that typically saves a lot.  There are things I would NOT take on myself - concrete work, plumbing, wood stove piping, and even electrical (and I'm an Electrical Engineer!).  I hired a carpenter by the hour, and worked alongside him.  That way, I was able to take advantage of his expertise, but do a lot of the work myself.

We are aiming for a total build cost including solar system of under 80,000. And hopefully shooting for more like 50-60K. For a 1200sqft living space with additional 600sqft greenhouse "hallway". We are doing this by having no time crunch on completion and by sourcing as much material used or cheap. We have a 40ft by 60ft shop building which we are able to store materials as we collect them. Our largest expense will be the roof materials, and the solar system. We are currently near midway in the construction process and probably are still another 3 years out from having a home that is ready to move into. Again we have the luxury of time on our hands, so this is not the case for everyone. We also do all the work ourselves with help from friends and family on occasion. The rammed earth tires took two years for us to complete working an average of one weekend per month. If we had known about tire bales prior to beginning our build, probably would have gone that route. We live in Oklahoma, and the state bales tires and actually will give them away for free, but again found this info out well after we had begun the rammed earth tires. Jim, your house looks amazing, well thought out design!

Are you building the Euro model?  I'm wondering if my county would approve it, because of the fire egress issue.  Because there are no B/R windows, our bedrooms had to be open, and directly near the exit doors, which were considered the legal egresses.  Seems like the Euro model would require more than 1door to go outside.
4 years ago

Todd Gunter wrote:After 2 years of pounding tires we finished the tire wall last summer. We are currently waiting for a break from winter to move onto pouring concrete in the footings and bond beam. Once that is done, we will move forward into what will be our first real expense besides the concrete, and thats the framing for the load bearing walls and the roof. Hope you didn't give up.

Looks real nice Todd.  A fine professional job!  Where are you located?
4 years ago
Why did you do things the hard way.  We built ours out of tire bales.  Had the entire structure up in a day.  Not so expensive either.  Great to live in:

4 years ago

J. Tabordiy wrote:we wanted to play a bit with bottles inside the walls to let some funny light in and because we had been saving them for years and it's a good excuse to get rid of them

we cut them with and angle-grinder fixed on a bench, i cut more than 100 bottles and only one (of the first ones i did) broke on my hand

we cut them on the right size for each wall (from 23-26cm) and glue them with tape, we tried to clean them the best possible and then position them between the boards when filling the straw-clay mix

Cool home! Like the art glass. We built our bermed-earth home out of tire bales (covered with adobe). We did a similar thing with art-glass, except we used tennis cans, with candle votives on the ends. Gave us more choice of colors.

Gilbert Fritz wrote:

Now chickens eating bugs from compost piles is a great idea, one I have thought about a lot. Tough organic matter can't really be eaten by anything, so if we could convert it, we would be coming out ahead. But it all depends on how many cubic feet of the stuff we would need per chicken.

Our chickens go berserk when I start digging in my compost piles. If I'm doing the job with the front-loader, they will hardly wait for me to get out of the way. I have to be careful that I don't hurt the little creatures. I was kind of sad though, when I unearthed a beautiful toad, only to see one of the chickens nab it.

Maybe I'm imaging it, but it seems that the more vegetarian they eat, the better tasting the eggs. One week I unearthed a lot of slugs, and the chickens did their thing. it seemed like the subsequent eggs weren't quite as good (a little sulphury).
5 years ago

John McDoodle wrote:good work. mine is in ontario also

Sounds like Ontario may be the next Earthship community, similar to Taos, NM. A sad note - the designer of my tire-bale earthship, Mike Shealey, has passed away. He lived here in Colorado Springs, in the Black Forest area. His work is legendary, as there are about 50 of his designs in the area. All are either zero-energy or close to it.
5 years ago

Rob Lougas wrote:Just a couple more photos of the recent progress. Nothing more done since yesterdays update just a couple different views.

Are you putting some windows in the side, just under the roof? I like the look with the logs, etc. Are you insulating? There's not much wall. It almost looks like you might not have to...
6 years ago

Rob Lougas wrote:Here are a few more photos. I made a little bit more progress this week.

Looking good! We pounded some tires for our chicken coop. Only about 10'x12'x4' high. But that was enough for me! I put up some forms, and poured a concrete bond beam, with j-bolts, and then did the framing and the roof. The chickens sure love this. Chicken coops aren't supposed to be insulated, so it's just framing and particle board above that. It's nice - we don't have to worry about coyotes tearing anything down, with those massive walls. The pullets are very, very happy in there!

We even covered the tires with adobe and stained concrete! I'll post a pic later...
6 years ago
An update = we've got over 100 chickens now. In addition, we have Tibetan quail and guinea fowl (which are now huge). I've grown quite fond of the birds. They are very entertaining. All the larger birds free range on our land. The garden, which was infested with pests last year, have none this year, so that's a big upside. I was told that the guinea fowl would leave eventually, but they continue to return to the coops every evening.

She also has 3 incubators, and is hatching chickens. It's a learning experience. A few have died. But most have survived.
6 years ago