Jo Simple

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since Mar 11, 2011
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Recent posts by Jo Simple

bluesimplicity Hatfield wrote:I'm gonna see Mike in a few days.  I'm thinking it would be good to make a podcast with him.  What would be some questions you all would like me to ask him?


So many questions....

It seems to me an earthship is a first thought design. If you collected the rainwater from the shed roof in a cistern for drinking water, would you eliminate the problem of drainage?

Earthships have an atrium/greenhouse across the front. What are your opinions about that? I noticed you had one planned for your ridge home in the book, but I didn't see it in the video.

I live in a humid climate. How would you deal with humidity in an underground house?

Thinking about building a earth sheltered home near a quarry. Since the local materials are stone, would it be problematic to use stone instead of wood for the walls? I didn't know if the stones would settle or shift with gravity.  Would it be dangerous in an earthquake? Besides being local, I thought it would be a good passive solar material. Can you make an earth sheltered home passive solar? I didn't get the sense that Mike's homes incorporated passive solar.

How big can the uphill patio be realistically?

How deep does the earth need to be around the sides of the home to get the benefits of an earth sheltered home?

I too am very confused about the insulation. Rob Roy says insulate everything from below footings to walls to ceilings. John Hait says to insulate above the frost line and out 20 feet in all directions. Mike says not to insulate beyond the soil.








Paul, did you get a chance to do this podcast? If so, can you post the link?
6 years ago
I'm gonna see Mike in a few days.  I'm thinking it would be good to make a podcast with him.  What would be some questions you all would like me to ask him?


So many questions....

It seems to me an earthship is a first thought design. If you collected the rainwater from the shed roof in a cistern for drinking water, would you eliminate the problem of drainage?

Earthships have an atrium/greenhouse across the front. What are your opinions about that? I noticed you had one planned for your ridge home in the book, but I didn't see it in the video.

I live in a humid climate. How would you deal with humidity in an underground house?

Thinking about building a earth sheltered home near a quarry. Since the local materials are stone, would it be problematic to use stone instead of wood for the walls? I didn't know if the stones would settle or shift with gravity.  Would it be dangerous in an earthquake? Besides being local, I thought it would be a good passive solar material. Can you make an earth sheltered home passive solar? I didn't get the sense that Mike's homes incorporated passive solar.

How big can the uphill patio be realistically?

How deep does the earth need to be around the sides of the home to get the benefits of an earth sheltered home?

I too am very confused about the insulation. Rob Roy says insulate everything from below footings to walls to ceilings. John Hait says to insulate above the frost line and out 20 feet in all directions. Mike says not to insulate beyond the soil.




7 years ago
Mike Oehler mentions he doesn't like homes with atriums. I understand the reason he gives as why have windows look out on other windows. Yet, he mentions there are other reasons he doesn't like them. Does anyone know of the other reasons?

My other question is about how he defines atriums. It looked like he was describing an inner courtyard. I was thinking along the lines of an Earthship with the front face being a greenhouse. Does anyone know what Mike Oehler thinks about that idea?

Finally, how would one handle the humidity in a house with a greenhouse/atrium attached? My part of the country gets powerfully uncomfortable from the humidity for most of the summer. One of the appeals to an underground house is to escape the heat and humidity.
7 years ago
Pros of greenhouses:
   Extended growing season
   Make great airlocks to your home
   *sometimes* can be used to heat your home
   *if* build with reclaimed materials, earth friendly
   Growing locally reduces fuel needed to truck produce long distances
   A good place for your soul surrounded by plants and growing things
   Can be used for more than just plants: raise fish using aquaponics, rabbits could provide manure, keep chicks warm, treat gray water, etc.
   Mike Oehler says if you do it right, they can be super in his book THE EARTH-SHELTERED SOLAR GREENHOUSE BOOK

Cons of greenhouses:
   Cost
   Store bought requires a lot of resources
   Type of glazing can reduce different spectrum of light
   Cut off from natural systems such as rain, insects for pollination, etc. You must do nature's job of watering, pollinating, etc.  Not working with nature but against it
   Hard to regulate the temp (may need to heat it in the winter and easily overheats in the summer without vents & fans)  Even temp swings between day and night.
   Must be thoughtfully placed to gain the most amount of winter sun (site often not taken into careful consideration)
   High humidity inside can cause mold
   Building materials degrade quickly due to intense sun and humidity
   Sunlight can be blinding in winter
   Indirect sunlight (using solid roofs, overhangs, shade trees in attempt not to overheat) in the summer means plants leggy/don't thrive
   Severe weather (heavy snow, floods, hail) can easily destroy a greenhouse

Questions I still have:
   Did I miss any of your ideas?
   Has anyone ever put their beehive in a greenhouse for the winter? Is this a bad idea for some reason I haven't thought of yet?
   I am so confused about whether to insulate the floor. Some places I've read say to dig down to below the frost line. The heat from the Earth will keep the greenhouse a constant temp. When you do this, you want to insulate the walls down to the frost line so the Earthen walls do not absorb the heat. Other places I've read says that you need to insulate the floor even below the frost line. Which is it? And Why?
  What does Mike Oehler specifically say about the amount of glazing in greenhouses?
7 years ago