Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Post
  • Reply
BigFactory
Sep 17, 2002



Dawncloack posted:

Hahaha, good point, gimme a second, I accidentally put some tech blinders on.

Thing is, to be completely honest, I am dumb and I am not sure I see what you mean. Why don't I tell you my mental image, and then you tell me yours, and I learn from it?

Base assumption is that I am going to have to work with a lot of makeshift stuff.

So some cheap shelves that I can wrap with transparent plastic to make a sort of greenhouse, that I will expose to the sun.

I am not sure how to hang the plants from there, and although making holes in the shelves seems like an option, it's an inflexible one: small plants will drop off, big plants might grow up and be stuck.

Could I lift the plants by hanging then from string, tied to the shelves or something else? Could judicious use of hooks avoid the grow and stuck problem?

The designing a piece for printing came from the consideration that that is something I can do now, and that plastic is pretty sturdy. Maybe there's something that would offer me covenience, like if I print a framework to hang the plants that's easier to move around/place on the shelves. (And because designing the piece would give me something to do together with my dad).

As it is, I'm a dude that knows nothing at all throwing ideas to the wall because I'm under lockdown.

If you could give me ideas that I can try later I'd be very happy.

Why do you have to hang plants from shelves? Why not place them on the shelf?

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Dawncloack
Nov 26, 2007
ECKS DEE!

Nap Ghost

Plants with their roots in the air are how aeroponics are done...?

Did I maybe not mention that? I am trying to find the easiest makeshift solution, and when I image search I see tons of big nice assemblies and no indication as to the point of contact between plant and structure, which is what I am trying to figure out.

As I said, please, I know I dont know so in every post I explain my mental image.

"Place them on the shelves", but HOW. Do I make the plants just lay there? Maybe that's the case, then describe it!

My man, dont just come here with a one liner. I do not have context to understand what you mean. Describe your mental image in detail. So far you haven't helped me any with your one liners.

Thanks (earnestly) in advance.

Dawncloack fucked around with this message at 09:18 on Mar 31, 2020

wooger
Apr 16, 2005

YOU RESENT?

Dawncloack posted:

Plants with their roots in the air are how aeroponics are done...?

Did I maybe not mention that? I am trying to find the easiest makeshift solution, and when I image search I see tons of big nice assemblies and no indication as to the point of contact between plant and structure, which is what I am trying to figure out.

As I said, please, I know I dont know so in every post I explain my mental image.

"Place them on the shelves", but HOW. Do I make the plants just lay there? Maybe that's the case, then describe it!

My man, dont just come here with a one liner. I do not have context to understand what you mean. Describe your mental image in detail. So far you haven't helped me any with your one liners.

Thanks (earnestly) in advance.

Easiest makeshift solution is to get / make some plant pots. And get some compost or soil. Put them together and there is a place for the plants to live.

Aeroponics is the complicated gimmick which is causing you trouble.

BigFactory
Sep 17, 2002



Dawncloack posted:

Plants with their roots in the air are how aeroponics are done...?

Did I maybe not mention that? I am trying to find the easiest makeshift solution, and when I image search I see tons of big nice assemblies and no indication as to the point of contact between plant and structure, which is what I am trying to figure out.

As I said, please, I know I dont know so in every post I explain my mental image.

"Place them on the shelves", but HOW. Do I make the plants just lay there? Maybe that's the case, then describe it!

My man, dont just come here with a one liner. I do not have context to understand what you mean. Describe your mental image in detail. So far you haven't helped me any with your one liners.

Thanks (earnestly) in advance.

Your posts are impossible to read. Get a new style

Dawncloack
Nov 26, 2007
ECKS DEE!

Nap Ghost

Wow, when is the runoff for "most unhelpful poster 2020"?

BigFactory
Sep 17, 2002



Dawncloack posted:

Wow, when is the runoff for "most unhelpful poster 2020"?

That’s a clear and concise question. You should ask more of these instead of the stream of consciousness stuff if you expect people to help or even understand you.

Dawncloack
Nov 26, 2007
ECKS DEE!

Nap Ghost

Are you going to contribute or are you just going to poo poo the thread?

BigFactory
Sep 17, 2002



Dawncloack posted:

Are you going to contribute or are you just going to poo poo the thread?

Your posts are completely confusing. Take the criticism or don’t. If you started by clearly stating what you’re trying to do you will get better results.

cakesmith handyman
Jul 22, 2007

Pip-Pip old chap! Last one in is a rotten egg what what.



In the interest of seeing some actual progress I'll give you the benefit of my 35 seconds of googling extensive years of research



Rather than drilling holes in your shelf sit your plant pot misting vessel on the shelf with some fabric stretched over the top. Your plant pot misting vessel will need a drain and a misting/spray nozzle inside.

Kaiser Schnitzel
Mar 28, 2006

Schnitzel mit uns




I don't know anything about aeroponics, but it sounds like tech bros 'disrupting' farming. What's wrong with good ole fashioned dirt? What's the supposed advantage of aeroponics vs hydroponics vs dirt?

cakesmith handyman
Jul 22, 2007

Pip-Pip old chap! Last one in is a rotten egg what what.



Kaiser Schnitzel posted:

I don't know anything about aeroponics, but it sounds like tech bros 'disrupting' farming. What's wrong with good ole fashioned dirt? What's the supposed advantage of aeroponics vs hydroponics vs dirt?

Sounds like another question that can only be answered by extensive years of research.

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.


I thought aeroponics was just a buzzword from star trek voyager

Hexigrammus
May 22, 2006

Cheech Wizard stories are clean, wholesome, reflective truths that go great with the marijuana munchies and a blow job.


Kaiser Schnitzel posted:

I don't know anything about aeroponics, but it sounds like tech bros 'disrupting' farming. What's wrong with good ole fashioned dirt? What's the supposed advantage of aeroponics vs hydroponics vs dirt?

I guess it's the Next Big Thing after hydroponics?

I've done hydroponics. It has its place - mainly if you're tight for space in a windowless basement and can deal with the mold, or industrial sized operations. It's fun but it ain't green - too much plastic and energy use.

