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Thread: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

  1. #36
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    https://www.google.com/search?q=fore...ri#fpstate=lie
    There is this option, too.

    Peace,
    Robert

  2. #37
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    You really do need to come check out this joint. We are getting close to our old spot. Baby steps.

    Peace,
    Robert
    In a few weeks - ill ride over.
    Be wary of your critics, at peace with your decisions, and work hard to be a better man.

  3. #38
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Hoppe View Post
    In a few weeks - ill ride over.
    Oh, Man. That sounds great!

    Peace,
    Robert

  4. #39
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    https://www.google.com/search?q=fore...ri#fpstate=lie
    There is this option, too.

    Peace,
    Robert
    Thats interesting, Something like that dug into the side of a hill might work.
    thanks Rob.


    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  5. #40
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Hoppe View Post
    I like this style house very much. Modern and open concept. Solar and hot water panels on roof.
    I note the trend away from kitchens hidden away in their own room toward having that work area within the main living space so the cook is not isolated from the rest of the occupants.
    I like that.

    Nice house by the way, that big covered porch would be a great space.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  6. #41
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    Surprised no one has mentioned double wall construction. Warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer, and for hardly any more money or trouble, and whatever more it takes is so well offset by future savings, comfort and appearance. Deep windows and shelving can be beautiful.

    This is a little too much for me, but it get's the idea across.


    You can do the same thing with hay bale construction.


  7. #42
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    Quote Originally Posted by Duncan Gibbs View Post
    John, one thing to bear in mind is that SIPs are basically metal clad EPS panels; the same material that went up in smoke and flames on Grenfell. This isn't such a huge drama on a small house, particularly if there are no real possibility of bushfire attacks, but it is something to think about when choosing your materials. There are SIPs that are fire retardant, but they come at a premium.

    Also, I strongly suggest looking at architects in your area/region. Look at their web sites and what kind of buildings they've produced. Go and visit some, and meet the architects and, if possible, the clients if you see examples you like. Talk to the local chapter of the New Zealand Institute of Architects and seek their advice. Also look at builders and what projects they've completed.

    Get a fixed lump sum fee for the architect and an 'all-in' fixed price from the builder using a proven form of contract that covers issues like variations, contingencies, building standards (which should also be provided for in the construction documentation drawings and specification) and if timing is an issue, a liquidated damages clause, as well as contract retentions, which are usually set at 10% of the total before practical completion and 5% until final completion. Warranties should also be issued on the build.

    Good engineers that understand and are sympathetic to designers and designs are gold, since they will help your architect fulfil your design brief.

    Drop me a PM if you want me to call and talk to you if you'd like to discuss anything, as I have a plan for my mobile phone where I can make IDD calls up to 300 minutes for free per month.
    Good thought Duncan, I had similar worries about fire, so called on one of the manufacturers, picked up a chunk of foam ( with their consent) brought it home and put it on a fire, it took forever to catch and only burned as long as flame was applied, stopped as soon as I pulled it away. The SIPs that I'm looking at are made of OSB with a flame resistant cloth cover on each side of the foam. Also called and looked over a house, much bigger and more ostentatious than I would be comfortable in, but was impressed at how it managed temperature and how quiet it is. Having the hearing issues so common among us older guys who've worked in noisy environments most of our lives that latter is very important.
    I've two architect friends, both interested enough to be involved on an advisory basis, and have an architectural engineer in mind. All boating people by the way, one with one of my boats and the other two people using similar craft.
    I cant really design the house until such time as I have the location, you'd know better than most how location specific a house design should be but I like to check out ideas, look for inspiration and information so when I get to the point of action I'll be well informed as to the possibilities.

