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New Floorplan

After talking with a gentleman with practical know-how about building homes in NW Arkanasas using "alternative" methods and materials, I've abandoned the "passive solar" plan. In this climate we have to worry a lot more about keeping cool in the summer than keeping warm in the winter.

This change in concept frees up the floorplan, so here is my first post-passive-solar floorplan. My mother suggested that I post it to my LiveJournal to get some feedback on it.

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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 1st, 2005 12:42 am (UTC)
if you are concerned about keeping cool on the summer, you might think about all the glass you have on the south side. will there be a roof on the deck?
May. 1st, 2005 01:12 pm (UTC)
south facing glass
The amount of glass on the south side in this plan represents a drastic reduction over the original plan, but I guess I need to get used to a different view than I had in mind. We have a neighboor to the west, so I don't want many windows on that side.

The deck won't have a roof on it at first. The Southeast corner of the foundation stands about 5.5' off the ground. We need to build the deck just to have a place from which to work on the walls. As for later, I'm not sure.

When we lived in Australia, many of our neighbors had very attractive shade-cloth rigs strategically suspended to keep the sun off of their windows. I haven't seen anything like those sorts of arrangements here in the US. I'll poke around on-line and see what I can have shipped from Oz. Unfortunately, I'd have to pay an import duty on anything I have shipped from down under. :(

We're building with papercrete because it's cheap. Cheap is guiding principle of this project. If I had it to do over again, I would have stayed with our original dimensions. That would have given us 1,500'. After we had the orignial footers dug, my wife and mother agreed that the space was too small, so we added a chamber and now have 2,100 square feet to enclose.
May. 1st, 2005 04:05 am (UTC)
Something that helps me here in Florida is working with natural convection within the structure, in order to keep air flowing. Also deciduous trees to the south and west are essential.
May. 1st, 2005 01:00 pm (UTC)
convection and trees
I've got about three hundred feet of earth tubes buried in foundation to moderate the temperature of incoming air. There's a great big tree to the south, though I may want to put a few more in there once the house is built.
May. 1st, 2005 02:51 pm (UTC)
Re: convection and trees and design
I like the idea of buried tubes, it's a good design.

I'm living here in a conventionally built vintage bungalow but have made a few modifications that draw cool air in from the tile and stone porch on the NE corner.
I don't know anyone else here who lives without AC anymore. But it also takes a willingness to slow down and adapt to the heat. Something that you are not unfamiliar with, if I am correct.

I heat with a mini Jotul and basically find my fuel on the side of the road.

I'd guess that in your region it gets a little hotter, but that your heat season is shorter than ours.

May. 1st, 2005 02:13 pm (UTC)
Here in So Humboldt we get some really hot weather in the summer (113+ f). Originally I wanted to retrofit my cabin with earthshelter type attachments. Then I learned how to wait and watch the site.

Natural convection is key, I have added in windows in the back add-on. Liberal plantings of climbing roses and jasmine essentially shade the south and west sides of my house. The windows to the east give the most light. Some of the back-rooms are very dark, and I would love to have a "solatube" in my kitchen. For my windows right now I have roll-down split-bamboo shades for them for springtime, summer is more hardcore.

My greenhouse which I use to capture passive solar is on the Northwest (facing west) side of the house. It actually adds a lot of warmth in the autumn and spring. My larger greenhouse runs along the south side of the house about five-feet from it. In between are climbing roses and jasmine, which cool the house considerably. With the heft of papercrete, you should not have the same problems with sun. When I first moved back here I roasted! I still need to connect the ducting which will allow me to pump in warm air from the larger greenhouse into my livingroom.

I will poke around for that fabric as well.

The shade loth is somewhere on the internet. While researching lately I have seen it, it lets some light in, while reflecting the heat...this wierd black mesh stuff. Yeah I oughta get some too!

I would suggest considering some "desert" style windows on the west, just so you don't miss an opportunity to circulate air and get some natural light. i know that windows are expensive, if you place them up high, where they will be shaded by the roof overhang in summer, then you will still be able to get light and air into the room.

I like how you have an otside door very near the bathroom, critical for minimizing dirt in the house!

Another idea is bamboo in planters. I have lots of it, sometimes you can find plantings to dig from, sometimes you have to shell out bucks. the bamboo can be moved around, in front of whatever part of the house needs shade, say in front of the deck in summer, off to the side of the house in winter when the gain is most useful. The plants also make lovely shadows on the wall in the house, a sort of painting on the move.

I am working on a "solar appliance station". What I have found in a hot climate is that moving the solar appliances away from the house gives greater flexibility, and increases the contrast in the design by creating outdoor spaces.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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