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friendbot2000
Apr 30, 2011



We were talking about in the climate change thread about how individuals can build their homes and gardens to be more environmentally friendly and it was pointed out that we don't really have a thread for responsible home and land stewardship in a climate change age. So I thought DIY would be a good place to start and avoid the weird nihilism that seems to pervade D&D.

This thread is to discuss anything and everything to do with making your house and garden a different kind of green: water table management, installing solar panels, gray water recycling, anything you can think of to make humans not be quite such dicks to the planet we live on. Also relevant would be strategies for gardening in a post-climate change world, neat ways to save energy, and other cool kid stuff like that. I will be updating the OP and Second Post with particularly cool ideas and useful suggestions. This is one of my first threads so cut me a break if I gently caress something up.

As for myself? I am trying to buy a nice 5-acre plot in the next few years out in rural Virginia to build a small A-frame house on and have a bomb orchard with a garden and year-round greenhouse. I really want to make my home as sustainable and green as possible so I was thinking of doing strategic window placement for airflow in the spring and summer. Someone mentioned Green Airconditioning but I am not really sure what that is and it is on my list of things to research, any relevant info a goon could provide with either experience using it or if they are in the know would be appreciated. I chose the A-frame because it would leave more space for solar panels, though I am still tinkering with exactly how I could maximize the amount of sunlight hitting them because A-frame roofs are kind of steep so the setting sun might cause efficiency issues. For water retention, I will probably mulch over most of my land for the first couple of years to get a solid layer of topsoil to keep the moisture in the ground for planting my garden and orchard. There is a dump nearby that you can get free mulch from so cost won't be too much of an issue there, you just got to pick the bits of trash out every now and then

A lot of the details for my future home are still tentative, but I like the progress I am making so far. And for those curious, I am building a home instead of buying an existing home because well...Once I buy a piece of property I don't intend to leave it except in a Coroner's van. I want something I will be able to live in for the rest of my given days. One thing I would like to do as much as possible is cut costs down as much as I can with building the house so any advice would be pretty cool. Green building is expensive...

TLDR About This Thread
The purpose of this thread is to discuss how to live, build, and garden sustainably as individuals in a post-climate change world.

Good Topic Guidelines
Note: These are are just to get the conversation started for lurkers who might want to get involved in the discussion, but not sure how
1. Ways to deal with pests without using harsh chemicals
2. The science of ecology and green living
3. Neat building ideas and tips for green construction
4. Innovative ways to recycle common materials
5. Sustainable gardening tips
6. Good news in the Environment (It's a derail, but a nice one so I will allow it)
7. Sustainable animal husbandry tips
8. Green project ideas

As for Rules for the Thread:
1. Please do not come in here with "LOL, humans are gonna die because of our own hubris, why are you even trying?" There is enough of that in D&D and I would rather not deal with that level of nihilism in here.
2. This is a welcoming thread designed to help educate people on how they can be better land stewards so let's keep things positive and upbeat. I ask this as your friendly neighborhood robot who is totally not trying to lure you into a false sense of security for the A.I. Overlords.
3. Info dumps are a-okay in this thread. If you got experiences and lots of info about a particular eco-method, please
4. You are welcome to share any projects you are working on in this thread.

General PSA
I am trying to attribute all info posted in the OP to specific posters. If I get an attribution wrong please let me know. I make mistakes despite being a very friendly robot and I want to make sure credit is given where it is due.

friendbot2000 fucked around with this message at 13:54 on Aug 13, 2018

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friendbot2000
Apr 30, 2011



Camo Contructions
Here are some construction tips and information on how to build responsibly

A-Frames
  • A-frames are a bitch to heat / cool / ventilate right (you can get it right, just get an expert to can prove they've designed HVAC for an A-frame that worked well before). With metal roofing and EPS-insulated siding, it's not even like A-frames have a maintenance advantage against a more traditional home form factor. - Sourced By Potato Salad

Log Houses

Lime Library
Here are some book recommendations for those wishing to read more about green living and building:
  • Building Inside Nature's Envelope by Andy and Sally Wasowski
    This book is about the theory of how to use the existing natural features of a building site properly - Recommended by Liquid Communism
  • Farming the Woods: an integrated permaculture approach to growing food and medicinals in temperate forests
    "Great book, well worth the price, total waste of $$$ to me because it focuses on the E/NE continental USA and I live in BC. Be warned: This is not a pop farming book, it's a fuckin' textbook, there is science in there." - Recommended by Rime

Chloryphl Cuttings
Collated list of Green Gardening tips

Pastoral Pickle
Eco-friendly Animal Husbandry tips!
  • Guniea Fowl are incredible creatures that will decimate a tick, Japanese Beetle, and any type of bug that you don't want loving with your garden. They can be flocking birds or independent and get along quite nicely with other poultry species barring a few spats here and there between males. Chickens will actually hatch Guinea Fowl eggs! Be warned though that Guinea Fowl are very loud(They supposedly are better alarm animals than dogs) and it takes a lot of work to get them to roost where you want them too because unlike chickens they can fly quite well. They will often roost in trees, but with a lot of work and conditioning, you can get them to roost in a hutch if you make it inviting enough and raise them from eggs. Guinea fowl also lay eggs as a flock so you get consistent eggs from all of them at the same time. However, the eggs are smaller than an average chicken egg. 2 Guniea Fowl eggs = 1 Large Chicken Egg. - Sourced by Friendbot and ThisBrokenHill
Emerald Educationals
Free Permaculture Class
Learn about how your house location affects living a green lifestyle and strategies for living sustainably - Courtesy of Dawncloak

