Monthly Archives: June 2009

Public Radio Fund Drives

LINK

I was denied in a previous year in asking a public radio or tv station for a detailed list of salaries of executives, etc. NPR, PBS, something.

See related: LINK and LINK “I.e., if the station could trim expenses by 1 percent it would not need to do a fund drive ever again.”

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Filed under contrarian, erik-reviews

Horazio Barra and Termobuild

In case it’s of interest… Another method for storing extra wintertime solar heat (or summer night-time coolth) in an out of the way place is to add concrete channels in the ceilings. I thought this was called the Barra Method. But here’s a company that makes a system using this technique that doesn’t seem to mention him. They maybe aren’t specifically doing solar, but similar logic it seems. LINK

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Filed under house, profiles, solar

lessons learned

heh. well, we haven’t really even started (hopefully breaking ground in july!) but a few things I think I’ve already learned include:
1. if you are in a cold (mostly heating bills) climate lusting after insulation and want to “superinsulate” (namely, R40+ walls, R60+ ceiling) then I highly suggest you skip the double wall approach. Why? Guess what, now you can pick a stock plan with 2×6 walls (keep it to 4-corners if you can) and add 4″ of rigid foam to the outside. And it helps you in 2 ways: 1) dew-point/warming the framing/condensation, 2) thermal bridging at joists. The main point is you have just saved yourself the misery of designing a custom home and all the time and energy (and wasted months renting, or 2 mortgages) that this involves. Sure finding a stock plan isn’t necessarily easy, but at least there are decent sites with plans from Ross Chapin
if you are going to build a passive house, then ok, this won’t work, but otherwise, heed this advice!

Another great plan is to buy a split-level ranch (that needs new siding and maybe new windows) on the cheap, and hopefully facing N or S. Then, do a deep energy retrofit on it ala Marc Rosenbaum. (see page 38 and on at this PDF)

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Filed under building science, erik-green, house, passive house, superinsulation

UTF-8 gone bad…

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unvented cellulose roofs

a little risky (winter-time condensation). but only if not air-sealed properly or framing/sheathing not warmed with dew-point calculations and rigid exterior foam or interior spray foam (flash and fill)
LINK

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The great insight of the founders of Sudbury Valley School

“The great insight of the founders of Sudbury Valley School–an insight understood for millennia earlier by hunter-gatherers–is that you don’t need a curriculum. You don’t need to take responsibility for children’s learning. You don’t need to use either power assertion or cleverness to get children to learn. All you need to do is to provide an environment in which children (a) can explore, play, and socialize to their hearts’ content; (b) are free of bullying and other forms of intimidation; (c) can interact freely with others of all ages; (d) have access to the culturally valued tools for learning; and (e) can experience directly enough of the culture in which they are growing up that they can figure out what it is that they need to know to do well in that culture.”
PETER GRAY

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Solar Hot Water Tanks – examples

1. Plywood
2. STSS
3. Alan Rushforth uses STSS
ON BULK DRAINBACK SYSTEMS
” Failsafe freeze protection. The piping and collectors are pitched so that when the pump for the collector loop shuts off for any reason (including black-outs), the water in the collectors and piping all drains back safe and snug into the insulated storage tank, so there are no worries about freezing collectors. Unlike ‘drain-down’, or ‘recirculation’ systems, ‘drainback’ systems are not dependent on electricity for freeze protection.
No heat exchange chemicals are used. Unlike glycol systems, our drainback systems run on plain water that does not turn acidic; our drain back systems do not need periodic fluid changes; and our drain back systems allow for extra long collector life.
The thermal storage tanks in bulk drainback systems have no need to be pressurized. On large systems, this turns out to be a big plus, allowing more storage for less cost.”

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