My main objection to it is our lack of understanding of how roots interact with the environment they're in. There's increasing evidence that roots are highly dependent on soil fungus to perform optimally and any attempt to isolate them in a sterile environment is ultimately going to be a dead end. They aren't just a simple nutrient sponge.


otoh, if it gets people growing stuff, go for it!

HELLO LADIES
Feb 15, 2008



Kaiser Schnitzel posted:

I don't know anything about aeroponics, but it sounds like tech bros 'disrupting' farming. What's wrong with good ole fashioned dirt? What's the supposed advantage of aeroponics vs hydroponics vs dirt?

You can grow year-round (even 24/7) and completely out of climate, since it's indoors it's much easier to keep out pests and therefore there's no need to use pesticides, it can be stacked vertically so it can take up a much smaller footprint (which means you can either grow more food per sqft or use less sqft), and depending on the plants being grown it uses vastly less water than traditional irrigation. You can also do it in existing, unused urban or suburban spaces.

Some of the things humanity could do with the amount of farmland we could potentially free up include "plant a bazillion trees and agroforestry gardens in the space, for richer soil and healthier produce while still using that land productively" or "let the farmland become completely rewilded and do massive carbon offset". On top of that, just making farming vertical means less carbon-miles burned to haul all the food around.

The roots / fungi thing is a legitimate concern, but it's sort of balanced by the water/transport costs/fertilizer issue. Dismissing it out of hand as techbro poo poo is ridiculous.

TL;DR: all the benefits of hydroponics, much less water, but a decent amount of tradeoffs.

Hexigrammus posted:

I've done hydroponics. It has its place - mainly if you're tight for space in a windowless basement and can deal with the mold, or industrial sized operations. It's fun but it ain't green - too much plastic and energy use.

This isn't an issue with hydro per se, though. The issues with plastic are just an input and their own problem to be solved, and the energy stuff is half "we need to get off fossil fuels", half "it's energy-intensive but probably less so than industrial agriculture if you factory in supply chain transportation costs" into the mix.

I think any future that's not basically survival horror is going to involve a combination of agroforestry, small-scale permaculture, industrial hydro/aero, and an ever-reducing share of the picture for industrial ag that may never actually go away entirely, but will see a rewilding or conversion to perma.

Dawncloack
Nov 26, 2007
ECKS DEE!

Nap Ghost

BigFactory posted:

Your posts are completely confusing. Take the criticism or don't. If you started by clearly stating what you're trying to do you will get better results.

My style was poo poo, you had a good point. I will word better in the future. Thanks.

Mooooooooods! BigFactory Farming is being mean to me!

Kaiser Schnitzel posted:

I don't know anything about aeroponics, but it sounds like tech bros 'disrupting' farming. What's wrong with good ole fashioned dirt? What's the supposed advantage of aeroponics vs hydroponics vs dirt?
Some posters commented on this already. On my case, I am also going to plant things on dirt and in pots, but I want to have redundancy. And the idea of simply passing once a day and spraying seems pretty attractive. Also sounds economical in work.



Thanks for the ideas. Specially the schematic, I hadn't thought of a cloth.

HELLO LADIES
Feb 15, 2008



Dawncloack posted:

Specially the schematic, I hadn't thought of a cloth.

For what it's worth, I only have a few air plants that are strictly ornamental so this might not work to scale or with things that have to support fruit, but my go-to method for tilsandia and the like is chicken mesh in a wood frame. Not sure how well that would do with normal terrestrial plants, though, because air plants tend to be light as gently caress and easily balanced on things, and they're pretty hardy little fuckers.

HELLO LADIES fucked around with this message at 18:44 on Apr 14, 2020

friendbot2000
Apr 30, 2011



Sorry for letting this thread wither on the vine. A lot of poo poo has happened in life lately that left me with no space in the brain box for things.

The good news is I am getting married and have fallen rear end-backward into homeownership! The bad news is that OH MY GOD I HAVE A HOUSE NOW AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

So I have been planning my yard and am just beating my head against the wall because the Pandemic closed the dump(free mulch!) so I can't get the mulch needed to get rid of this accursed Virginia Red Clay. So my yard plans are set back by possibly a year. And well...my full yard plan is basically a 2-year mulching regime followed by FINALLY starting to plant stuff.

So far my garden plans are as follows:

- My new house sits at the bottom of two hills. I think it's like...a full acre? possibly 3/4ths of an acre. Anyways, because it sits at the bottom of these two hills we get quite a bit of standing water pooling about and just loving LOL if I am going to finish the basement without doing water abatement stuff. So my idea is to terrace the hills and plant my garden there and at the top plant bushes for a privacy screen from neighbors(and their drat kids rollerskating on my grass), likely Azleas because they are Virginia Natives and my favorite.
- Once the terrace is done I will put a trellis around the entrance to my shed and plant two Hardy Kiwi's. They aren't VA natives, but they will survive the winter and produce a fuckton of fruit once they start producing.
- Thinking about planting a Paw Paw tree. It's a VA native fruit tree and the name amuses me
- I want to replace the lovely wooden deck and replace it with a stone patio
- Plant all sorts of veggies in the terraced gardens and do some companion planting with herbs so I don't have to use pesticides
- my parents's neighbors have horses so I have unlimited fertilizer for the garden, though the HOA might have a problem with that. I think I can get away with it if I bury the horse poo poo so it doesn't smell, but that remains to be seen.

Later on I will take some pictures of the prospective land so the thread can see the "Before" retrospective and give whatever pointers they have!

friendbot2000 fucked around with this message at 15:36 on Apr 30, 2020

Your Boy Fancy
Feb 7, 2003

by Cyrano4747


There Was Time Now, so the garden of Chidi House, the humble abode that only gave us stomachaches for a year and a half, is springing up nicely.

- VEGETABLES: Nah man. The possums go for them first. We gave it a go, and Henry got to them. (All possums are named Henry.)

- FRUITS: Blackberries! You don't have to do much with a blackberry bush. Plant it and ignore it. Summer's gonna kick rear end.