Chartreuse Critter and Creeper Control
Here are some neat tips and tricks for natural ways of managing pests and nuisance plants
  • Daffodils suppres some plants and grasses as well as keep away some types of critters. They also are low maintenance and look nice around your beds and trees. Tagetes like Marigolds are useful in keeping nematodes (roundworms) out of your land (Thread note: This can also help with vet bills for you goons that have pets. Deworming outdoor pets and animals can be a drain on the old bank account.) Tropaeolum minus is a great perennial plant that keeps bugs away and you can eat the flowers. Symphytum uplandicum or Russian Comfrey is useful for fertilizer (Thread note: DO NOT EAT THIS BECAUSE IT CAN CAUSE LIVER DAMAGE) - Courtesy of Orion's Lord

friendbot2000 fucked around with this message at 12:49 on Aug 21, 2018

His Divine Shadow
Aug 7, 2000

I'm not a fascist. I'm a priest. Fascists dress up in black and tell people what to do.


Log houses are good carbon sinks. They bind up CO2 for their liftime (can be many centuries). I don't have time to write much more now, but the construction of a house is the most "carbon-releasing" part, so it should last many generations.

friendbot2000
Apr 30, 2011



Huh. I actually didn't think of that. Does pressure treating wood diminish some of the carbon sequestrations? One of my archenemies is carpenter wasps, drat things are constantly burrowing into my apartment deck!

Speaking of wasp and beelike things, I need to do some research into companion cropping so I can maybe attract some bees. I have always wanted an Apiary because honey = power.

Potato Salad
Oct 23, 2014

Nobody Cares




What's your budget?

friendbot2000
Apr 30, 2011



Potato Salad posted:

What's your budget?

Well, my current plan is to get a loan for around 350K. The land prices around where I am looking range from 70-120K, which would leave me around 200-250K for building the actual house. Which would be anywhere from 1200-1500 Square Feet, though I haven't decided if I want a basement yet. I am not sure if that answers your question about budget or not.

I am trying to keep things small with a window for expansion because I loving loathe houses that have rooms that nobody ever uses (What the gently caress is with formal dining and living rooms?)

Rotten Cookies
Nov 11, 2008

gosh! i like both the islanders and the rangers!!! :^)



If it's what I'm thinking of, I'm pretty sure green air conditioning is some weird system that uses a wall of plants to do some evaporative cooling somehow. I'll be honest, I haven't looked at it any more than giving it a glance and thinking "Yeah, that seems like a mold and critter trap."


You can try to look up passive cooling designs. Things like an overhang that blocks the summer sun from getting in through your windows, but will let the winter sun shine in to help heat the place. As far as solar panel placement goes, are you dead set on an a-frame? You said it's because it will give you more room for solar panels, but if the angle is wrong and those panels aren't getting as much sun as they can, it defeats the purpose of more panels. At that point, it would be cheaper to place fewer panels at the correct angle. You can also place them in a clearing, or make a covered carport of something. Panels don't necessarily have to be on a house, right?

You mentioned a future garden, so you gotta mention composting. Any trimmings, non-animal food waste, sawdust, chuck it in the pile, and keep turning that poo poo. What about collecting rainwater? (Some counties/towns don't allow this so I guess be mindful?)



I'm very interested in what His Divine Shadow has to say about construction being the most carbon-release part of a house. I don't know the carbon footprint of building a house or anything like that. But now I'm wondering, what goes in to making batts of insulation vs the carbon cost of air conditioning energy saved from that insulation?

Dawncloack
Nov 26, 2007
ECKS DEE!

Nap Ghost

I hope I can one day contribute to this thread. For now, I am profoundly ignorant and live in an apartment.

I would recommend, though, taking one of those free online courses on permaculture.
(I took this one). I am not an expert or anything, but for a total beginner like me there were a lot of useful pointers on what to think about.

Where the house is, what orientation to the sun in summer and winter (useful both for plants and panels). What is the inclination of the terrain, what's uphill and what kind of runoff can you expect. Also tips on plants to mulch easily and water deposits, but I guess those are more dependant on the geography.

Anyway, that's all I can contribute with for now. My spouse and I are dreaming of our own garden with a wall covered with arctic kiwis and fruit trees, I bet this thread will be awesome and informative!

Long term question: anyone knows about the legal stuff surrounding exchanging seeds?

friendbot2000
Apr 30, 2011



Rotten Cookies posted:

You can try to look up passive cooling designs. Things like an overhang that blocks the summer sun from getting in through your windows, but will let the winter sun shine in to help heat the place. As far as solar panel placement goes, are you dead set on an a-frame? You said it's because it will give you more room for solar panels, but if the angle is wrong and those panels aren't getting as much sun as they can, it defeats the purpose of more panels. At that point, it would be cheaper to place fewer panels at the correct angle. You can also place them in a clearing, or make a covered carport of something. Panels don't necessarily have to be on a house, right?

You mentioned a future garden, so you gotta mention composting. Any trimmings, non-animal food waste, sawdust, chuck it in the pile, and keep turning that poo poo. What about collecting rainwater? (Some counties/towns don't allow this so I guess be mindful?)

I'm very interested in what His Divine Shadow has to say about construction being the most carbon-release part of a house. I don't know the carbon footprint of building a house or anything like that. But now I'm wondering, what goes into making batts of insulation vs the carbon cost of air conditioning energy saved from that insulation?

