Elias Twitchell

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since Feb 13, 2016
Been researching and watching for years eager to join the movement for real.
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Recent posts by Elias Twitchell

I have started my to scale drafts. This is the first floor I have the kitchen and RMH pretty well planned out but am still deciding on windows and the uses and layouts of the rest of the small rooms. Basement and loft will be coming shortly. Each square is 4 inches, three squares is a foot. Right now the outside walls are 2X6 staggered which makes a 1ft think wall not including siding and paneling. Depending on what I decide for insulation I may bring it down in size and gain a few inches on the internal plan.
2 years ago

For insulation in a northern climate what should I shoot for in my walls. I am planning on a staggered wood frame design. I am thinking of rock wool insulation for the many benefits of safety and efficiency, ease of install, etc. I could do 2X4 framing with a total wall rating of 30 two R15s or I could do 2X6 framing R46 two R23s Plus I am planning on an external wall wrap like an r3 foam-board. Is R46 overkill or will it save me on power and heating in the long run? Whatever the standard good enough rating is I would like to exceed it at least slightly.
2 years ago

I'm moving down to 600 sq/ft. Does anyone know in stick framing rafters what is the maximum unsupported span for say a 6 by 12? In other words what will I need in Maine where there is a lot of snow to bridge 16-20 ft. Moreover I am kind of married to the vaulted ceiling and sleeping loft idea but I am worried how it will effect my heating in a passive solar/RMH heated house.
2 years ago
So I am trying to gather advise on my larger project: http://www.permies.com/t/54394/passive-solar/sq-ft-pasive-solar-house#449638

I am posting the different elements in their respective categories. Basically I want to create affordable rental properties that teach tenants about Permiculture principles.

I will add sketches latter but in the mean time I can describe my ideas and ask for advise. I want to build a fairly friendly system that only needs to have the compost bin taken out every 6 months or so. Trying to minimize what tenants will have to do so that I can hire someone or come around myself to do all the hard work and leave the tenants with just adding the proper carbon. I have two ideas the first that I prefer is to have the bathroom on the second floor and have a dedicated outside door where I can roll in a dolly and pick up the composter to take to the woods for further composting. I suspect that I may need to line the room to protect against the unlikely event of a blow out.

My second idea was to put the composter in the basement but that would require digging a ramp below grade to get it out.

I have a general plan to try and build the composting chamber out of joinery. I would use something like hemlock or another rot resistant wood. The idea being that it sits for 6 months inside then is taken to the woods where it will sit till the wood around it is also earth. The idea being that the time it takes the wood to break down will be greater than the year it takes to properly breakdown and cook away the various harmful elements. I plan to sen sample in to labs to document the success of the process and make sure everything continues to work as expected. If there are still any harmful concentrations after the couple years of composting then I will try adding it to the first stage of the regular lawn and kitchen scraps compost. It is my hope to compile evidence to convince society as a whole and get uninspired bills rewritten.

I would like advise first I plan to have a grey water system that I could easily tie a diverter into but I have heard it can cause cleaning problems as it tends to get the dirtier side of things smeared on it. Moreover especially with adding very dry sawdust material removing the pee element might prevent the thermophilic phase from occurring which is the most important for removing dangerous elements. Any suggestions on which method is better?

Second I already have found out that it is state law that only one commercial composting toilet is legal and that one doesn't exist. I will be looking into becoming a "commercial manufacturer and designing my system to fit the law". I will let you know when I get the design from the state the guy who informed me said it was something about feeding the supplementary composting material. Not sure what that means but I already have some ideas for some mechanical carbon material feeding shoots.

Any advise for talking to government? I really want to remove the obstacles and educate people on how to compost Humanure responsibly.
2 years ago

Glenn Herbert wrote:Since passive solar involves the entire house envelope and configuration, this is probably a good central place to collect your plans. Individual components like the RMH should be in their respective forums, with links to and from here. It could get really confusing to have discussions of several different elements interspersed with each other.

I am not familiar with the specific Maine climate, but I suspect it doesn't get much more sun than here in south central NY, and you will really need a solid heater at the center of your house, supplemented by the solar heat in sunny spells and spring and fall.

Thank you both, I will split up the elements and post in some more categories.

Do you happen to know if you can have too much thermal mass? I have been reading about passive solar and have learned that too little is very bad but I don't know if there is a point where you should avoid overdoing it.
2 years ago
I am planning to start building in spring-summer 2017. Right now I am gathering knowledge and developing my plans. I want my design to be completely holistic but also beautiful.

I have developing plans on my own humanure toilet, Rocket Mass Heater, cabin layout including passive solar elements, and permiculture garden although that is my weakest point.

I am young and have several years of scattered maintenance experience and am currently gaining a year of wood frame construction experience. I acknowledge that I probably know just enough to be dangerous but I am confident I can muddle through. I know there will be problems though so I beg this very knowledgeable community to point out some of my mistakes or things that I haven't thought of yet.