- LANDSCAPING: Oh my goodness, the flowers. My wife has taken to the Philadelphia Flower Show as an annual pilgrimage with friends, and she comes back with many things, including tulips so large and jagged before they pop that I started calling them The Audreys. Also, if you just wanna plant something and ignore it? I suggest corn flowers. They get up to your ribcage in height without too much effort, and they spread. Oh my god, the volunteer cornflowers are taking over my street. The neighbors don't seem to mind, and we're laughing because Johnny Appleseed sounds cool and Johnny Cornflower sounds like a bootlegger from Windsor, ON.

- TILLING: Chidi House is a hundred year old house, and until two years ago, it sat vacant for decades. That means the neighborhood kids screwed around in it, busted out every window, and I cannot explain to you how many condoms were found. So a big part of the rehab project has involved taking a hand tiller - look, I'm young and I don't feel like gasoline powered anything - and digging up glass from every square inch of our property. "Bumper crop of glass this year, honey," we'd yell to each other from time to time. Also found: shards of 50's era ceramics, old nails, an entire hose, and what appears to be a set of marbles. Our theory is that the raised flower bed has a leveled surface underneath, and kids used to play marbles there. We might learn how to play marbles. Why the gently caress not. There Was Time Now.

- THE ACCURSED BLOODY LAWN: We don't want sod. Sod is for shitters, man. But we don't want to do weed killer, because weed killer might hurt our cat. So our lawn is...well, it's more weeds than grass, and it looks for all the world like the fully grown weed clumps from Animal Crossing. We broke down and bought a push lawnmower - again, no gas powered anything - and it does the job for everything that isn't a certain height and thickness. Including the volunteer tulips. Got a lithium-battery-powered weed whacker, which seemed fairly intuitive, but I poo poo you not, the instructions Makita provided straight up skip steps for assembly. They include parts, don't tell you where they go, and you stare at the instructions and ask why the gently caress things don't go together. Anyway it all works now. Mostly. The weed whacker runs forwards and backwards, but if I run it backwards, the head falls off and my wife falls over laughing. I live in a sitcom. I live in pre-Urkel Family Matters. (If you've never watched Family Matters pre-Urkel, I recommend it. It's a very different show.)

- SOLAR POWER, MOTHERFUCKER: The District of Columbia is a great place to get solar. My best friend and I got solar power at the same time; she lives in Alexandria, I live in DC. She's paying something like $22,000 over a 20 year loan for her solar panels; I'm paying...well...nothing. No charge for installation. DC really, really wants you to go solar, to the point where solar companies can go door to door and give you the easiest sell of all time; they get the subsidies from the city to build it, and I pay the solar company $30 a month for the power. I also pay Pepco, the local power company, for what non-solar power we use. Last month, despite both of us being out of work and using a fair bit of electricity? $3.50. Look into your local/state solar situations, because solar might just be the Right loving Answer.

- THE CITY IS HERE FOR YOU TO USE: DC also gets aggressive about water. If your land isn't permeable, you get a massive charge on your water bill, the proceeds of which goes to Chris, The Boring Machine, which is currently boring a hole across the city to help clean/filter garbage out of the Anacostia River. You can call the water company to bitch about it, and they'll reassess your land. "Oh," they said, "You can have way more permeable land than this, check out these city programs!" My friends, the District of Columbia will subsidize landscapers to plant rain gardens, "bayscape" (aka Chesapeake Bay-native plants that are super thirsty), and full on trees. You pay $50 for the gardens, $100 for the trees, $50 for rain barrels, and all of this, if you report it to the city water department, grants you credits to your water bill.

Home ownership in a super expensive town is an adventure, but as long as you aren't scared of black people, you can live quietly, nobody bothers you because you're not a loving cop, and there's room to grow. Literally. The eastern tip of DC used to be all farm land. As my neighbor said, "Wait until you see how good the soil is!" Then she stole a bunch of our tomatoes. It's okay though. We had plenty.

friendbot2000
Apr 30, 2011



Your Boy Fancy posted:

There Was Time Now, so the garden of Chidi House, the humble abode that only gave us stomachaches for a year and a half, is springing up nicely.

- VEGETABLES: Nah man. The possums go for them first. We gave it a go, and Henry got to them. (All possums are named Henry.)

- FRUITS: Blackberries! You don't have to do much with a blackberry bush. Plant it and ignore it. Summer's gonna kick rear end.

- LANDSCAPING: Oh my goodness, the flowers. My wife has taken to the Philadelphia Flower Show as an annual pilgrimage with friends, and she comes back with many things, including tulips so large and jagged before they pop that I started calling them The Audreys. Also, if you just wanna plant something and ignore it? I suggest corn flowers. They get up to your ribcage in height without too much effort, and they spread. Oh my god, the volunteer cornflowers are taking over my street. The neighbors don't seem to mind, and we're laughing because Johnny Appleseed sounds cool and Johnny Cornflower sounds like a bootlegger from Windsor, ON.

- TILLING: Chidi House is a hundred year old house, and until two years ago, it sat vacant for decades. That means the neighborhood kids screwed around in it, busted out every window, and I cannot explain to you how many condoms were found. So a big part of the rehab project has involved taking a hand tiller - look, I'm young and I don't feel like gasoline powered anything - and digging up glass from every square inch of our property. "Bumper crop of glass this year, honey," we'd yell to each other from time to time. Also found: shards of 50's era ceramics, old nails, an entire hose, and what appears to be a set of marbles. Our theory is that the raised flower bed has a leveled surface underneath, and kids used to play marbles there. We might learn how to play marbles. Why the gently caress not. There Was Time Now.

- THE ACCURSED BLOODY LAWN: We don't want sod. Sod is for shitters, man. But we don't want to do weed killer, because weed killer might hurt our cat. So our lawn is...well, it's more weeds than grass, and it looks for all the world like the fully grown weed clumps from Animal Crossing. We broke down and bought a push lawnmower - again, no gas powered anything - and it does the job for everything that isn't a certain height and thickness. Including the volunteer tulips. Got a lithium-battery-powered weed whacker, which seemed fairly intuitive, but I poo poo you not, the instructions Makita provided straight up skip steps for assembly. They include parts, don't tell you where they go, and you stare at the instructions and ask why the gently caress things don't go together. Anyway it all works now. Mostly. The weed whacker runs forwards and backwards, but if I run it backwards, the head falls off and my wife falls over laughing. I live in a sitcom. I live in pre-Urkel Family Matters. (If you've never watched Family Matters pre-Urkel, I recommend it. It's a very different show.)