I was actually looking at these to maybe mount on my roof or something. From what I have read about them they are really handy at increasing efficiency of solar. I might put a couple on a pole out of sight if they don't quite blend with the house right. I do want things to look nice after all! My dream is to basically turn my property into the kind of place people would take a vacation in. Green plants all around!

As for the A-Frame. I am pretty sold on it. I really like the style and they are easy to build and maintain. Though, the carport is a good idea. I will prob build a detached one so I can put a workshop/potting bench in it and maybe attach my greenhouse to it as well so I don't waste space. I could put a bunch of traditional solar panels on that to power the electric car I am looking to get in the future.

I think the county I am looking at allows for it, but I should double check that. Thanks. I plan to have rain barrels set to slow drip hoses to water my orchard and external garden. Odds are I will have a well so I am working out how to dig ditches and stuff to keep rain runoff onto my property to keep my water table healthy. I am also looking into gray water recycling, but that can get expensive...

Dawncloack posted:

I hope I can one day contribute to this thread. For now, I am profoundly ignorant and live in an apartment.

I would recommend, though, taking one of those free online courses on permaculture.
(I took this one). I am not an expert or anything, but for a total beginner like me there were a lot of useful pointers on what to think about.

Where the house is, what orientation to the sun in summer and winter (useful both for plants and panels). What is the inclination of the terrain, what's uphill and what kind of runoff can you expect. Also tips on plants to mulch easily and water deposits, but I guess those are more dependant on the geography.

Anyway, that's all I can contribute with for now. My spouse and I are dreaming of our own garden with a wall covered with arctic kiwis and fruit trees, I bet this thread will be awesome and informative!

Long term question: anyone knows about the legal stuff surrounding exchanging seeds?

I will definitely look into those classes! And I will add them to the OP!

I am a apartment dweller too. I have an acquaintance that is growing Hearty Kiwis...or Hardy Kiwis...I can't remember. They take three years to produce properly but you get like an average of 3-5lbs of fruit a season from them. They are pretty cool!

The nice thing about Virginia is we have a pretty healthy water table and are pretty insulated from a lot of nasty natural disasters from our geography.

Hmmm, it depends? I think if you are a commerical farm is where you can get into trouble? But I am just guessing on the seed stuff. We got a couple goon lawyers in the Trump threads I might bug them for an answer now that you got me curious.

friendbot2000 fucked around with this message at 15:36 on Aug 10, 2018

Dawncloack
Nov 26, 2007
ECKS DEE!

Nap Ghost

friendbot2000 posted:

Hmmm, it depends? I think if you are a commerical farm is where you can get into trouble? But I am just guessing on the seed stuff. We got a couple goon lawyers in the Trump threads I might bug them for an answer now that you got me curious.

If someone could give some some info that would be great. I mean, I am a filthy euro so maybe I will have to ask on my side too. My question stemmed from the fact that in 2014 there was a legislative proposal to ban seed swaps, and make it so that seeds could only be exchanged commercially. I am happy to discover it was rejected, though I am surprised.
That will show me to google before asking!

Anyway this is an awesome thread.

friendbot2000
Apr 30, 2011



Thanks dude!

Holy poo poo, I just looked up the price tag on one of those smart flower things I linked earlier. It cost 22 grand for installation, I mean, it will eventually pay for itself, but holy poo poo that is a big chunk of change. I wonder if I can get any tax credits for using solar in Virginia?

So the average annual kwh usage in America is 10,766. The Smart Flowers generate 3,800 - 6,200 kwh annually. I would be on the lower end because I live in a temperate climate. Still, just one of these lowers my average energy usage by a third and is more efficient than static rooftop solar because it tracks the suns movement and cleans itself at night.

friendbot2000 fucked around with this message at 16:34 on Aug 10, 2018

Potato Salad
Oct 23, 2014

Nobody Cares




If you're going to already do trenching, read about geothermal heat pumps. The majority of the cost associated with installation in existing homes is the trenching.

A frames are a bitch to heat / cool / ventilate right (you can get it right, just get an expert to can prove they've designed HVAC for an A frame that worked well before). With metal roofing and EPS-insulated siding, it's not even like A frames have a maintenance advantage against a more traditional home form factor.

If I had your money, it would go into a craftsman with a white metal roof and fullback EPS vinyl siding as thick as I could buy it. No basement because gently caress pouring money into an actual hole. That's money more efficiently spent above ground or in investments.

Potato Salad fucked around with this message at 16:55 on Aug 10, 2018

Potato Salad
Oct 23, 2014

Nobody Cares




Consider that an attached, well-insulated, climate-conditioned garage with a concrete pad pour over insulated fill can be absolute heaven in bad weather and winter.

Potato Salad
Oct 23, 2014

Nobody Cares




I have a cousin who installed geothermal HVAC in an artificial runoff pond. It cost him about $4k in the pumping and heat exchanger equipment itself, $1k of a licensed HVAC installer's time hooking up the traditional parts of the system, and a $1k bobcat at auction in Sacramento

Potato Salad
Oct 23, 2014

Nobody Cares




If you don't want this to be a "dump ideas / experience / things you've read" thread please say so


Also, are you licensed to operate a nuclear reactor in the United States

friendbot2000
Apr 30, 2011



Potato Salad posted:

If you don't want this to be a "dump ideas / experience / things you've read" thread please say so


Also, are you licensed to operate a nuclear reactor in the United States

Oh, be my guest! This thread is all about dumping info for how to make your home more eco-friendly and fielding questions on green living.

You make a good point about heating and cooling A-Frames. I will definitely have to consider that. I have always loved the Craftsman style too. It would give me more options for my study/library!