    Your offer is much appreciated, and for sure I'll keep it in mind. I could be a couple of years away from action as yet, my sisters and I are working through the issues of getting permission to subdivide a chunk of land within the city, which is not where I want to live, the permission process is burning money at a huge rate but all going well will see us reasonably well heeled at the end.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  8. #43
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    Quote Originally Posted by lupussonic View Post
    I've been quite taken with steel frames buildings the last few years. There are companies that started out putting up agricultural style buildings, that now erect 'homes'. They have very good insulation and window systems. All piping is internal, as is electric. Very quick to put up, lasts many years and easy to put in extra floors / stairs etc as an afterthought. Earthquake / hurricane / fire proof. That technology in the hands of an eco designer would work well IMHO.
    The last house I designed and built used steel portal frames, they came from a barn building company, custom made to my drawings and I got them to erect them and put the roof on, I carried on from there using subcontractors for the likes of the floor pour and the plumbing, did all the rest myself including the electrical ( 18 power points in the main living room) and kitchen. It was designed with a real focus on passive solar heating, Daughter and her family live in it now, and its working really well. They have windows open pretty much all winter.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  9. #44
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    Dad kept putting eco tiny/ alternative house under my nose. I remember one was a big black barn that had a large downstairs work area, I'm trying to find the details John. Based on agricultural steel framing etc as your familiar with, it was around 40k, it might have been the Barhaus.

    The UK self build association runs an annual competition for architects for lower cost more radical/ atypical housing in the 40k-75k range depending on the year...

    This Barnhaus (Ed Green Pentan architects) could be live upstairs work downstairs. He has a few variable in form. This one (100 sqm) was costed to 41k, but depends on what you buy, and what things cost in NZ.



    The costs breakdown is quite usefull:-

    http://www.nacsba.org.uk/images/shoe...3_ed-green.pdf









    2013
    http://www.nacsba.org.uk/selfbuildon...tring2013top16

    2014 (city site)
    http://www.nacsba.org.uk/selfbuildon...shoestring2014

    2015
    http://www.nacsba.org.uk/selfbuildon...tring2015top16

    2016
    http://www.nacsba.org.uk/selfbuildonashoestring?id=77
    Last edited by Edward Pearson; 10-13-2017 at 10:58 AM.

  10. #45
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    Hey nice computer V dubus parked in the back.

  11. #46
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    "I cant really design the house until such time as I have the location, you'd know better than most how location specific a house design should be but I like to check out ideas, look for inspiration and information so when I get to the point of action I'll be well informed as to the possibilities."

    Find a spot with a clear view to your NE, NZed appears to be at a latitude that you would appreciate the morning winter sun in a passive solar house design. As is universal in the hot season, beware western glazing. I look forward to following your progress here. Good luck! / Jim

  12. #47
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    Quote Originally Posted by mmd View Post
    When I was considering building a house a few years back, I looked into SIP construction and was quite taken by the technology. I was also interested in a "dog-trot" house style for its ability to separate guest/kids bedrooms from the main living space (but I would have used the separate space as my office). This is one of the designs I looked at as the jumping-off point for what would have been a semi-custom house design:
    I like this floor but for two points.

    1) The master bedroom should have a private entrance to the bath, and

    2) The two bedrooms should share a Hollywood bath.
    Rattling the teacups.

  13. #48
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    You may want to look at "home by design" by Sarah Susanka for some ideas. Her book is a primer of the "how" and "what's going on" of many of the concepts which are demonstrated in her desperately best selling series of books starting with The Not So Big House. The book I've flagged is what she says that she wanted to write in the first place, an introduction to many of the design questions and principles which architects in her school of thought use when they work through ideas with clients, or then tweak those ideas into draft and finished designs.

    Bear in mind that Susanka's objective is to create spaces which feel welcoming and warm rather than challenging, and as a result will feel less than razor-sharp cutting edge and provocative. Her lines of approach clearly won't be to everyone's liking. One of the formative principles in her own work is how to make smaller spaces which perform excellently in their intended functions, rather than building a larger and ultimately less useful space.