First question should I post all my different design elements in their specific threads like RMH and composting toilet? I am kind of hoping to get feed back on how everything will work as a unit.

Keep in mind that I am still in the idea phase. If I don't give specific measurements it may be I haven't gotten around to crunching all the numbers. But my vision is starting to take very clear shape as I tweak this or that element.

So the crazy ideas I think I can buy 1-2 acres in Maine, USA Start milling some lumber in fall or winter when the sap has started to leave the trees. Let the wood dry and work all winter saving money for necessities like a well and solar power for electric tools. I want to build an electric shed to house all my solar system and then run power to the house later.

I would work part time and camp on property as soon as it warmed up enough in order to make money for materials. Recently I have started thinking of making an insulated sleeping trailer instead of strait out camping. Part of the functional design I am going for is with the idea that I may want to move or leave and do something else like peace corps in a few years and leave the property as a rental or even to keep doing this and set up a series of incredibly well made, affordable rental properties that teach people about sustainable living. I am going to put up all my plans and documentation in the hopes that eventually it evolves into a good enough idea that many people want to copy and improve it.

I am planning to build off of insulated concrete forms. I know concrete has a higher price and less green footprint than materials like cob however I am trying to get the very highest quality and also pick and choose my battles with town/state code, as well as be able to use similar models in other locations around the USA. I am thinking a 20 by 30 or 40 foot house I went up from my initial thoughts because I wanted to be able to offer my mom a room if she needed it. The design centers around a large central space kitchen, living room, and RMH dead center. The RMH is central because I originally wasn't planning passive solar and thought I would need a robust heating system and because I want to make it an attractive centerpiece. Luckily as I have started researching Passive Solar I realized I could make it double as an effective thermal mass for the solar gain and cooling mass in the summer. A question I have though is I think a stove pipe going up would spit the very large open feel I want to go for and I am worried that the horizontal distance for the pipe might be too much. I plan to raise the kitchen on a false floor and run my exhaust out the side. I got the idea that I could get away with this because the ehaust runs back and forth sidways in the bench before being vented but I suspect I need to be careful any thoughts?

I want to set the Humanure toilet up on the "Second Floor" or loft space this is so that I can create an external room accessible only from the outside for the compost receptacle. This is so that If I rented I could come every however many months grab the box with a dolly and take it away from the house to the compost area without the tenants having to directly deal with it, essentially making it feel like the flush toilets they are used to. Now I have an odd idea here I was thinking of making the composting bin out of well crafted joinery possibly avoiding nails. The idea being that in addition to proper composting practices like regular addition of course material for proper aeration and per use addition of plenty of carbon I would also have a designated area where the compost could do its thing for the 2 or more years while the wood broke down. Buy the time the wood is also earth I plan to prove through lab testing that not only does it hopefully go through the thermophilic bacteria process but also the long and effective process of patient and over the top long composting. Idea being that I can prove that if the person waits till the wood is weak enough to put a shovel through it is then 100% as safe as regular soil to put on vegies time after time. Research my prove me wrong but my reading suggest that eventually I may be able to really fight the main stream fecophobia.

As a design twist I want try and keep all my plumbing except maybe my bathroom sink in the center of the house to avoid accidental freezing of pipes and so that I don't have to run as much piping. The sink on a center island connect to the RMH with some homemade stone and mortar sheathed cabinets. Not sure what counter Possibly slate as I may be able to find large pieces to put together from the local abandoned quarries. The shower I'm playing with the idea of building a small tower like room right next to the RMH and sink, a wall to hang my indoor herb garden from. This is a lot of weight in the center so I am thinking of supports underneath (entire rough cut tree with footing under concrete slab) and I was already going to shoot for going above the structural standard for the size of the floor joists. I am willing to take suggestions on building dimension changes I should probably cut back from 20' span but I don't want to make the walk ways or the space in general feel tight. I want to stick frame the roof to give the center space a vaulted ceiling and to provide more vertical space for rooms or storage on either end.

On one end long ways I will have the door come in from the west side of house narrow side into a little mud room. I hate being cold so having a airlock is kind of important to me as well as a place to stop the mud during mud season. On the north wall in this very small space will be an artistic stone mosaic thermal mass for the large window to the south. Bench to the south possible also a thermal mass. I want to put recessed rigid foam wood overlay sliding panels on all my windows to trap heat overnight.

Trying to decide what stairs will look nice meet rental property codes and not take up too much space.

I don't know what to do for the garden but I know I want a well rounded permiculture design.

I look forward to your help and criticism, this project is going to happen I look forward to seeing what type of learning experience it will be.