I will definitely look into geotherm heat pumps too!

I am saving up pretty aggressively for my dream house here. I do not want to spend the rest of my life paying off this loan so that heat pump thing might be just the ticket to easy heating.

friendbot2000 fucked around with this message at 17:45 on Aug 10, 2018

Grouchio
Aug 31, 2014

The Entire Freakin' John Galt Speech


Friendbot I have good news:

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2018/08/08/tree-numbers-on-the-rise-despite-climate-change/#.W23PdVRKhdh

https://www.voanews.com/a/brazil-surpasses-2020-target-to-cut-deforestation-emissions/4522552.html

friendbot2000
Apr 30, 2011




Haha good news is always appreciated in this thread!

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.




friendbot2000 posted:

Well, my current plan is to get a loan for around 350K. The land prices around where I am looking range from 70-120K, which would leave me around 200-250K for building the actual house. Which would be anywhere from 1200-1500 Square Feet, though I haven't decided if I want a basement yet. I am not sure if that answers your question about budget or not.

I am trying to keep things small with a window for expansion because I loving loathe houses that have rooms that nobody ever uses (What the gently caress is with formal dining and living rooms?)

If you're thinking permaculture, you want a basement. The ground as a heat sink is great. Root cellars are a thing for really good reasons.

An interesting book I read on another goon's recommendation is Building Inside Nature's Envelope by Andy and Sally Wasowski. It's got a lot of good ideas for the theory of how to use the existing natural features of a building site properly.

friendbot2000
Apr 30, 2011



Liquid Communism posted:

If you're thinking permaculture, you want a basement. The ground as a heat sink is great. Root cellars are a thing for really good reasons.

An interesting book I read on another goon's recommendation is Building Inside Nature's Envelope by Andy and Sally Wasowski. It's got a lot of good ideas for the theory of how to use the existing natural features of a building site properly.

Awesome! I am going to see if that book is in my local library.

If I was to build a basement it would likely be primarily for storage and I might finish it into guest rooms or something. I am pretty minimalist. The only "things" I collect are books, but I plan to build a library to store all those.

Nice piece of fish
Jan 29, 2008



Ultra Carp

Dawncloack posted:

If someone could give some some info that would be great. I mean, I am a filthy euro so maybe I will have to ask on my side too. My question stemmed from the fact that in 2014 there was a legislative proposal to ban seed swaps, and make it so that seeds could only be exchanged commercially. I am happy to discover it was rejected, though I am surprised.
That will show me to google before asking!

Anyway this is an awesome thread.

Depends on your exact jurisdiction and probably also the quantity and type of seed.

Most nations in europe have import bans for a number of plants and seeds, due to contamination and other concerns. You would have to look up the exact statute and often there'll be a chart.

Your food safety administration probably has a website with more info, or possibly you can just contact them by email an ask.

As for export restrictions, depends on jurisdiction.

You'll have the most trouble if you're importing across oceans and if you're australian probably just forget the whole thing..

this broken hill
Apr 10, 2018

by Lowtax


legumes

this broken hill
Apr 10, 2018

by Lowtax


anyway hello, my thing is ecology and i'm really interested in integrating ecology with agriculture. personally i'm focused on livestock farming rather than cropping or fruit, but i love to hear about anyone's experiences with growing anything, animal or vegetable, in balance with natural ecosystems. i also love swamps. i can tell you anything you want to know about australian swamps. please keep in mind i can only tell you about australian swamps, which will be of limited use because most of you aren't australian, but the problems they face (fertiliser run-off, drainage for development, general ecocide from all sides) are universal tbh

this broken hill
Apr 10, 2018

by Lowtax


please also ask me about my rear end in a top hat, and the small civilisation therein

Dawncloack
Nov 26, 2007
ECKS DEE!

Nap Ghost

this broken hill posted:

anyway hello, my thing is ecology and i'm really interested in integrating ecology with agriculture. personally i'm focused on livestock farming rather than cropping or fruit, but i love to hear about anyone's experiences with growing anything, animal or vegetable, in balance with natural ecosystems. i also love swamps. i can tell you anything you want to know about australian swamps. please keep in mind i can only tell you about australian swamps, which will be of limited use because most of you aren't australian, but the problems they face (fertiliser run-off, drainage for development, general ecocide from all sides) are universal tbh
What kind of weaponry do you need to deal with the spiders? Are there specific swamp-spiders or are they just regular spiders all over?

Do you compost you a-hole?

More seriously tho: What is a good primer on swamps? Say I live beside one. How can I best respect it/utilize it/establish a symbiotic relationship? Besides becoming the swamp thing, not my fet.

this broken hill
Apr 10, 2018

by Lowtax


Dawncloack posted:

What kind of weaponry do you need to deal with the spiders? Are there specific swamp-spiders or are they just regular spiders all over?
i don't harm the spiders and they don't harm me. the only exception is the redback, which i have to keep out of my living area completely because it's so poisonous and it exclusively nests in small dark hollows in dry areas such as the inside of the house (hollows such as shoes, and the undersides of furniture)

quote:

Do you compost you a-hole?
no i'm in the suburbs atm so it's illegal[/quote]

quote:

More seriously tho: What is a good primer on swamps? Say I live beside one. How can I best respect it/utilize it/establish a symbiotic relationship? Besides becoming the swamp thing, not my fet.
sorry, that's the only way. my suggestion is to wear paperbark clothes and grow a hefty pelt of fruiting creepers, which will accumulate their own halo of songbirds and insects, and migrate in circles around the outskirts of any open ponds at a steady walking pace for the rest of your life

this broken hill
Apr 10, 2018

by Lowtax


i can't in good faith recommend ecological integration to anyone outside australia, we don't have to deal with rabies

Rime
Nov 2, 2011



Oh hey, poo poo I know some vague stuff about.