    I'm not current on the energy efficiency front, but the "passive house" approach has a number of folks rooting for it. Not least because it's rooted in actual metrics and design recommendations for how the structure performs in terms of energy efficiency.
    I went and got "The not so big house" out of the library, it had some interesting thinking in there but the pictures and designs that she has chosen as examples of her thinking suggest that she and I are on very different pages. The pics are of houses or spaces which are to my eye very visually cluttered, overdecorated and overly complex. The highly detailed work makes the spaces look very small, far too "busy" and complicated. There was only a couple of places shown in the whole book that I could bear to live in.
    That plus her idea of a "not so big" house is about 3 times what I'm aiming at which is a comfortable single person with occasional visitors home, and 80 sq metres is plenty when a 40 ft motor cruiser boat has been home for quite a few years.
    The other issue is that all that complication and fine detail costs, and costs big. But it was worth looking through the book, there are a few ideas in there that I'd not seen before and even though it is very different to what I'd prefer, it helped confirm my tastes in living spaces.
    So thanks for recommending that, it was a useful read.

    On the "Passive house" front, I've been researching that for some time, have some experience there and am now puttering around with "thought experiments (to quote LF Herreshoff) on Trombe walls and reflector pools pumping heated water into a high mass reservoir from which heat can be drawn at a later time. Thats sort of a hybrid between passive and active in that some outside energy is needed to run the pump system but a solar panel will take care of that.
    The other prospective method of gathering and holding heat is to put several tons of high density concrete into an insulated box just inside some north ( southern hemisphere remember) facing windows that will be shaded in the summer and in full sun in the winter. The top surface stained a dark colour which will pick up the heat and release it overnight. I've done that with a plain concrete slab and it worked a treat, this would be a long step further along that path.

    John Welsford
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  14. #49
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Pearson View Post
    Dad kept putting eco tiny/ alternative house under my nose. I remember one was a big black barn that had a large downstairs work area, I'm trying to find the details John. Based on agricultural steel framing etc as your familiar with, it was around 40k, it might have been the Barhaus.

    The UK self build association runs an annual competition for architects for lower cost more radical/ atypical housing in the 40k-75k range depending on the year...

    This Barnhaus (Ed Green Pentan architects) could be live upstairs work downstairs. He has a few variable in form. This one (100 sqm) was costed to 41k, but depends on what you buy, and what things cost in NZ.



    The costs breakdown is quite usefull:-

    http://www.nacsba.org.uk/images/shoe...3_ed-green.pdf









    2013
    http://www.nacsba.org.uk/selfbuildon...tring2013top16

    2014 (city site)
    http://www.nacsba.org.uk/selfbuildon...shoestring2014

    2015
    http://www.nacsba.org.uk/selfbuildon...tring2015top16

    2016
    http://www.nacsba.org.uk/selfbuildonashoestring?id=77
    There are some very good ideas among these, thanks Ed. The "dream" is "Long driveway, small house, big shed". I've a town in mind, one that is far enough from the noise of the big city but which has enough in the way of facilities to be liveable, and a decent harbour with a good mooring field. I've been researching big sheds, and the cheapest way to do those is to just buy one of the steel framed barns as you said. Erected they're surprisingly cheap per area and very low maintenance.
    The house though, I've a bit of a bee in my bonnet about doing something that is somewhat removed from the ordinary three bed box, most homes I visit make me just shake my head and I'd prefer to do better.
    The project is some way off yet and researching layouts, systems and construction is more of a hobby than a reality until a couple of trigger events occur, but I'm hoping to be well informed by the time the decisions are to be made.


    JohnWelsford
    Last edited by john welsford; 10-16-2017 at 07:05 PM.
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    I haven’t seen it yet, but my mother just finished her home. She’s going for LEED Platinum certification.

    R42 in the walls and floor. R68 in the ceiling.
    \"A little too tall, coulda used a few pounds...\"

  16. #51
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    Quote Originally Posted by Beowolf View Post
    I haven’t seen it yet, but my mother just finished her home. She’s going for LEED Platinum certification.

    R42 in the walls and floor. R68 in the ceiling.
    I've been reading up on LEED certification, its not used here but there are some interesting guidelines for insulation and air circulation.
    We have a very mild climate here, 30deg C is big news at one end, and we dont have frosts, at least in the area where I'm planning to be. Not tropical but not cold either. Insulation and passive heating is desirable but not nearly as necessary as is the case in much of North America. I have to say I'm pleased about that, pics of deep snow give me the shivers and its not that common to find any form of aircon in a Kiwi house, just open the windows.