- SOLAR POWER, MOTHERFUCKER: The District of Columbia is a great place to get solar. My best friend and I got solar power at the same time; she lives in Alexandria, I live in DC. She's paying something like $22,000 over a 20 year loan for her solar panels; I'm paying...well...nothing. No charge for installation. DC really, really wants you to go solar, to the point where solar companies can go door to door and give you the easiest sell of all time; they get the subsidies from the city to build it, and I pay the solar company $30 a month for the power. I also pay Pepco, the local power company, for what non-solar power we use. Last month, despite both of us being out of work and using a fair bit of electricity? $3.50. Look into your local/state solar situations, because solar might just be the Right loving Answer.

- THE CITY IS HERE FOR YOU TO USE: DC also gets aggressive about water. If your land isn't permeable, you get a massive charge on your water bill, the proceeds of which goes to Chris, The Boring Machine, which is currently boring a hole across the city to help clean/filter garbage out of the Anacostia River. You can call the water company to bitch about it, and they'll reassess your land. "Oh," they said, "You can have way more permeable land than this, check out these city programs!" My friends, the District of Columbia will subsidize landscapers to plant rain gardens, "bayscape" (aka Chesapeake Bay-native plants that are super thirsty), and full on trees. You pay $50 for the gardens, $100 for the trees, $50 for rain barrels, and all of this, if you report it to the city water department, grants you credits to your water bill.

Home ownership in a super expensive town is an adventure, but as long as you aren't scared of black people, you can live quietly, nobody bothers you because you're not a loving cop, and there's room to grow. Literally. The eastern tip of DC used to be all farm land. As my neighbor said, "Wait until you see how good the soil is!" Then she stole a bunch of our tomatoes. It's okay though. We had plenty.

Dude, I am doing the best I can to see if I can pressure my state government to take what DC is doing in regards to "paying" people to clean their poo poo up because that would be frigging awesome to see happen across a whole state. I know Dominion Power is trying to get it's greedy paws into solar power like the foul botchlings they are so it's anyone's guess how that's gonna play out.

One of my favorite things the local dumps in Virginia do is they give away the mulch they make by grinding up the yard waste for free as long as you can carry it away. Sometimes if you catch the guys working the equipment at the right time they will fill up your truck/trailer in one fell swoop with their earthmover equipment. You have to pick some of the garbage out of the mulch, but it beats the massive price tag from places like Home Depot and stuff so I will happily pick out the bits of plastic for what I am paying for it!

Have you considered looking into some ground cover plants to replace sod and weeds?? Things like ferns or common blue violets.

Here is a cool list of Virginia Natives(Likely DC Area natives too) : https://choosenatives.org/articles/plant-native-ground-covers-make-america-green/

I also found a cool article about getting rid of your lawn and planting cool Virginia native plants: https://www.arlingtonmagazine.com/lawn-gone/

friendbot2000
Apr 30, 2011



Okay, so as I mentioned before I kinda fell rear end-backward into getting a house. Upon getting engaged my fiance's mom decided that she would move up to Maryland to live with her boyfriend so the question became what to do with the house? My fiance has Crohns disease so she can't exactly afford to live elsewhere due to medical bills so she still lived there. I brought up...well, why don't we take over the mortgage? And well, we are not the proud owners of a 4 bedroom/2 1/2 bath home and there is just....so much I want to do with it. But first...the yard because of all the things I want to do that is the cheapest and takes the most time to get started. I will probably be posting kitchen stuff later on when we secure the funding to remodel the kitchen.

Anyways, very little mulching has actually been done and any goon who knows Virginia knows all we got is loving red clay for soil. That just simply won't do for the jungle I plan to create lol.

Mailbox and attached yard



Our property line goes all the way out to the wooden fence on the left. I am thinking of mulching over that entire area for the next year or so, alternating bark and leaf mulch, then turning the soil after a month or two. I am still putting together my plan for what I want to plant in this area though. I know that the side yard next to the house I plan to put raspberry bushes and maybe some blueberries along the fence line. I haven't poked around in that access covering to see what that actually is so what I plant around it will be dependant on that I suppose. But this area gets a LOT of water buildup when it rains so I want to put some thirsty plants there to prevent that from seeping places I don't want it to go.

Rest of Front Yard



The rest of the front yard is just....sod. Sod as far as the eye can see. The azaleas in the front are real puny and I can't tell if it's because the front yard is primarily shady, there are no nutrients in the soil to spur growth, or they just get cut back to within an inch of their lives all the time. I want to expand the tree bed and ring it with rocks( to contain ground cover) and plant some pretty ground cover that isn't a vine. I also want to extend the mulch line to the street and plant more flowering bushes or thirsty plants. There are some boxwoods behind me in that picture that I am going to tear out because I loving hate boxwoods. We also want to get some ferns to put around the Bleeding Hearts so they have some company.

I am a little curious what the thread's thoughts are on a driveway replacement option. The front yard is in near-constant shade so in the winter it ices over pretty hard and I am uncomfortable with the idea of using salt all the time because I don't like the idea of it running off into places it shouldn't.

Side Yard


These pics might be a little repetitive and I apologize for that! Anyways, only one thing to say about this place: BERRY BUSHES! The side yards and back yards get oodles of sunlight so they are perfect for berry bushes! Still haven't figured out an attractive way to protect the berries from critters, but odds are I will share the wealth and let the critters have their share

Shed/Mudroom


Around the door I am going to plant 2-4 hardy kiwis on an overhanging trellise and be swimming in fresh fruit once they start producing. The wooden deck is going to go and I am probably going to grade the incline myself with mulching until I can get the funds together to put the stone patio in. One thing I have been pondering is how well the hardy kiwis will do if I put in a permanent stone walkway/ramp(for the wheelbarrow) to the shed.