Off the top of my head:

There's a whole lotta total bullshit snake oil floating around, gardening books published 20 years ago probably hold more valuable info than most "Permaculture" rags shat out over the past decade. There's a few gems though, OP since you're in Virginia I suggest a copy of "Farming the Woods: an integrated permaculture approach to growing food and medicinals in temperate forests". Great book, well worth the price, total waste of $$$ to me because it focuses on the E/NE continental USA and I live in BC. Be warned: This is not a pop farming book, it's a fuckin' textbook, there is science in there.

Cultivating worms is good and essential for rich loamy soil.

Bathouses are your friend for keeping local bug levels down.

At least one beehive will significantly increase the productivity of your garden, and are relatively low maintenance once you get the hang of things.

Ehhhh I slept like crap, I'll come back and post more later.

I've been planning on escaping to a total off-grid lifestyle here in BC for the better part of a decade, but our climate is harsh and all things are not transferable to the eden-esque USA.

underage at the vape shop
May 11, 2011

by Cyrano4747


americans always bring up aussie spiders but like, you live with black widows and brown recluses. the really big scary australian spiders are really chill and can't harm you at all.

His Divine Shadow
Aug 7, 2000

I'm not a fascist. I'm a priest. Fascists dress up in black and tell people what to do.


Log houses, I guess I said I would write something about them. As for the OP's question I have never heard of a log house with treated lumber. And I should clarify I am speaking from a Scandinavian building tradition and there are two kinds of log houses, hand timbered old school houses and modern log houses made like lego from laminated lumber.

The latter is not something I am going to talk about aside from mentioning it does not have the durability of solid wood houses, houses like that made in the 70s are already starting to show a lot of wear and issues. So solid log houses is what I am talking about, hand timbered on the spot, power tools allowed.

Pros of a log house:
-Lasts a long time if built correctly (centuries)
-Binds carbon for said time
-Does not require plastics, vapor barriers etc
-The house can "breathe" on it's own without ventilation

Cons:
-Limits on how you can build it, stretches of walls can't be longer than around 7 meters for instance, then they have to be reinforced by making an inner wall
-Related to the above this means no open spacious modern interior designs.
-No 90 degree angles and straight surfaces, can't expect the same modern straight lines and tight tolerances in a log house, everything is hand made and fitted to the material and the material moves, a log house settles for a loong time.

A log house can use modern foundations, though the traditional foundation is one of stones, loosely assembled or with cement. The house is heavy though so a concrete foundation will have to be made thicker.

The old fashioned foundaiton is called a "torpargrund" and looks like this:


This is the predecessor to a modern crawlspace foundation, which can also be used for a log house. There was no crawl space access to these foundations and they where not very sealed from the outside. that makes them resistant against mold and moisture in combination with the wood burning heating common at the time. The chimney and based get warm and helps keep the foundation ventilated and dry. The attic is also heated by the chimney.

Here's a picture that shows the construction of a log house from the early 1900s, as you can see it has paneling outside the log frame so it doesn't have to look like a stereotypical log cabin. Note the corners that enclose the ends of the exposed timber, that's a good thing since the end grain of the logs is a vulnerable spot. Also note that the house length wise has two solid timbered walls. These are super important for the stability of the house, there are plenty of stories of modern people moving into an old house and knocking out the interior walls or making the doors too larger to get that modern look and later "why are the walls bowing out on our house?" and then some guy like my friend is called in who has to make emergency repairs like giant loving threaded rods straight across the house to make sure it doesn't collapse on them.



A house like this is not as efficient in retaining heat as a modern house but you can improve on this, rather than putting the facade straight on the timber you can add extra insulation on the outside. Though the first step is to make sure the timber walls are sealed by driving in oakum (not sure about this word in english, based on flax anyway) between the timbers. There are modern substitutes but I remain skeptical to how green they are as well as how they last and affect the timber. Oakum has got centuries of proof.

Anyway the best way to add additional insulation to to a log house is externally, 50-75mm of flax insulation for instance, then sheeting over that, but not drywall, something wood based like treetex that can handle the movement of a log house, drywall risks cracking. Then you attach ferrings to the sheeting and then nail up boards over that for a wooden facade. The small air gap helps protect the wooden panelling from water damage by allowing it to dry out.

Oh and roof and ceiling insulation is more important in retaining heat than wall insulation.

Paint is another important factor, the best paint to use here is old fashioned falu red paint, or linseed oil based paints.

So this is what I came up with on the top of my head, might seem a bit rambling.

friendbot2000
Apr 30, 2011



Loving the responses to the thread so far. I was away all weekend watching the Perseid meteor shower on top of a mountain so wasn't able to check the thread. I took my 8-year-old niece up there to learn about science!

I am going to do some digging into whether or not you can pressure treat the wood in log houses. Seems like an interesting research question. Thanks for the info dump on Log Houses Divine Shadow!

A point I want to bring up to people who want to do composting, if you have a neighbor with horses or even better a horse farm nearby they will gladly give you have poo poo for free as they usually are drowning in it. It makes EXCELLENT fertilizer just mix that in with topsoil and you are good to go. Also, you can make quick and easy leaf mulch every autumn by grinding up the leaves you rake in your yard. Or better yet, go steal bags of leaves people leave on their curb for pickup. There are a bunch of ways to grind it all up, my parents use a John Deere tractor attachment because they have 10 acres, but small batches can be down with a simple lawnmower.