    I'd be interested though in your impressions.

    John Welsford
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  17. #52
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    Quote Originally Posted by oznabrag View Post
    I like this floor but for two points.

    1) The master bedroom should have a private entrance to the bath, and

    2) The two bedrooms should share a Hollywood bath.
    Thats one of the nicest small house plans I've seen, thanks for posting it.

    John Welsford
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  18. #53
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    Hello John, I'm an architect here in Oz and have long admired the art of building small. For many centuries, one of the tenets of good architectural design has been the idea (myth) of the 'primitive hut'. Though global warming and energy crises have put the tiny house back in popularity amongst those who are well aware of the need to respond to those issues, I have enjoyed reading many architectural books and treatises written over the centuries which have extolled the tiny or primitive hut as a sensible reaction to the excesses of their time, and a good way of re-grounding fanciful ideas of architectural fashion and excess.

    The classic book on this theme is Joseph Rykwert's 'On Adam's House in Paradise', which is a great read. However, my personal favourite among these books is a more recent one by Ann Cline called A Hut of One's Own: Life outside the Circle of Architecture. https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/hut-ones-own I highly recommend this read. What is nice about these books, to my mind, is that they tackle the poetics of the simple and good life, and of the importance of one's dwelling place as a powerful stimulant of the soul.

    Your particular site, location, orientation, climate etc are all additional issues, as are likewise, the technological accessories that can assist in living in an environmentally responsible way. You are already onto some good possible solutions there, and new technologies are appearing every day. I would also add my support for Duncan's suggestions about using recycled materials wherever possible. However, I don't see the environmental issues as being the primary drivers of the design of the ideal small house, as I don't see the house as it was once famously described: a machine for living in. I must say, I also loved Bruce's pictures of his great house. It's a beaut.

    One thing I think is that for sure, when things get smaller and simpler, and life more precious as one ages, the character, feel, and poetics of the little houses and gardens we inhabit become more important to our physical and spiritual well-being.

    Good luck with the project and I look forward to seeing the eventual outcome. Cheers
    John
    Last edited by johnno; 10-17-2017 at 02:52 AM.
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterSibley View Post
    I took this book and another more in-depth book by the University of Minnesota Press, designed and built a passive solar, earth sheltered home in 1984. Very good read, I still have my original copies of both books around here somewhere.

  20. #55
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    My house is 20 feesquare. 2 story shed roof. Floor is 6 inches of cement on top of 6 inches of styrofoam.6 inch walls,10 inch overhead.(fg insulation).small woodstove.foam inserts for windows.
    Dead simple.No pipes in the slab. One door.cost $6000 to build in 1980.
    Over time we tiled the floor ,made the window treatment nicer and installed a heat pump.

    In 1985 I built a twin, 2 miles away.


    ..also tacked on a160 sq ft bedroom. Built of the doug fir that grew here.
    Folks often ask me how I can afford to live half the year on my boat in the Caribbean. Living below my means, like this house, is the answer.
    Thats the way to go. I slapped this one together in 1976, back when you could buy a sling of cedar fencing for peanuts - fencing boards 20 feet long and a full one inch thick, better than anything you can find these days. I'd love to go back and salvage the 4X10 fir beams I put in this one.

    I started out with a 24 foot cube, then expanded here and there. Put it in the middle of 5 acres. I cleared just enough room for the house with a swede saw - a stupid endeavor - then got smart and rented the biggest chain saw I could find to clean up. Never had a mortgage, just kept trading up after selling this one. Living simply and below one's means is a great way to create wealth.


  21. #56
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    We did this. We had a house built in 1994. We hired an retired architect who used an early CAD program and he drew up the dimensioned sketches we built from.

    But we were very involved in that design. The thing he had NEVER heard a client say before was my request for, "the smallest house you can design that fits these criteria", and gave him a list. I did not want a large house.

    A house is a cost, a liability, until you sell it.