Back Yard




The property line goes all the way to the rear neighbors fence. I was thinking of terracing the hill and putting my vegetable garden in the tiered planting terrace. Then putting flowering bushes along the edge of it to give the yard and house a natural privacy screen. Not sure exactly if it will look how I imagine it in my head, so critiques welcome. I was going to make the terrace go all the way up to the "future" patio line. and raise it up by a foot or so, that way the lip at the bottom is a bench of sorts. I was thinking about making the terrace go all the way to the end of my house, but that leaves a question of what to do on the other hill.

Side Yard p2




I haven't the foggiest what to do here. Do I grade it flat and put in another vegetable garden? Rain gardens? do more of my terrace farm? I suppose it depends on what the HOA will let me get away with on that front haha. But one thing is for sure, I want to get rid of this loving sod because I don't want to mow all this goddamn grass.


Again, open to suggestions and comments on how to better make use of water resources available to me. If you think you have a better idea for parts of the yard, go ahead and sling em out. We are in the planning stages right now and its a blank canvas that I hope to turn into a lush greenspace full of tasty fruits/veg and beautiful flowers

Lackmaster
Mar 1, 2011


I feel like your first step should be to learn about your HOA rules in excruciating detail. As far as HOA true-believers go, your yard is “perfect” and any changes may be met with opposition. Opposition will probably range from passive aggressive looks all the way to getting reported to your HOA and/or local zoning enforcement dept. Being sure you’re on the right side of the regulation will help if/when that happens. If you want to get really creative you should learn about the gaps in your HOA regs or things it’s otherwise silent on.

This may be overreacting, but it really depends on your HOA. In the worst case scenario they will gently caress.you.up if you do anything to disturb that sterile-rear end grass.

Dawncloack
Nov 26, 2007
ECKS DEE!

Nap Ghost

Yeah, that was my first thought ttoo. Not a usamerican here, but by god have these forums provided with HOA horror stories.

Kaiser Schnitzel
Mar 28, 2006

Schnitzel mit uns




I think terracing the back yard would be a good idea (or just do sort of raised beds, but like stairs instead of actually doing much digging?). I don't think your soil is as bad as you think-just look at all those big, happy, mature trees! Virginia red clay isn't bad soil at all, it just needs a little organic matter and nitrogen and you have to be a little careful about digging in it when it's really wet.

Your irises look very happy! Those may well be dwarf, subdivision landscaping azaleas that aren't going to get very big ever. As you seem to be interested in native plants, the mostly evergreen azaleas common in the south aren't actually native-they're native to Japan. However, they do very well here and aren't invasive and have a long pedigree of use in the south, and honestly might as well be native. There are tons of similar plants from east asia that do very well here that got separated from their american cousins by the ice ages and continents moving around etc. There are also native azaleas, but they're mostly deciduous and substantially more particular than the indicas you currently have. I like the idea of blueberries in the low spot by the driveway-they are a handsome and tasty plant.

Unless everything is way huger than it looks in the pictures, I don't think your lot is 3/4 of an acre. It's maybe a quarter of an acre, judging by the pictures? An acre is ~44,000 sq. ft if that helps. It doesn't really matter, I just didn't want you to start dumping lime on your yard as if it were 3/4 acre and kill everything or something terrible.

friendbot2000
Apr 30, 2011



Dawncloack posted:

Yeah, that was my first thought ttoo. Not a usamerican here, but by god have these forums provided with HOA horror stories.

Yeah, our HOA is spoken of in hushed tones in Virginia as being one of the most strict in the state haha. They friggin banned rollerblading and skateboarding. I have half a mind to run for the board and become a cool kid insurgent candidate!

I found a loophole for the terracing. By HOA bylaws, retaining walls are permitted so I got my in there because the "terrace" is just a series of retaining walls dontcha know!

They dont have any ban on vegetable gardens, but they used to so thankfully that got overturned. I think if I explain to them that the mulching is to make the yard lusher they might make an exception there. I just loving HATE sod and want to not have to mow as much lol.

Kaiser Schnitzel posted:

I think terracing the back yard would be a good idea (or just do sort of raised beds, but like stairs instead of actually doing much digging?). I don't think your soil is as bad as you think-just look at all those big, happy, mature trees! Virginia red clay isn't bad soil at all, it just needs a little organic matter and nitrogen and you have to be a little careful about digging in it when it's really wet.

Your irises look very happy! Those may well be dwarf, subdivision landscaping azaleas that aren't going to get very big ever. As you seem to be interested in native plants, the mostly evergreen azaleas common in the south aren't actually native-they're native to Japan. However, they do very well here and aren't invasive and have a long pedigree of use in the south, and honestly might as well be native. There are tons of similar plants from east asia that do very well here that got separated from their american cousins by the ice ages and continents moving around etc. There are also native azaleas, but they're mostly deciduous and substantially more particular than the indicas you currently have. I like the idea of blueberries in the low spot by the driveway-they are a handsome and tasty plant.

Unless everything is way huger than it looks in the pictures, I don't think your lot is 3/4 of an acre. It's maybe a quarter of an acre, judging by the pictures? An acre is ~44,000 sq. ft if that helps. It doesn't really matter, I just didn't want you to start dumping lime on your yard as if it were 3/4 acre and kill everything or something terrible.

I did not know that about azaleas! Thank you friend! Tell me, do you have any suggestions about hardy kiwis? VA winters get collllllld so I was hoping to get an perrenial that can survive the winters and settled on those

One thing I am trying to puzzle over is how to do some sustainable water management to limit the water needed to water my future gardens. I was thinking of hiding rain barrels from the HOA somehow or catching run off from the roof(not sure how safe that is for plants though). I just need to disguise it from nosy neighbors. We do live in Virginia so we get a substantial amount of rain every growing season, but with climate change its anyone's guess.

And lol I am TERRIBLE at gaging spacial distances like acreage so you are prob right haha.

friendbot2000 fucked around with this message at 14:50 on May 1, 2020

Lead out in cuffs
Sep 18, 2012

"That's right. We've evolved."

"I can see that. Cool mutations."



Runoff from the roof is what usually goes into rain barrels. It's rainwater, I'm pretty sure it's fine for plants.

And are they honestly banned by your HOA? In a lot of places they're incentivized.

