September 2009


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"michael gohl ....." <[log in to unmask]>
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VGBN Discussion <[log in to unmask]>, michael gohl .....
Thu, 24 Sep 2009 18:05:11 -0400
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Right on Robert!


On 9/24/09 5:43 PM, "Robert Riversong" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Steven,
> If you believe that having a "Wood stove/oven to cook my apple pie and Venison
> stew" is essential to your vision of a sustainable lifestyle (and I would
> agree that it is - as Nils reminds us, hearth is the heart of a home), then
> you might question your choice of a building approach which is incompatible
> with hearth.
> Nils suggestions are sound ones: design and build to incorporate the best of
> the traditional approaches to living lightly and well. A house with a brain
> but no heart is not a sustainable shelter.
> - RR
> --- On Thu, 9/24/09, Steven & Barbara Landau <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> From: Steven & Barbara Landau <[log in to unmask]>
>> Subject: Re: Passivehouse in Vermont? - Wood Stove
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Date: Thursday, September 24, 2009, 2:28 PM
>> I actually think Passivehaus is very simple.  The only HVAC system is a fan
>> and heat exchanger.
>> No fossil fuels, or even a chainsaw.      My concern started with trying to
>> find the simplest way to provide hot water, and cooking when there is no
>> grid, or spare electronic parts.     I understand my great grandchildren
>> won't be able to build a passivhouse because there won't be foam, or high
>> tech heat mirror glass, but we can now.
>> I am thinking of long term sustainability for my lifetime in the house ~
>> 40-50 years if I live that long.
>> Even though I am an electronic controls engineer, I want simple controls,
>> mechanical thermostats and timers,  I will buy spares and put them on the
>> shelf.
>> I don't want to rely on microprocessor control boards for anything crucial.
>> I am going passivehouse so I don't need any backup heat in the middle of the
>> winter to prevent freezing.
>> PV will be used only for critical utilities,  HRV fans, a few LED lights, and
>> the IPOD and speakers (only to listen to acoustic folk music).
>> Alot of philosophy but still no Passivhouse Wood stove/oven to cook my apple
>> pie and Venison stew.
>> Steve
>> On Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 2:12 PM, Barry Rehfeld <[log in to unmask]
>> <[log in to unmask]" target="_blank">http:[log in to unmask]> >
>> wrote:
>>> I'd be amused about how vermonters are so loyal to sustainable, natural and
>>> the like, while snubing their noses at the unnatural and technical, in this
>>> case, the Passivehaus, if the global stakes weren't so high and need for
>>> radical change so necessary.
>>> That means dropping family size down to three, house size back down to 1,500
>>> square feet (tops), dropping the electric gagets in a home from the current
>>> average of 28 back down to single digits, meaning no TVs since you already
>>> can it all the computer, and absolutely getting those enlarging calorie
>>> guzzling bodies into 32 inch waist (men's) pants - or lower - and out of gas
>>> guzzling vehicles and onto bikes, running or swimming daily or walking.
>>> Nothing personal, but do that and you'll make a much bigger difference than
>>> anything wood chip burning will do. Don't do that and at best you're laying
>>> a bigger burden on the kids and grandkids; at worst, you're writing their
>>> death certificate no matter how sustainable your homes are built.
>>> - regards,
>>> Barry
>>> On Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 6:58 AM, Robert Riversong
>>> <[log in to unmask]
>>> <[log in to unmask]" target="_blank">http:[log in to unmask]> >
>>> wrote:
>>>> --- On Wed, 9/23/09, Steven Landau <[log in to unmask]
>>>> <[log in to unmask]" target="_blank">http:[log in to unmask]> > wrote:
>>>>> I fully agree about appropriate technology.  What really is the
>>>>> alternative other than building a drafty house (uncontrolled ventilation)
>>>>> like the 1800's farmhouse next door or leaving the windows open?
>>>> If, in fact, you "fully agree", then you must have a completely different
>>>> definition of "appropriate technology" (as do almost all architects,
>>>> builders and homeowners).
>>>> An aspect of a dissociative, addictive, self-centered and
>>>> intellectually-constrained culture like ours is to see alternatives in
>>>> black-and-white terms. Of course the 1800s farmhouse might still be
>>>> "appropriate" if we hadn't made the mess of things that we have since then.
>>>> But we have to develop appropriate options within our current circumstances
>>>> (at least until circumstances drastically change, which is inevitable).
>>>> A start in that direction would be to toss out all national or
>>>> international codes and standards and create bio-regionally-appropriate
>>>> building technologies. Standardization, like efficiency, is an industrial
>>>> value that ignores the diversity of the natural world.
>>>> Then, if we looked to our local environments for available natural building
>>>> and furnishing materials, and made our personal lifestyles more natural and
>>>> healthy, our homes would not be composed of and filled with so many toxins
>>>> that considerable 24/7 air exchange becomes necessary. Then the primary
>>>> "pollutant" would be water vapor (carbon dioxide from breathing can be
>>>> recycled by house plants, which also can offer other salutary effects).
>>>> Some air exchange would still be required, of course, depending on the
>>>> healthfulness of the exterior air (viz. don't build a home in a polluted
>>>> environment, or clean up that environment). That can easily be
>>>> accomplished, in a relatively controlled manner, with spot exhaust fans at
>>>> moisture sources, such as kitchen and bath (assuming indoor cooking and
>>>> plumbing is even a necessity for a healthy and happy life - there are a
>>>> great number of unquestioned assumptions underlying our housing styles),
>>>> and passive make-up air inlets placed in strategic locations (bedrooms and
>>>> living spaces). Passive inlets, properly located, can also supply a minimal
>>>> amount of passive air exchange without energy inputs and the small amount
>>>> of heat loss is insignificant in a small (< 1000 sf), well-insulated house.
>>>> Additionally, an exhaust-only ventilation system is the only powered option
>>>> which maintains a negative pressure in the entire house, thus preventing
>>>> excessive moisture out-migration in winter, which is the source of envelope
>>>> moisture damage and the basis for vapor retarder requirements.
>>>> A house envelope, built with all natural, hygroscopic materials and no
>>>> vapor retarders (only well-designed weather shields on the exterior) can
>>>> absorb and release significant amounts of water vapor safely, thus
>>>> buffering variations in indoor RH just as thermal mass buffers temperature
>>>> swings. Eliminating all plastic-based materials, including latex paints,
>>>> and replacing them with earth-based finishes, also has the advantage of
>>>> maintaining a high negative ion count in the interior environment, which is
>>>> essential for both physiological and psychological well-being.
>>>> Straw-bale/earth plasters, cob with lime plaster, cordwood masonry, and
>>>> native lumber double frames with cellulose are all appropriate building
>>>> technologies for the Northeast. Ideally, a shelter would require no outside
>>>> power or heat beyond what the environment and the occupants can provide
>>>> themselves. And I don't include PV in that category, which is another
>>>> high-tech industrial "solution" that has significant environmental impacts.
>>>> - RR