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THIS IS WHAT IT'S MADE OF
Materials we are using
Saturday, 19 June 2010 20:45
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Here is a list of materials we will be using in our home. Because we are going off the grid and will be dependent solely on the energy from the sun and wind, we have to make this home as energy efficient as our budget will allow. The more energy efficient the home the less we have to use the air conditioner or furnace. The increased energy efficiency also means we can get a smaller HVAC unit than the typical home.

 

Trina Solar Panels

Solar Panels. | The roof above the garage will be filled with solar panels. There will be 48 solar panels on the roof above the garage. Each panel produce about 227 watts of power. We will have enough photovoltaic solar panels to generate 11 kilowatts of power.

 

Enviro Energies

Wind Turbine. | We will be complementing the solar panels with a wind turbine. The top of the hill is often windier than around our house below. Our turbine is not the typical windmill style. It is VAWT, or Vertical Axis Wind Turbine, which means this turbine spins like a top. It utilizes magnets so there are no moving parts, and virtually no maintenance. Plus this turbine starts producing energy in as little as 6 MPH winds. The turbine we are using is from Urban Green Energy. The turbine is a 4KW and is quite large. It is 14 feet tall by 9 feet wide. Another advantage of using vertical axis wind turbines many people are not aware is they are not harmful to birds. Plus they are quieter. The old typical windmill style have the problems of birds flying into them because they cannot see the blades coming. Here is what it looks like.

 

NorthStar Battery Company

Battery Backup Power. | We will have a bank of batteries for our power source. There will be 3 racks full of 20 batteries each, for a total of 60 batteries. The batteries we are using are made locally in Springfield, MO and are a major player in the global battery market. The particular one we will be using are the NorthStar Battery Company's NSB170FT Blue Battery. These batteries were designed for the remote parts of the world where AC power is highly unreliable. They are waterless batteries so virtually no maintenance. NorthStar will be collecting data from these batteries for future development while we are living in the house.

 

Hybrid Geothermal Air Circulation. | This is a system developed by our very own Project Manager, George Van Hoesen of Global Green Building.  George has developed and patented a high efficiency ventilation system. This system improves the performance of heat pumps and reduces overall energy consumption. Basically there is 7 foot, underground, 2 foot diameter concrete tunnel 80 feet long that wraps around the house. One end is vented outside and the other is connected to the ventilation HVAC system. The system determines which air is closer to the temperature you are wanting in the house, the outside air or the air in the underground tunnel. This makes heating and cooling highly efficient by reducing the gradient between outside temperature and desired indoor temperature.

 

Locally Grown Oak Timber Framing. | The living room will have exposed 10"x10" oak timber framing. The wonderful part about these timbers is none of them were cut down for this project. All of them were reclaimed by Buehler Farms (formerly Queen City Green), a local company. These oak timbers were collected either from jobsites that simply tear down and discard, or from trees that have fallen from a storm. One of my pet peeves is when construction crews come onto a site and simply bulldoze everything in their way then just burn the pile of trees. There will be no trees taken down to build these timbers.

 

Limestone from a 100+ Year Old Cellar. | One of my neighbors had an old cellar which was constructed of limestone quarried from a nearby river. He asked me if I wanted to reclaim the limestone. He was just wanting to fill it in because it was no longer in use and he wanted to keep out snakes and other creatures. Well, for 2 weeks in a very HOT August in 2008, with me and my tractor, I dismantled this cellar piece by piece. This limestone was hand hewn in very large and heavy pieces. A couple of the pieces were 2 feet wide by 8 feet long by 4 inches thick. Very heavy, but very nifty. We will be facing the interior of our fireplace with this wonderful limestone. This is what the cellar looked like as I was taking it down. Check out the images below.

Inside the 100 year old cellar before tear down

I started without the arched top pieces

It was about 6 feet wide by 11 feet long, this is after the ceiling was taken out

This was one piece about 8 feet long and 2 feet wide

The wall

Just some of the pieces I pulled out

This is the first barn I tore down

One of several stages of the disassembly

Only the beams are standing now

This where the cattle were weighed

The tear down continues

Not much standing now

One of the cool pieces I pulled out, the scales

These scales were installed in 1907 by Tom Reynolds & E.G. Ashcraft of St. Louis. Written in pencil on the inside

 

Reclaimed Barn Wood. | In February and March of 2009 a friend of Terri's, who passed away from Lou Gehrig's Disease earlier this year, had two barns she wanted torn down. So again, by myself, I tore down these barns piece by piece. A long grueling process. But I have some wonderful pieces from these barns. I love the way old barns are built. We have one on our land and it is awesome. I will eventually be making some cabinet doors for our master bathroom out of these old rough sawn oak planks, as well as all the trim work, my office desk and shelving, and possibly all the interior doors. The coolest element of these two old barns was the cattle scales I pulled out. Somewhere in the house, most likely my office, will have some of this ironwork and the scales themselves. Here are a few of pictures as I was tearing them down. Check out the images above.

Exotic Hardwood Deck. | We have decided to go with an exotic hardwood for our back deck. Quayacan Pechiche is a wood that is twice as hard as oak and is naturally resistant to rot, termites, mold and weather. So this wood will last a long, long time. We have purchased this exotic hardwood from a local company, New Horizons Hardwoods, and comes from Ecuador. Their number one goal is preserving the forests of the Amazon. Their staff in South America works closely with the local Government to ensure the harvest of only woods that are approved under U.S. and South American government authorization, replanting three-fold as they cut to assure a renewable product.

Plus many others. I will keep you posted.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 November 2010 00:03