Something else you could think of for water is a greywater pond/swamp. That does involve plumbing, though, and the HOA would probably have a fit if they figured out what it was. But you can probably just disguise it as a pond.

he1ixx
Aug 23, 2007

still bad at video games

We've been working on building a netzero house on 16 acres up in VT (my wife and I). We should be finalizing construction documents with the architect and builder this week or next and, if folks are interested, I can share some of the experience so far in this thread. The land we bought is up a mountain, but not too far up, it has a few acres of wetlands and the rest is all woods. I am 100% sure there are bears, deer, mink, raccoons, bobcats and other stuff wandering around on the land. I am pretty obsessed by the project and haven't really been able to think about much else since 2016.

We are building using mostly Passivehaus specs but we're not being crazy about it. It turns out there's a movement among builders for what we're doing called "Pretty Good House" (https://www.prettygoodhouse.org) which is just taking the practical parts of building to passivehaus requirements but tailoring it to what your actual goals are -- netzero, low emissions, healthy indoor environment, solar, etc.

Anyway, I can dump more info about what we've learned, how we got here and other nonsense if this is the place to do it.

Dawncloack
Nov 26, 2007
ECKS DEE!

Nap Ghost

It sure is!

he1ixx
Aug 23, 2007

still bad at video games

Welp, the "short" version of the story is that we started dreaming about moving up to VT in 2014/2015 because we love it so much there. We've been gradually moving farther and farther away from cities and decided we wanted to go where there are less people. We wanted a very low-energy/net zero home, avoid fossil fuels if possible, be off-grid or off-grid capable, be extremely durable and not require a ton of maintenance and have a setup where, if we have trouble with stairs many years down the road, it won't be the end of the world. We started the search even though we knew we couldn't move until 2021. We've been madly paying off a 15 year mortgage on our current house (in PA) so we have a nice chunk already invested which we can use to reduce costs as much as possible for our new life up north

I have two kids from a previous marriage -- one in college, one in high school and graduating in a year (hopefully -- this pandemic is throwing everything out the window currently) so we planned on moving when the high schooler goes to college. Using that date (2021) as a basis, we started researching like crazy to see what houses were available up there for when we eventually want to buy. My wife ran across a pre-fab house maker in Maine called GO-Logic and it totally shifted our gears -- maybe we don't buy an existing house. Maybe we buy land and put a pre-fab house on it. Hmm...

GO-Logic is based in Maine and their houses were made in the cold climate and seemed to enbody the ideals were were looking to incorporate into our homes. They were the first site we saw the world "passivehaus" and it took us down a rabbithole of research. We set up a call with them and talked to their team to find out what their houses were all about. We asked if they built many houses in Vermont and they said "Actually, not that many." which surprised us since Vermont is always touting "green" and sustainability. Once we dug into the details we realized it is because, not only does Vermont have a huge passivehaus building movement in the state, but they are also big on building and buying local which also fit very well with our philosophies as well.

This phone called launched months of research and had us digging into Vermont builders and architects. We found an architect that built houses that we loved. We wrote him an email and set up a phone call with him. He was surprisingly candid -- Vermont has high taxes (very high), land is expensive, you need to make sure that there are waste water certifications and well certifications included in the land price or else you might buy land that you can't even put a house on, building in Vermont is expensive, building a well-insulated and efficient house is expensive. All-in-all, it sounded... expensive. The dream was kind of dead at that moment but we decided to go through with his on-boarding process, paying a few hundred dollars and get an assessment done that would give us a basic design that would suit our needs and, crucially, expenses.

He gave us a questionnaire that was many pages in length. It really forced us to nail down our thinking on what we *actually wanted*. If you're thinking of building a house or looking for one, I suggest this method because it takes your nebulous ideas of "house" and makes them "I want this kind of house" ideas. It doesn't nail things down but suggest things that might prove useful when comparing different features. Here are some of his questions:

Please rank the following in order of importance​ (1=most important, 3=least important)? Schedule (3 ) Budget (2 ) Quality (1 )
Please explain your energy efficiency goals for the project?
Please explain your sustainability goals for the project?
What is the very essence of the home you can see in your mind and feel in your heart?
How long do you expect you will own your new home?
Which exterior building materials do you find most appealing?
How do you envision your house relating to its site?

21 pages of questions like that really makes you work to imagine where you want to be. We also included tons of photos for inspiration. It all sounded so awesome. We got his design plan and estimate. It was around 3 times the value of our current house. The dream was pretty much dead at that point. We were going to need to find another way to make a house in Vermont happen.

(to be continued lol)

he1ixx
Aug 23, 2007

still bad at video games

I'm generally pretty unlucky. Various dumb accidents over the years have messed me up (who needs a heart operation after a bike accident? me) and tons of investments have gone south for me over the years. But that all kind of changed in 2017 or so when my wife said that her company's stock, that we had ignored for years, had gone nuts (she was one of the first people hired). Without going into the gory details, she had a LOT of stock options that were basically worthless for years and now they weren't so we sold whatever was vested and cashed it out. There was still a bunch of unvested options but that's a story for later. Around the same time, my wife's father's house was put up for sale. Her father had died years ago and his current wife was living there. When she passed away, the house was put up for sale and, since half of it was my wife's father's money, half of the proceeds of the sale went to her side of the family. Another huge chunk (about the value of our equity in our current house) of money out of the blue. All of a sudden, within the span of a month, we could afford to build a house in Vermont. I still can't believe it.

So we contacted the architect and said "I think we're going to do this" and started looking for property. If you've never done this before, looking for property is nothing like looking for a house. We went on Zillow and entered in criteria for what we thought we wanted -- at least 4 acres, wooded but not all wooded (wife wants a garden), not up too crazy a mountain road, not near a busy road (we live near one now and it succcckksss), needs water rights and septic permit. I created a spreadsheet that had criteria listed out and we put properties in there and rated them all based on the "adherence" criteria I had specified. How close was each one to our ideal for location? Size? How much effort will it take to make it buildable? How close to our budget was it?



