Tuesday, March 24, 2009

This is a cool roof installation we did last year-starting with Thermax insulation board with a radiant foil backing over the existing asphalt shingles and furring strips vertically over the rafters.
Then we install furring strip(1x4) horizontally `over that. This gives you toe boards as well, and facilitates air flow from ridge to peak.
Here we are putting on the ridge cap with a little rigde horse we made for this purpose.
The chimney is usually the last to get finished...
This is an energy saving installation as it cuts the heat load tremendously and is covered by a 30% tax credit this year. A very good investment at about 3 dollars a square foot for labor and 10 dollars a square foot for materials.
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Monday, March 9, 2009

Zero Energy by global homes design

The Spiral Rancher. Here is a Fly by of a house we designed last year as a passive solar, wood heated, solar chimney cooled, wind powered house on the top of a bluff overlooking Perry Lake in Northeast Kansas.

And a house for an urban infill lot on a corner in an undesirable area of town to screen off the neighbors and create a tranquil space in a city setting. We call this one The Fence House, and it is passive and active solar, and produces enough electricity to be zero energy, has radiant floors, a loft space for kids, and a car/bike port for a quick ride to the center. It was designed for a lot at 12th and Haskell in Lawrence Ks.

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Monday, March 2, 2009

Use for surplus equipment in Iraq

I heard the story on NPR today about all the surplus equipment and supplies, including tons of concrete barriers that will be left behind as we start to withdraw troops. One Idea I had was to use the concrete barriers as foundations for houses to leave the Iraqis, instead of a mountain of trash.
The standard road barrier is an excellent foundation block, and shipping containers can be used as houses with just a few modifications.
Turning lemons into lemonade!
I don't know the soil conditions there, but it seems if they have a compaction of 2000 lbs/ft, it would work. The other thing there should be a surplus of is shipping containers. Old humvees, and suburbans should be plentiful as well, and those could be turned into solar panels, or compact living arrangements if cut and welded together.
Excuse me I digress. It is typical of people to want to waste if they have the chance. The thing I don't understand about my Latino workers is that they love to waste materials, money on lunch, cokes and cars, clothes etc. It must be the new found status in not being forced into conservation.
It is the good life, and therefor I don't care, because I can afford it. This is the mindset we have to change. For example what if we were to convince all the new wealthy folks that it was pulling down their status to be wasteful. It is expensive to be poor. The longer a family has money, it seems, the less important it is to show it. Old Money contra New money.
Hmm, how do we do it?
Having stuff weighs you down, makes you less able to adapt. If you need something- rent it, and let someone else have the headache of storing, maintaining, and selling it later for less than paid.
Shipping containers must be the perfect form of housing. If we want to move, we just pack everything inside, send it off, unpack it and move in. Just like the push button house: http://www.architectureandhygiene.com/PBHouse/PBH.html actually it was Donald Duck that popularized the push button house when he was camping with Pluto.
Her are the plans for a 750 Sf house that we are building in Kansas, that has been modified to meet the climate in the desert.
It would be made of insulated containers with a insulated concrete cap poured on top to help hold then down and keep some thermal mass between you and the sun.
This should cost aroung 10,000 to put up and anothe r10,000 to finish. Not bad for 750 SF. In case you were wondering.
anyway I'm turning into a pumpkin, so we'll keep you posted another day.