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Old 10-20-08, 02:32 PM   #1
Lurking Renovator
Join Date: Oct 2008
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Default Some things we're trying to accomplish

This is basically a cut-n-paste from my post on ecomodder. I figured it'd be better to have it here. It's just a few things we're doing and a few things we're going to do in the near future, God willing.

The first two things we did is skirt the mobile home and add coolseal to the roof. At that point we stopped running the central AC unit and began using a window unit (1020w/9a) and a fan to direct the cooler air wherever we are in the living room with no air cooling rooms we don't spend time in. Before we did these things, the central AC unit ran all day long and the house never got below 85 degrees (we live in the SE U.S.). The bill was around $230 dollars a month. This dropped the bill to around $160-$180.

We had already done the basics like replacing carbon filament bulbs with incandescents (compact florescents don't fit in sockets). Closing vents in unused rooms (ineffective), hooking all electronics to a kill switch to eliminate electric usage in the unit when turned off and turning off the hot water heater all but 3 hours a day.

The major project that's current is the homebrew exxon tarp (front porch):

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This was almost a MUST. When I put the mobile home in this spot, we weren't able to place it in a direction that would make it solar passive without using up valuable space in the yard. We have a little livestock so that was a consideration. With the mobile home running NE to SE instead of E to W, the sun heated and entire side (72' of aluminum) right along with the roof. That porch will eliminate around 90% of direct sunlight on the outer walls, saving cooling costs even more. Never mind the date in the photo, the camera has permanently reset itself. The photo was taken last week.

I need a few more bags of concrete before I put the metal on the roof and that will be cool sealed as well.

Another thing I have been considering is using the pond in back for cooling instead of the window unit. This will require more money but if I can plan it well enough and come up with the materials, it like the porch, wont have construction costs because we'll do it ourselves. The pond is VERY close to the house.

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If you garden, you might want to consider hydroponics to save on the water used for irrigation and to save labor for other more important things:

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Don't get me wrong, there's still work there but no tilling or weeding. 100lbs of cucumbers came from this home built system every two weeks in summer. lol. Eat up.

The next project is a combination grill, rocket stove, hot water heater. The housing will be made of a portland cement insulator using vermiculite as the aggregate. In the exhaust vent, I want to coil 50' of copper tubing hooked directly to a magnetic drive pump to charge the tubing and pump the water into the tank unless the regular water pressure is slow enough to let the water heat properly. I want also to build a larger hot water tank so this will only need to be used for hot water every 5 or 6 days. I'm thinking 100+ gallons since there are only two of us here. The current hot water heater is 30 gallons. Stock for mobile homes these days.

Eventually, I hope to enclose the porch with strawbale walls, move the mobile home out and finish construction of a complete strawbale home. Maybe one day it'll be possible.

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Old 04-24-09, 02:19 PM   #2
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Straw bale homes are pretty neat. I have been looking into them lately, and there seem to be lots of options. You can check out to see some videos and ideas. Of course the guy is trying to sell his stuff, but if you spend enough time poking around, you can get most of the information right there. He also has a weekly one minute video that he puts out that answers some questions he gets, and if you watch enough you get a feel for what he's doing. He also sells videos on how to build, and techniques that he uses. I think it would be worth the $60 for the DVDs since it will save time and money in the building process, and when you have questions you can ask him too. As far as I can tell, it's about the best resource on the web for learning about building a straw bale house.
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Old 04-24-09, 03:32 PM   #3
The Gardener
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Someone at my work built a straw bale house. They love it.

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