We compiled a list of about 40 properties that made the cut, sent them to a realtor in the area and headed up to Vermont for a week's vacation during mud season. We drove hundreds of miles up and down the state, focused on the area we were interested in and narrowed the choices down to four properties. Really, two. Same price but very different situations.

It was between one property that was truly out in the middle of nowhere. It was situated near a cow farm, up a pretty severe elevation. I never really "got" why people wanted "a view" until I saw this place. Imagine waking up to this every day.


The other property was in Stowe. It was a fairly quick drive into town (4 minutes or so) but in a very secluded "neighborhood" that was made up of 16-25 acre chunks near the top of a mountain. It was originally a giant parcel that had been subdivided and sold and the last subdivision was still available.

It had wetlands surrounding the main house envelope and then a huge area on the other side of the wetlands.It was shaped like a huge mitten where the house was in the thumb and the finger part was woods with another clearing deep into it.

The dealbreaker was that the mountain-view house didn't have any internet service. We looked into satellite but, since my wife's work is all internet-based, it felt like a bad idea to bet on a dodgy satellite connection and have no recourse if it didn't work (and even the best satellite was going to go down according to everyone on the mountain that we talked to). The site work costs were going to be very high too since we'd need to pull electricity halfway up a mountain. We hated to let that place go because it was so so so beautiful (it even had a writer's cabin and a small pond up there), but we felt there were too many unknowns and dealbreakers to get involved with.

So we dug into the Stowe property and did some research, hired a lawyer to research the situation with any lingering codicils or liens, etc. We also called our architect to come look at the site to assess it for things like orientation to the sun for solar gain and other things that would help with building an energy efficient house. Oh cable internet has already been run up to this mountain so we were safe on that front. Whew.

(now work calls. to be continued)

Lead out in cuffs
Sep 18, 2012

"That's right. We've evolved."

"I can see that. Cool mutations."



Huh. I can see why poo poo is so expensive in Vermont. Stowe is just a two hour drive from Montreal, and there's an Amtrak line 40 minutes away. Oh and it's basically a ski town, surrounded by state parks? Like, have you considered running a B&B on the side once you've gotten set up?

Super excited for you, though. Also hyped to see photos of the site. What's your plan for stewardship of those wetlands?

he1ixx
Aug 23, 2007

still bad at video games

Lead out in cuffs posted:

Huh. I can see why poo poo is so expensive in Vermont. Stowe is just a two hour drive from Montreal, and there's an Amtrak line 40 minutes away. Oh and it's basically a ski town, surrounded by state parks? Like, have you considered running a B&B on the side once you've gotten set up?

Super excited for you, though. Also hyped to see photos of the site. What's your plan for stewardship of those wetlands?

yeah we're excited about the trips to Montreal. Neither of us have visited it before. And there's an airport 40 minutes away too, with flights to Philly and North Carolina where we both have family.

Once we get settled up there, the goal for us is I quit working and take care of our young kid (yes in addition to the two older kids, we have a third kid who is almost 3). The whole setup for us is that the house is essentially zero cost to maintain and run. We'll have internet and food and taxes as our main expenses. My wife is going to keep her job and I'll either end up working part time to supplement income or just ... who knows. Our dream is that we reduce expenses to the point where we have a lot of flexibility and can do whatever we want.

If things go as planned, we end this thing next spring with zero debt, a new house that has low expenses, and a ton of flexibility with our time. We won't be ready for another project for a while. We did talk about building another small cabin in the "fingers of the mitten" part of our land and renting it out on AirBnb but that's pretty far off though . One project at a time!

Wetland-wise, the entire area is considered off-limits for any activity, including a 50' setback for the developable land. We have done a ton of reading about owning and caring for woods (list below) and plan on harvesting wood out of the non-wetlands area for firewood (which we won't need much of) and otherwise leaving it all as natural as possible. There's talk of making a small trail from our house site to the larger clearing set waaaaay back in the fingers of the mitten. That'd be a long multi-year project probably.

Some books we are reading to guide our forest decisions or just learn more about the trees and vegetation (and ecosystem)

Reading the Forested Landscape by Tom Wessels
A Beginner's Guide to Recognizing Trees of the Northeast by Mark Mikolas
The Trees in My Forest by Benrd Heinrich
Native Plants for New England Gardens by Mark Richardson and Dan Jaffe
Wetland, Woodland, Wildland: A Guide to the Natural Communities of Vermont by E. Thompson and E Sorenson
The Walker's Guide to Vermont by the Green Mountain Club
Native Plants of the Northeast: A Guide to Gardening and Conservation by Donald J. Leopold
Nature Guide to the Northern Forest: Exploring the Ecology of the Forests of NY, NH, VT, ME by Peter Marchand
AMC's Complete Guide to Trail Building and Maintenance by AMC's Trails Dept
More than a Woodlot: Getting the Most from Your Family Forest by Stephen Long

he1ixx
Aug 23, 2007

still bad at video games



We looked at so much land before settling on the Stowe property. It was a fun search and, according to folks who live up here, they were extremely blown away that we were able to find a place when we did and for what we got. I attribute this mostly to going up in mud season which is the time in VT when the snow is melting and the roads aren't yet open to big vehicles due to the snow melt creating giant muddy morasses all over the place. We didn't find it too bad and it was definitely the tourist off-season. The land we found was put on sale right before mud season started so we got the jump on people coming up in the spring to look for a place to build their dream ski chalet.

If you look at the property, north is on the right, south is on the left. Our property goes from the road on the left side all the way to the driveway on the right (which is actually on our property technically and is protected legally by an addendum to the deed. Beyond the driveway is a big pond owned by the guy down the street a bit. It's hard to tell just how big the land is by looking at this but you're driving for a good 40 seconds before you get to the spot where they are going to do the curb cut. It's just dense woods along a gravel road. The only people who really need to use the road are the people who live there or the people who want to see the haunted covered bridge at the far end of it -- a far cry from the busy motorcycle raceway we currently live on.

The "thumb" area of the map is the house site. There is a proposed driveway on the diagram and we'll probably do something like that. We're still working on grading plans for that. The thumb area is large. If you look at the picture above. I took that from about 2 car lengths in from the road and the property continues to the treeline in the distant fog. Beyond that is the wetland. If you can picture that, then you can apply that same size model to the "finger" side of the mitten. There is a *ton* of land that isn't wetland and just wandering woods waiting to be explored.