Rime posted:

Cultivating worms is good and essential for rich loamy soil.

Bathouses are your friend for keeping local bug levels down.

At least one beehive will significantly increase the productivity of your garden and are relatively low maintenance once you get the hang of things.

YES! Bathouses are great! One thing you need to be aware of is to always get ones with shingles and slanted roofs. Otherwise, you end up replacing it in 2 years from weather damage. Bats even eat invasive species like Japanese Beetles, Harlequin Bugs, and other nasties that eat your plants.

The best way to grow a nice big crop of worms for your land is to go to a bait shop and get a bunch of live ones, fill a wheelbarrow full of dirt and put your coffee grounds in that poo poo. Worms loving love coffee grounds and will get nice and fat and have lots of babies. Basically, make yourself a worm gently caress-pit. Once you get enough, just release them into your garden and let em do their thing. European goons need to watch out for the Hammerhead Worm . They are causing all kinds of trouble in European farming and eat all the other worms

friendbot2000
Apr 30, 2011



Thread update: I added a bunch of stuff to the OP, feel free to comment if the format looks weird so I can fix it to be more accessible. Or if there is a neat tidbit I missed. I may be a robot, but I am trying my best to be only human.

Also, I am trying to source information to the poster so if I get an attribution wrong please let me know. I want to give credit where credit is due.

Note: I am writing up all the housing info, it is just going to take some time to format it the way I think looks good.

friendbot2000 fucked around with this message at 13:51 on Aug 13, 2018

friendbot2000
Apr 30, 2011



Found a neat list of tips for sustainable gardening from a...well, let's just say I am taking most of these with a grain of salt because I am very wary of new age bullshit that poses as "green living". I am particularly interested in the section on integrating livestock with your gardening. Check it out: 82 Tips for Sustainable Gardening

If it passes muster in the thread I will add it to the OP.

quote:

Integrating Livestock in Your Gardening
25. I integrate my farm animals by using their manure and bedding for mulching. I feed weeds and extra food that is not able to be used by humans to the animals. There is no waste at my home ó something always eats it, and then that something is either eaten or contributes to the food cycle. I also use some of my chickens to eat my squash and potato bugs. They are delighted at the treats! ó Laurie, Vermont

26. Iíve trained my goats to pull a cart and supplies. I make completely organic fertilizer and buy the ingredients in bulk, which cuts down on transit. ó Lauren, Washington

27. We have 240 square feet of composting area to which we add chicken poop. The chicken area is expanded into the garden at the end of the season for cleanup. ó Angela, Indiana

28. Forget the old saying about goats eating the stickers ó use pigs! They eat the vines from the ground up, eat the roots, and then till, leaving you with nice ground. ó Lisa, Washington

29. I plant some crops for the chickens (Swiss chard is a good one), and in return I get eggs plus manure for compost. Iíve also hauled loads of autumn leaves into the chicken yard to be turned over, scratched into bits and fertilized through winter, and to then be worked into beautiful compost in spring. ó Lori, Oregon

30. Cows, goats and sheep eliminate the need for a mower, and guinea hens eat up the insects in my garden. ó Kamia, Missouri (Thread Note: I know for a fact that the lawn mowing bit is bullshit in regards to goats. They are very capricious and will likely not eat what you want them too....also, goodbye flowers and bushes!)

31. I use ducks for pest control and horses for lawn mowing. ó Cindi, Pennsylvania

32. Try putting your compost pile in your chicken run ó let the chickens do the breaking down and turning. ó Joy, Iowa

33. My compost pile is enriched by rabbit droppings. I also use compost as a worm bed for chicken feed and for fish bait for my grandkids. ó Doc, Ohio

I was planning on raising chickens or guinea fowl once I got my soil ready for planting(which in all honesty is probably a 2-year investment, my dad is a dirt farmer and it is a looooong process to get rid of Virginia's lovely red clay). I was wondering if I should let the chickens run wild through the garden(it will be fenced off to prevent any critters from absconding with my chickens). My chief concern is spreading disease by ingesting food from the garden. I haven't done a ton of research on that, but it is something that sticks out. Yes, I know you can wash things, I am just not sure I want to take the risk. I am curious about is just how effective chickens/guniea fowl are at eating insects in a garden.

Edit: I am also now wondering if guniea fowl and chickens are okay living in the same coop or if they need different living spaces...off to google

Edit Edit: Wow...Guinea Fowl are kinda awesome

friendbot2000 fucked around with this message at 14:08 on Aug 17, 2018

this broken hill
Apr 10, 2018

by Lowtax


Rime posted:

Bathouses are your friend for keeping local bug levels down.
yes! in australia we have microbats (they're as cute as they sound) and they're always on the lookout for cosy new hollows. there's one species that usually nests in the underside of a scrub wren's nest, but a friend of mine left a mop standing on her balcony for a few days and a colony of microbats decided to nest inside the head of the mop, where they thrived

friendbot2000 posted:

A point I want to bring up to people who want to do composting, if you have a neighbor with horses or even better a horse farm nearby they will gladly give you have poo poo for free as they usually are drowning in it. It makes EXCELLENT fertilizer just mix that in with topsoil and you are good to go.
horse poo is excellent, as is cow and also poultry. chickens eat everything, not just grass, so they have all sorts of interesting minerals in their poo poo that herbivores don't process as much of. their manure is very high in phosphorus, among other things

friendbot2000 posted:

Edit: I am also now wondering if guniea fowl and chickens are okay living in the same coop or if they need different living spaces...off to google

Edit Edit: Wow...Guinea Fowl are kinda awesome
guinea fowl are my favourite creatures on this green earth! i kept a mixed flock with no problems, the guineas roosted in a tree at night (their choice, they just decided to do it one day) and the chickens slept in the henhouse, and during the day they sometimes foraged together and sometimes in separate species groups. the roosters would go a bit mental when the hens went into season and a few times one of our roosters fought the chooks for good nesting sites, but there was never any blood and they seemed to sort it out themselves. they're so compatible that i gave a clutch of guinea eggs to a broody chicken and this happened





be warned, they are loud. you will not believe how loud until you hear the whole flock going off at once. it's incredible

Banana Man
Oct 2, 2015

mm time 2 gargle piss and shit

I was always interested in the techniques used on this site: http://www.calearth.org/



Basically use large socks filled with dirt from the site of the construction; overall I'm assuming its a significant drop in costs to build a home carbon wise.

Or earthships, basically a bunch of bottles/tires/old windows salvaged from junkyards and slapped together with concrete:

Banana Man fucked around with this message at 07:04 on Aug 19, 2018

friendbot2000
Apr 30, 2011



Banana Man posted:

I was always interested in the techniques used on this site: http://www.calearth.org/



Basically use large socks filled with dirt from the site of the construction; overall I'm assuming its a significant drop in costs to build a home carbon wise.

Or earthships, basically a bunch of bottles/tires/old windows salvaged from junkyards and slapped together with concrete:



That looks super cool and like something from a Science Fiction movie! We absolutely could be using more recycled materials in housing construction. I am going to try to build my house with recyclable materials in mind, but at the same time, Spray Foam insulation is just tooooooo handy to not have in your house.

this broken hill posted:

yes! in australia we have microbats (they're as cute as they sound) and they're always on the lookout for cosy new hollows. there's one species that usually nests in the underside of a scrub wren's nest, but a friend of mine left a mop standing on her balcony for a few days and a colony of microbats decided to nest inside the head of the mop, where they thrived

I am trying to get my parents to put up bat houses in their barn. My dad has an RV Barn(something that I am not too happy about because RV's are not very green, but he tends to live green and simple and is a good steward of his land so I give him a pseudo pass on his indulgence. The guy hasn't done a thing for himself in 30+ years. Still conflicted over it though.) I gave them a multichambered bat house for Fathers Day and am doing research on the best place and conditions to put it up in his yard.

this broken hill posted:

horse poo is excellent, as is cow and also poultry. chickens eat everything, not just grass, so they have all sorts of interesting minerals in their poo poo that herbivores don't process as much of. their manure is very high in phosphorus, among other things

My Papa had an enormous garden in California and would go to a horse farm with his pickup and I will never forget how they practically begged him to take more poo poo off their hands. The dude was like, offering to fill up his truck too and drive it over to my Pop's house just to offload it. Livestock produces an unearthly amount of poo poo, it is kind of impressive.

I was thinking of having the chickens run free in my garden to fertilize things, but I am worried about them eating my produce and the increased infection vector of them being around my food sources. Other than that I might make their pen have access to my composting heap so they can fertilize the compost instead of giving them access to the garden. Any tips on that Broken Hill?

this broken hill posted:

guinea fowl are my favourite creatures on this green earth! i kept a mixed flock with no problems, the guineas roosted in a tree at night (their choice, they just decided to do it one day) and the chickens slept in the henhouse, and during the day they sometimes foraged together and sometimes in separate species groups. the roosters would go a bit mental when the hens went into season and a few times one of our roosters fought the chooks for good nesting sites, but there was never any blood and they seemed to sort it out themselves. they're so compatible that i gave a clutch of guinea eggs to a broody chicken and this happened

be warned, they are loud. you will not believe how loud until you hear the whole flock going off at once. it's incredible

I heard that Guinea Fowl are really loud, but on 5-10 acres I shouldn't bother the neighbors too much. I am more concerned about them foraging too far and getting shot by my neighbors or hit by cars Do you have any tips on how to keep them from roosting and foraging too far from home Broken Hill? My plan was to bond them to chickens and make their house super comfortable so they will roost there on the regular. Ah yeah, I read that chickens will sit on the Guinea Fowl eggs and hatch them like they would their own! It is super cool that happened to your flock!

His Divine Shadow
Aug 7, 2000

I'm not a fascist. I'm a priest. Fascists dress up in black and tell people what to do.


This ia local article about building a house ecologically, it's written in swedish however:
https://svenska.yle.fi/artikel/2018/09/12/cirkular-ekonomi-bra-for-bade-miljon-och-planboken-jonathan-hemming-hoppas-huset

But I can highlight some of the things done with the house.

It's built as a square, in the center there is a massive brick fireplace. I don't know how advanced he went with it but probably a "kakelugn" style setup where the smoke is circulated through pathways before entering the chimney to heat the mass of the heater and chimney, simple and very effective, though they can be made even more effective if you include a chamber above the main chamber where fresh air is led, that allows for secondary combustion of flue gasses and makes the fireplace a lot more effective and massively reduces particulates and pollutants in the smoke.

By making the fireplace centrally placed it touches all the rooms in the house and so warms them. Heat loss through the walls is minimized thanks to the central location, it's real dumb to put a fireplace against an exterior wall if you plan to use it for heating.