    You don't have to get carried away -- there are simple things. The first is SITING -- where do you put the house on your property, and which way do you point it? THERE IS NO REASON TO ORIENT YOUR HOUSE TO THE ROAD. The road is irrelevant. Site your house for the sun, and the wind. And perhaps the view or the ground features. You want lots of sun in winter, and lots of shade in summer. Trees can help with this -- don't cut them down "to let some light in" without mapping the path of the sun in winter or summer.

    The sun rises in the east, sets in the west, and goes through south at noon. Sailor/Navigators all know this, but most city people don't. And the sun is high in the sky in summer, and low in the sky in winter. This influences your windows, skylights, and soffets.

    Figure out the prevailing winds, winter and summer. You want ventilation in summer, and protection in winter.

    If you have a basement, go extra deep into the ground. Dig a 9 foot hole instead of 8. This acts as a temperature moderator -- you can circulate air from the basement in summer to reduce your AC bill.

    We kept the trees, built wide soffets to shade the walls, dug a 9 ft basement, and thus have never had to use air conditioning in 23 years -- a huge savings of money.

    There's more... but the thing is to adapt your house to the site -- not the other way around.

    Dave

  22. #57
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Wright View Post
    Thats the way to go. I slapped this one together in 1976, back when you could buy a sling of cedar fencing for peanuts - fencing boards 20 feet long and a full one inch thick, better than anything you can find these days. I'd love to go back and salvage the 4X10 fir beams I put in this one.

    I started out with a 24 foot cube, then expanded here and there. Put it in the middle of 5 acres. I cleared just enough room for the house with a swede saw - a stupid endeavor - then got smart and rented the biggest chain saw I could find to clean up. Never had a mortgage, just kept trading up after selling this one. Living simply and below one's means is a great way to create wealth.

    "Living simply and below ones means is a great way to create wealth". Very wise, not a common view but so very true.

    I like both of those houses, they're about the right size, simple and a good fit for their surroundings.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  23. #58
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    Quote Originally Posted by johnno View Post
    Hello John, I'm an architect here in Oz and have long admired the art of building small. For many centuries, one of the tenets of good architectural design has been the idea (myth) of the 'primitive hut'. Though global warming and energy crises have put the tiny house back in popularity amongst those who are well aware of the need to respond to those issues, I have enjoyed reading many architectural books and treatises written over the centuries which have extolled the tiny or primitive hut as a sensible reaction to the excesses of their time, and a good way of re-grounding fanciful ideas of architectural fashion and excess.

    The classic book on this theme is Joseph Rykwert's 'On Adam's House in Paradise', which is a great read. However, my personal favourite among these books is a more recent one by Ann Cline called A Hut of One's Own: Life outside the Circle of Architecture. https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/hut-ones-own I highly recommend this read. What is nice about these books, to my mind, is that they tackle the poetics of the simple and good life, and of the importance of one's dwelling place as a powerful stimulant of the soul.

    Your particular site, location, orientation, climate etc are all additional issues, as are likewise, the technological accessories that can assist in living in an environmentally responsible way. You are already onto some good possible solutions there, and new technologies are appearing every day. I would also add my support for Duncan's suggestions about using recycled materials wherever possible. However, I don't see the environmental issues as being the primary drivers of the design of the ideal small house, as I don't see the house as it was once famously described: a machine for living in. I must say, I also loved Bruce's pictures of his great house. It's a beaut.

    One thing I think is that for sure, when things get smaller and simpler, and life more precious as one ages, the character, feel, and poetics of the little houses and gardens we inhabit become more important to our physical and spiritual well-being.

    Good luck with the project and I look forward to seeing the eventual outcome. Cheers
    John
    Out library system doesnt have Ann Clines book, so I'll see about getting an ebook copy, at present I'm making a bit of a hobby of "designing houses" to suit imaginary locations, its fun incorporating ideas as they come, and looking back over the series of drawings to see the progression of style and method. This thread ( thank you to all who've contributed and please keep the ideas coming) has been great fun and quite a help.