2 years ago

So my name is Elias I have been thinking about online dating since my brother started at least 2 years ago but I have been very resistant I really believe in getting to know people in person. As much time as I spend on the internet it isn't my idea of romance or quality time where you really connect with someone. That being said someone told me they thought I could really use the help of someone who has similar ideas as me they ask me if I had a girlfriend a question I kind of dread as no one ever asks it when I am actually dating someone. Anyways I realized they were right and I have been really looking forward to finding a really meaningful relationship. Therefore while I will continue forward fearlessly into the future regardless I realized the best place to look for help on my project and also for that special someone to share my life with is places like right here where many of our far flung but like minded brothers and sisters congregate for support and information.

A bit about myself. I love being outside and I care about having a positive impact on the world and the individuals who comprise it both animals and humans. I am a recent college grad I love being active and I have recently found something that i could see myself doing for a long time more about that later. I only develop romantic feelings for girls who are very kind and generally positive. I believe Love is the law of the universe so if you aren't currently demonstrating that at least most of the time then I don't think anything would work out between us. I am religious in the spiritual sense of the word not the political. I don't drink or smoke. Smoking is a deal breaker sorry I just can't get past it (Tabbacco). Other types of smoking and drinking I think I do a good job of being excepting towards those who do but I have no desire to partake. Just to be clear off the bat I believe there should be no sex without love and an understanding and some sort of agreement on how we would raise any hypothetical children as a unit. Some of this might seem odd to put in the initial post but you will find I am a lot more talkative in writing and once I actually decide to talk I like to be very honest and direct.

Ok you can ask more about me but i don't like writing about myself and would rather enjoy the process of getting to know someone.

So probably the most important part of this The Project I am thinking of moving back to Maine sometime this summer. I am currently looking for land but wont move onto it until probably spring of 2017 when I could start the initial process of breaking ground and it would be warm enough to camp. Yes I will be camping a very rough life style if you have ever done it for weeks on end in cold weather. Why because I have college loans which is also one reason why I don't join a class or do some wolfing to meet you and learn a little bit more before trying to start this project. I will also be working part or full time and possibly biking to work this will be extremely hard to start just fair warning, but I am supper excited about this up for the challenge and actually planning to repeat the process. So yes I plan to work to keep up my payments and also buy materials along the way. The crux of my plan is that instead of paying rent which just disappears and is gone for ever I will pursue a dream and build something beautiful.

The main goal of my project is to build a small house likely 800 square feet which isn't exactly what I think of when I say permiculture but the house in my dreams can not exist without the permiculture farm/garden. I want to make it as sustainable and efficient as possible. I want to incorporate much of the knowledge that I have learned hear and elsewhere from this community. I want to rent this home for three reasons: One because I think I can gain some financial stability by doing what I love. Two because I want to keep meeting new people and trying new things in order to challenge myself and I can't picture stopping in one place. Three because even though land lords are often seen as bad I think I can bring a great deal of good to the occupation. I am currently an Americorps Member working with Habitat for Humanity. So I bring a good amount of building experience and knowledge but could use some help on the planning and implementing of the plants and animals side of things online research only gets you so far.

Another challenge even in rural areas I believe state or town code will force me to install a septic for a rental property. I may have to go along with this to start but my ultimate goal is to challenge the insistence upon water based linear and harmful treatment of humanure. I want to carefully document and test my ideas on a composting toilet system that will prove it is a healthier and cleaner method of dealing with a basic life function. So on the side of the main project I may be paying for tests, educating, and lobbying as I learn more. I want to fight for codes that protect people but make sense too. Well if talking about scat and its usefulness didn't scare you away then I know you are as passionate as I am.

There is so much more to say but I fear I have talked your ears off so I will end this post.

3 years ago
Hi Kelda Miller,

I have recently jumped into a project. I am planning to build a cabin and small farm or garden in true Permiculture style. I can't see myself stopping in one place yet so I want to rent my small house as cheaply as possible in order to give people a quality place to live but also a demonstration of how we can live comfortably with all the modern world offers without having to harm the natural world that has so much to teach us.

In the spirit of waiting to get to know people in person I wont say too much about myself but will try to give you a feel for myself. I meet all your requirements I am very spiritual or try to be, it isn't something I always continuously do but it is the source of peace and progress in my life that grounds me even when I am not actively trying to listen. I don't believe that age should have any affect on judgement it is only as real as we make it in my opinion however I do hope to find somebody who shares my youthful energy and loves being active. I am trying to be more of a participant in my community but it is a little hard because I tend to keep entering new communities in order to experience more and challenge myself more. I am looking for someone who might want to help me on my project but I hope that I can find a woman interested who might also eventually develop into a life long partner.

My project wont start for real until spring of 2017 and it wont be easy to start i will be camping on my land and working a part time job to pay for the construction. It will be a lot of hard work, learning experiences, and difficulties but I am excited and I would love to have someone just as excited to try new ideas join me.

I hope your search for the right one brings you the person you are looking for,

I think It will show to the side of my post but just encase my name is Elias.
3 years ago