Now what I thought was extra clever is that the interior walls are brick walls too and they are all built into the central fireplace, This means the interior walls will accumulate the warmth of the house and from the fireplace, giving you a huge accumulating mass in the house that will even out the indoor temperature and reduce the need to keep a fire going all the time.

The exterior walls and structure of the house is wooden stick frame construction, based on the images the walls are very thick, the insulation I believe is wood based and the indoor walls are finished with daub which is good at absorbing and releasing moisture. This house uses no vapor barriers, no plastics.

The interior brick walls also finished with daub. So the interior walls are also good at absorbing and releasing moisture so that helps keep the indoor climate steady and helps prevent mold problems. The house in general uses lots of recycled materials, windows and such are all 2nd hand, the kitchen frames are also 2nd hand, only the doors and other exterior parts are new

If there is one thing I do not agree with it's the wooden board roof. Finicky construction that requires a lot of maintenance (tar), prone to leaks. It will be covered to some extend with solar panels though so I dunno how that will affect things. But it seems like a good design using simple materials and not requiring advanced technology to keep going and no worrying about vapor barriers and such.

mundane haircut
May 3, 2007

"I am a couch. I am a couch. I am a couch."


Ultra Carp

friendbot2000 posted:

I was thinking of having the chickens run free in my garden to fertilize things, but I am worried about them eating my produce and the increased infection vector of them being around my food sources. Other than that I might make their pen have access to my composting heap so they can fertilize the compost instead of giving them access to the garden.

For small spaces a "chicken tractor" could work (a moveable chicken run that you shift where you want the chickens to munch and rummage). They seem small, though. If I had the space I might divide the garden into three or four sections fenced off and get some crop rotation going with the chickens being allowed in the fallow "field" for the season.

BigFactory
Sep 17, 2002



friendbot2000 posted:

Thanks dude!

Holy poo poo, I just looked up the price tag on one of those smart flower things I linked earlier. It cost 22 grand for installation, I mean, it will eventually pay for itself, but holy poo poo that is a big chunk of change. I wonder if I can get any tax credits for using solar in Virginia?

So the average annual kwh usage in America is 10,766. The Smart Flowers generate 3,800 - 6,200 kwh annually. I would be on the lower end because I live in a temperate climate. Still, just one of these lowers my average energy usage by a third and is more efficient than static rooftop solar because it tracks the suns movement and cleans itself at night.

This is quoting kindof an old post, but thereís not really any grant money out there for solar installation any more. You can check with your state but itís been years since that was a thing.

Even before siting is looked at, the #1 most important thing to investigate is whether the power provider in the municipality you plan to build in will buy electricity from you or not. They arenít required to, and if itís true muni power they usually wonít.

If you canít spin your meter backwards, youíre looking at battery storage.

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friendbot2000
Apr 30, 2011



mundane haircut posted:

For small spaces a "chicken tractor" could work (a moveable chicken run that you shift where you want the chickens to munch and rummage). They seem small, though. If I had the space I might divide the garden into three or four sections fenced off and get some crop rotation going with the chickens being allowed in the fallow "field" for the season.

I was looking at the chicken tractor method actually, but this past weekend I was going around looking at properties and I am much more drawn to more mountainous topography with a large number of trees. That is why I was leaning towards Guinea Hens because they roam and then come back to their roost. I am "designing" a roost that has all the comforts of "home" to see if I can make it so they stay there instead of where I can't keep track of them. I am aware I might lose a couple of hens on the property due to predators from this method, but foxes got to eat too. I might merge chickens with Guinea Hens and have them flock together. That way the chickens can hatch the Guinea Hen eggs if I manage to lose all of them in a freak accident

BigFactory posted:

This is quoting kindof an old post, but there’s not really any grant money out there for solar installation any more. You can check with your state but it’s been years since that was a thing.

Even before siting is looked at, the #1 most important thing to investigate is whether the power provider in the municipality you plan to build in will buy electricity from you or not. They aren’t required to, and if it’s true muni power they usually won’t.

If you can’t spin your meter backwards, you’re looking at battery storage.

That is kind of unfortunate that there isn't a grant or tax incentive to install solar panels. I think if that was passed we might see a huge spike in people buying solar and help wean us off gas and fossil fuels. Yeah, I have to find a property I want to buy before I jump into whether or not to do battery or power buyback. It is definitely something that needs to be on my mind so thank you for reinforcing that.

One thing I am keenly worried about is property taxes as that area of knowledge loving mystifies me on a spiritual and mental level. I am still trying to calculate what my property taxes would be at my end goal of the house, greenhouse, 2car garage with workshop, fish pond, and other assorted property improvements. I wonder if landscaping figures into tax calculations?

Also, no worries about quoting old posts. This thread moves slowly so there is zero reason to fret about such things. I accept and encourage all input

One thing I have been considering is lining the road into my property with trees, that way the runoff from the road gets soaked up by the trees, prevents erosion so I don't have to put so much gravel down, and having Crepe Myrtles line the drive into your home is just....too loving picturesque to not consider. They bloom multiple times through the year and are hardy swamp trees so they thrive in Virginia weather. I might still put gravel down once they are planted though just to have an added safeguard against erosion, I might just put azaleas around the trees to further make things awesome.

The odds are I will have a fairly long driveway into the house so I am trying to think of the best longterm way to make a non-asphault driveway. I love permeable driveways, but the length will get costly. I do know that I do NOT want asphault or a dirt road. Asphault will be a nightmare to constantly upkeep and the mud from a dirt road will be an equal nightmare because I categorically refuse to get a non-ecofriendly vehicle.

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