    Thanks Jonno,

    John Welsford
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    John, if you are able, get a copy of the 'pooter program "3D Home Architect". While not as powerful as, say, AutoCAD, it is a nice, easy, fast, and inexpensive program for doing preliminary house designs. Here in Canada, it costs about CDN$50. When I was considering building, I found it to be a wonderful tool for modifying existing floor plans that I was interested in, and it has a lovely feature that gives you a breakdown of materials and costs for your project. I have also found it great for "rearranging the furniture" when I moved from one house to another. I have even used it as a modelling tool at various boatshops to determine how to move hulls and molds in and out of the shop without encountering fixed structures. If one were an experienced builder, it can be used as the sole design tool, but I viewed it more as a tool for preparing detailed 'sketches' to take to a builder or architect for further refinement. It includes 3D views from any angle plus 3D 'fly-arounds', and integrates with AutoCAD seamlessly. Besides all that, it is rather fun to play with.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    I'll second that - great tool.

    What are you doing about it?




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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    Well, no reply to my double wall construction suggestion, but I'll go ahead with another, and that is that I agree with Dave's suggestion about a deep basement. The basement is the cheapest floor space in a house, and in many ways the most useful. It provides storage, a place to put the washer, water heater and pressure tank where water on the floor is of little consequence, room for the drier and freezer, ready access to most of the plumbing and electrical and, as Dave pointed out, temperature modulation. It's also a good place to stash a few water tanks for solar heat storage. You can heat the house (and the water tanks) with a wood stove in the basement as well, no mess upstairs, and it heats the entire upstairs floor evenly. A wood stove is good backup heat in the event of power outages and fuel shortages, and the water tanks provide a reservoir in the event of same. If you put just a small amount of bleach in the water it will stay clean and potable, or at least as potable as that yucky chlorinated city water so many consume.
    Last edited by Gib Etheridge; 10-17-2017 at 02:11 PM.

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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    Gib, I agree with your double-wall suggestion, but would opine that it really isn't necessary in John's little slice of heaven. It sure would be good where I live, though. All that stuff about basements is good, too, except for it being cheap. At least around here, the costs of excavation, concrete, waterproofing, insulation, and back-filling can be daunting.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    Most of the excavating needs to be done anyway for the footings and foundation. Plus, one can live in the basement while building the rest of the house.

    The double walls or thick hay bale walls are worth it just for the aesthetics, and just because it isn't as necessary, it will still save oodles of energy in the long run. Just above freezing is still cold, and 30 degrees C. is way too damned hot for this dog.


  29. #64
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    Jun 2000
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    Gib, with respect, I gotta push back on the post above. Firstly, you must live in an area in which it is much, much easier to dig a hole in the ground. Secondly, you can't live in the basement of an unfinished and under-construction house where I live (and many others that I know of) - municipal regulations 'n' all. Thirdly, the extra-thick walls cost money and the savings therein become victim to the laws of diminishing returns. I crunched the numbers for a SIP-walled house for 6", 8" and 10" thick walls (which, in principle, can stand-in for other insulation types), and found that there was significant heat-loss reduction between 6" and 8", but the additional costs of going from 8" to 10" were enough that pay-back period by the savings in heating costs was something like 25 or 30 years. So in my calcs, the thicker walls would become merely aesthetics, and expensive ones at that. Sorry.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  30. #65
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    Nothing to be sorry about, it's not like you hit me.

    I bet those insulated panels are pretty expensive. I wonder if the numbers would come out the same if the walls were built with 2 of 2x4 walls 16 inches outside to inside with 3.5 inches of glass in the outer wall and 9 inches of glass between the 2 walls.

    It's not legal to live in an unfinished house here in the Gulf Islands either, but no one would know if one were sleeping there, and it saves a lot of time and money to do so. It may even be legal where John is, or at least possible if he were careful. What's to lose? I don't know if he's contemplating doing the building himself, or if he would even be interested in living in a basement for a while, but the idea may be good for some one else somewhere else, I've seen it done a few times.

  31. #66
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    Aug 2008
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    An interesting Grand Designs last night, I though John. Pavilions constructed with SIPs, lightly touching the ground with no concrete. I liked the way the buildings created the inner courtyard-like space.



