As many of you may recall, back in May we decided to take a break from the “off the grid” series & decided to look at “common sense” methods for designing & building new homes. We decided to go this route as it doesn’t matter if a house is on the grid, or off the grid as the information applies across the board.
What took so long:
Looking back it became apparent that we needed to cut through some clutter & create a standard base of building science fundamentals to start with. So with that in mind we started the Building Science 4 Dummies series. NO, we don’t consider you a dummy but rather it was a tongue in cheek reference to the popular “for Dummies ™” books. Just like the books, our idea was to turn something complicated into something a little more easily understood. Heh, who knows, maybe one day I will get invited to write one… (or not?)
|The Leisher’s: As many of you may recall the Off the Grid series was initially inspired by Craig & Susannah Hopkins-Leisher along with their three boys who decided to live off the grid for a year (with cell phone & internet service). Well their year has come to an end, so here is a quick recap of all their pieces they wrote about it for the NY Times…
We also started to see and wanted to fill in a gap with a concept called the “pretty good house.” The concept started off basically as a how would “I” build a “green” house in my climate without breaking the bank. Needless to say most of the answers typically revolve around the thermal envelope/enclosure with a few other features sprinkled in for their specific climate. The catch though, is that many appear to overlook or don’t even consider some of the basics that apply across a wide ranging spectrum. Does it really help that you used a “pretty good” envelope to mail something, only to have the contents damaged as you forgot the bubble wrap?
|For more on this concept, you might want to check out Alison Bailes three part series at Energy Vanguard. I recommend his as he dug a little farther than most into it and he includes links to not only how it started but others version of the “pretty good house.”|
In order for an item to be considered it must meet some criteria like; does it make sense in most climate zones, is it durable, improve efficiency, safe, reduce waste, future proof, aid in shelter in place situations? While some of the criteria may not apply to every item, if it meets the bulk of them or possibly others we will probably be writing about it.
We plan on starting with “cool roofs” and then looking at everything from heating & cooling choices to plumbing layouts, water heating, and many other features that apply across all climate zones. Will every item be a fit for your dream home or location – probably not, but by thinking through the options and how it affects you & your house, will allow you to build the best home that meets your needs not only now, but into the future.
As always if you have questions, would like to see something covered or maybe you have a unique article that you think would be a great fit, please drop us a line.
|“The problem with common sense is it isn’t so common”… or as Michael Anschel loves to point out, “we use logic to create rationale that supports our emotional positions”.|