CRobb's Profile

Display Name: CRobb
Member Since: 3/9/10

Latest Comments...

The permaculture principle of "long thoughtful observation" applies to inside the home as well as out. Here's my method, the first step is to quell the urge to rush out and buy it, whatever it is. Sleep on it, mull it over, weigh the options, try to do without it, see if it can be DIY'ed, see if you can find it in someone else's waste stream. This can take weeks or longer. Be patient, there is almost always a way to avoid consumerism.

To Buy or DIY: The Battle Rages On In Our Home!
11/7/10 07:03 PM

Good to know it's available. Thanks.

How To Install Cork Floor Tiles
11/6/10 07:25 PM

You are right, I erred in stating the weight was doubled. I think what led me to believe the weight was doubled was that I originally had it set up to raise the last window on the end where the double pulley is, adding it's weight. I've since changed that but after I'd beefed up the mounting of the double pulley. I believe some of the weight from the single pulley is being transferred as it's sheave is lower that those of the double pulley, but clearly not all of it. Thanks for pointing that out.

How To Build a Removable Mini Glass House To Extend Your Growing Season
10/30/10 08:10 PM

1.If you have south facing windows, follow all the above instructions, particularly the ones about letting the sun in during the day and insulating at night. Take a look at the landscaping, if trees and shrubs are blocking the sun from warming the house, can you trim them? This is particularly important if you have external uninsulated masonry or stone walls. Another landscaping trick is to put in a large shallow pond (a kiddie pool?) strategically located to reflect more sunshine through your windows.
To increase the benefit of #1, increase thermal mass in the house, it soaks up heat during the day and releases it during the night. Even if it isn't in the sun it will still help buffer temp extremes. Here are some methods for accomplishing this as well as some more ideas for saving the heat you collect or generate.
2. Build shelves out of recycled stone, brick or cinder block. Fill the shelves with lots of large indoor plants in clay pots (keep the watering can full and in a sunny spot).
3. Build a table out of large full water barrels, painted black if they are in the sun (verify that the floor can support the weight).
4. Cover your floor with an insulation layer and lay down some ceramic tiles or concrete pavers (mortar is not necessary).
5. When you are caulking around windows and such take the time to remove the floor trim and caulk around the floor to wall joints. Insulate under the floor and attic as well depending on your budget and planned length of stay (this will depend on your location, insulation is not that expensive and with really high heating bills will pay for itself, try working a deal with your landlord, perhaps he could pay for it if you install).
6. If there is a fireplace, block it up! They suck cold air into a house and send most of the heat up the chimney.
7. Pay careful attention to prevailing winds. Don't use an entry/exit door that is exposed to the cold wind, go around to another door.
8. If there is a mudroom or glassed in porch use it like a vestibule. Make sure the interior door is always closed when the exterior door is open.
9. Study the ventilation in the house and reduce heat loss by limiting flow but don't sacrifice good indoor air quality (the plants will help there).
10. This may sound obvious but I am surprised at how often I've seen folks standing at the door chatting away while the door is open. Step outside and close the door!
11. Plan your cooking when you are going to be there to gain the benefit of the heat it generates, particularly use of the oven.
12. Install a programmable digital thermostat, they are not that expensive if you DIY it. Once you have it set, try not to override it to compensate for temporary personal temperature issues. And speaking of personal heat.
13. Exercise at home, the heat you generate might as well go to heat your house. At rest we generate about as much heat as a 100W incandescent light bulb, this goes way up when we get active.
14. Unless you have moisture issues try to shower at home as well, it is a good way to warm up for the evening or before bed. With most central heat the air will be too dry anyway so a hot shower will help to add moisture to the air (moist air holds more heat) and again why not generate the heat at home. Perhaps the money you save by not needing a gym membership anymore will pay for some of the above improvements.
15. Sleep with a friend, human or otherwise. It is surprising how warm a cat or dog will keep you in the night, another human even more so.

Oh, and wear a hat! A stylish one that matches your eyes. See #15.

How Can I Save Energy In My Older Home This Winter?
Good Question

10/27/10 08:49 PM

Nicely done, we are considering cork as well. I am concerned about indoor air quality though. Were you able to find a low VOC glue and finish.

How To Install Cork Floor Tiles
10/27/10 07:20 PM

The long term plan is to glass in the whole verandah with removable windows, the posts need replacing first. This project was all we could manage before winter, both in terms of time and finances. I agree it is a bit rough looking, but it will be gone this spring.

How To Build a Removable Mini Glass House To Extend Your Growing Season
10/27/10 10:36 AM

EROEI? Will the energy saved in operational costs come close to the energy invested in manufacturing the concrete and the foam? Doubtful, concrete alone is one of the most energy intensive building materials on the planet.
Recycleability? I can use busted up blocks of old concrete as a building material but not with bits of foam and plastic attached. I suspect the foam would abrade into the soil. I have used the foam forms themselves, found in a trash heap, as insulation for a solar oven. It is good insulation.

Building With Insulated Concrete Forms
Green Architect

10/24/10 06:49 PM

I build passive solar batch heaters out of recycled materials and have measured a 25% drop in electricity demand for hot water with small ones and only $200 invested. They can be built with higher efficiencies than the one in this post but this is the one I measured.

How Well Do Solar Hot-Water Heaters Work?
Good Question

9/22/10 07:46 PM

I'm in the process of drying some myself, it is my understanding that slow drying is adequate but I am intrigued by your high temp method. What is the advantage over slow drying?

Bamboo-zled to Bamboo-alooza in 18 Hours | Apartment Therapy Re-Nest
7/26/10 02:12 PM

All of the above plus, hang some of that foil coated bubble wrap in every window that gets sun. The flatter against the pane the better. I just hang it inside my venetian blinds.

How Can We Keep Our House Cool Without AC? Good Question | Apartment Therapy Re-Nest
5/16/10 11:54 AM

I don't believe there is a place in a "green" home for a tumble dryer; exterior clotheslines, clothes horses in a southfacing window or a conservatory, drying racks over heating ducts, even judicious use of the washer can all quickly eliminate the need for a tumble dryer.

A Look At The 2010 HGTV Green Home | Apartment Therapy Re-Nest
4/20/10 05:09 AM

Check out Dolly Freed's Possum Living. She inspired me over twenty years ago to pursue simplicity in all forms, she and her dad kept and ate rabbits and she goes into detail about how they did it. It's good to see this practical suggestion here. I will likely give this a try when we get settled in America, though I'm not sure I'll be able to kill them, rabbits are also excellent lawnmowers and they fertilize as they go. I've cross posted this to my Home Scale Gardening site;

I tried to fill in your survey but it didn't work.

Survey: Could Rabbits Be The Next Backyard Chickens? | Apartment Therapy Re-Nest
3/9/10 02:48 AM