    I wonder if that method would be permitted in Christchurch - the flood defence aspect seems to ring a bell with Seanz's rebuild requirements.
    'When I leave I don't know what I'm hoping to find. When I leave I don't know what I'm leaving behind...'

  32. #67
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
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    Western Washington
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    It's fun to look at the current "tiny house" craze. I see otherwise intelligent people spending over $60 K for a completed 200 square foot (or less) tiny house. Something so small that inevitably they will give it up after a year or so. Something so simple that they could have built it with their own hands for one tenth or less of the purchase price.

    A reasonable small house of 800 to 1200 square feet can be comfortable and a pleasure to live in and build. The secret is to do everything yourself, and I mean everything. Most semi rural county building departments are helpful, and there's a wealth of infomation available for preparing and submitting your own plans for building permits.

    If your site isn't too precarious you can rent a tractor with blade and backhoe for a few days. When you're young, concrete work isn't hard, electrical work and plumbing is relatively easy, and lumber yards will deliver truckloads for free. We made it a matter of principle not to hire a single contractor. I put in the septic system by hand, the tank company placed the tank into the hole I dug, probably a silly application of hand labor, but I never paid a cent for hired labor. When you're finished you know exactly what you have, and plenty of satisfaction to go with the money you've saved. We lived in a $1500 travel trailer while building, and sold it for $1400 when we finished.

    Back in 1979 the architect Leslie Armstrong published "The Little House," a nice "how to" manual for variations of a basic 20 foot square house, quite similar to the one posted by Wizzbang. It's the sort of thing that shows what can be practically done, and minimally but comfortably lived in, in contrast to some of the current "tiny house" abominations or McMansion follies.

    http://lesliearmstrongarchitect.com/...e-little-house

  33. #68
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    Sep 2002
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    Quote Originally Posted by mmd View Post
    John, if you are able, get a copy of the 'pooter program "3D Home Architect". While not as powerful as, say, AutoCAD, it is a nice, easy, fast, and inexpensive program for doing preliminary house designs. Here in Canada, it costs about CDN$50. When I was considering building, I found it to be a wonderful tool for modifying existing floor plans that I was interested in, and it has a lovely feature that gives you a breakdown of materials and costs for your project. I have also found it great for "rearranging the furniture" when I moved from one house to another. I have even used it as a modelling tool at various boatshops to determine how to move hulls and molds in and out of the shop without encountering fixed structures. If one were an experienced builder, it can be used as the sole design tool, but I viewed it more as a tool for preparing detailed 'sketches' to take to a builder or architect for further refinement. It includes 3D views from any angle plus 3D 'fly-arounds', and integrates with AutoCAD seamlessly. Besides all that, it is rather fun to play with.
    Thanks for the helpful suggestion Mike, I've got Sketchup which will I think do for a start, but I do get real pleasure from actually holding a pencil in my hand and there seems to be a much better connection between my brain and the paper that way. Your point is valid though and would for sure be useful a bit further along with the process.
    I like the idea of "fly around" and "walk through" views, thats not easy to do with a pencil.
    Costings, while Canadian costings will inevitably be different from ours, it would be handy to be able to make comparisons between one design and another.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  34. #69
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    wales
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    Quote Originally Posted by Gerarddm View Post
    I designed an earth sheltered home system for my architectural thesis in design school; I still think the idea has merit given the right site. .
    Surely earth sheltered houses would be a viable way forward in areas of the US such as 'Tornado Alley'. Aerial shots of acres and acres of exploded wooden houses sacre me to death.
    Yma o hyd

  35. #70
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    Default Re: Architecture, small energy efficient houses

    Quote Originally Posted by john welsford View Post
    Costings, while Canadian costings will inevitably be different from ours, it would be handy to be able to make comparisons between one design and another.

    John Welsford
    Just watch out for that dodgy Canadian tempered hardboard weatherboard!
    'When I leave I don't know what I'm hoping to find. When I leave I don't know what I'm leaving behind...'

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