The main house orientation for our house will be to the right side of the map (pond side) which is south. That's also the side of the roof that will have the solar panels on it.

If anyone has questions on buying land, I'll try to help or at least tell you how it went for us. Also to get an idea of taxes, the land as it is now is costing us $5000 a year or so. Once the house is built, I suspect it will be between $17,000 and $21,000 a year. Yowchhhhh.

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.


You got some insane loving taxes in the US for being such a tax-adverse country. There is no way in hell we could afford taxes like that, home ownership would be impossible on our salaries (~30k € for me, SO studies but might earn around the same when she starts working full time). We make pretty average salaries for Finland.

I dont know how regular people live in america since I understand the average income is 30k dollars so lots of people make even less and you got all these extra costs on top of that like health care and child care on 30k a year.

Kaiser Schnitzel
Mar 28, 2006

Schnitzel mit uns




His Divine Shadow posted:

You got some insane loving taxes in the US for being such a tax-adverse country. There is no way in hell we could afford taxes like that, home ownership would be impossible on our salaries (~30k € for me, SO studies but might earn around the same when she starts working full time). We make pretty average salaries for Finland.

I dont know how regular people live in america since I understand the average income is 30k dollars so lots of people make even less and you got all these extra costs on top of that like health care and child care on 30k a year.
Property taxes vary hugely by state and even municipality. Vermont has the 6th highest property tax rate in the country, about 3x what some other states have. The taxable value of land or a house in a fancy ski town is also going to be much higher than some dirt out in the middle of nowhere. Public school funding is usually tied to property taxes, so this leads to a similarly huge variation in schools/public service funding from place to place too.

he1ixx
Aug 23, 2007

still bad at video games

Kaiser Schnitzel posted:

Property taxes vary hugely by state and even municipality. Vermont has the 6th highest property tax rate in the country, about 3x what some other states have. The taxable value of land or a house in a fancy ski town is also going to be much higher than some dirt out in the middle of nowhere. Public school funding is usually tied to property taxes, so this leads to a similarly huge variation in schools/public service funding from place to place too.

This is correct. Stowe public school is the highest rated in the state and a lot of taxes go there. Taxes are almost completely tied to property taxes in the state and Vermont has a very low population which means that fewer people bear the brunt of the tax burden to run things. It is a trade off. Only about 4000 people live in Stowe. Another thing that factors in is that Vermont provides a lot for its residents as far as services go. Much more than my current state, Pennsylvania. For instance, in PA, we have to pay for child care for our youngest child and it costs us about $17k a year and we still need to work out something during the summer which is additional expense. Conversely, in Vermont, there is state-funded preschool which costs almost nothing (or often nothing, depending on the town). Stowe subsidizes preschool for their residents, so even though we're paying a lot in taxes, it will actually reduce our yearly costs by $17k a year (plus PA taxes which are $4000 currently).

Ironically, the fact that Stowe is a ski town means that our taxes are lower than other towns close by like Warren, Waitsfield, Morrisville etc. because the tourist dollars help offset resident property taxes. They also created a tiered system in town where residents pay one tax tier and people with a second home (non-residents) in Stowe pay a higher tier which also helps residents.

he1ixx fucked around with this message at 15:56 on May 28, 2020

he1ixx
Aug 23, 2007

still bad at video games

His Divine Shadow posted:

You got some insane loving taxes in the US for being such a tax-adverse country. There is no way in hell we could afford taxes like that, home ownership would be impossible on our salaries (~30k € for me, SO studies but might earn around the same when she starts working full time). We make pretty average salaries for Finland.

I dont know how regular people live in america since I understand the average income is 30k dollars so lots of people make even less and you got all these extra costs on top of that like health care and child care on 30k a year.

I also should note that the taxes are high because we're building an expensive house on 14 acres of extremely coveted area of town. I'm sure most properties aren't that high in Stowe (but they still aren't cheap by any stretch).

I will write up another post on this because its very pertinent to the thread of building green but building a netzero home means that a lot of the infrastructure of the house is higher cost than normal. There are systems in house that don't exist in "normal" homes. Triple glazed German windows, electric car hookup, Solar panels, HRV/ERV (air recyclers), highly efficient heat pumps, induction cooktop, and others all cost more than their more common versions. Plus the materials we are using are all sustainable, local and non-poisonous (cellulose insulation in super thick walls). I'll post more on that later. It's super interesting.

friendbot2000
Apr 30, 2011



he1ixx posted:

I also should note that the taxes are high because we're building an expensive house on 14 acres of extremely coveted area of town. I'm sure most properties aren't that high in Stowe (but they still aren't cheap by any stretch).

I will write up another post on this because its very pertinent to the thread of building green but building a netzero home means that a lot of the infrastructure of the house is higher cost than normal. There are systems in house that don't exist in "normal" homes. Triple glazed German windows, electric car hookup, Solar panels, HRV/ERV (air recyclers), highly efficient heat pumps, induction cooktop, and others all cost more than their more common versions. Plus the materials we are using are all sustainable, local and non-poisonous (cellulose insulation in super thick walls). I'll post more on that later. It's super interesting.

Please do this! I am looking into shooting for a netzero home in...the suburbs of all places so any info you give helps me too!

I will be posting my yard plan scribbles on graph paper soon as well!

he1ixx
Aug 23, 2007

still bad at video games

So far our process has been this:
Tell the architect / interior desinger / builder what we wanted in theory
- Net zero or passivehaus if possible.
- Solar as only form of power (no propane for heat)
- Self-sufficient off-grid operation if possible
- Age-in-place for the most part (all main house functions are on the 1st floor)
- Fireplace as a concession to aesthetics over efficiency
- A ton of pantry space and storage
- Some extra room for when the older kids visit or friends come to visit
- A place to keep the TV that's out of the main living area
- Area outside for a garden with good light and access to water
- Quick hookup for a generator (because a bad snow storm could knock out electricity and water pump uses an electric pump)

Over the next 6 months or so the architect "built" various versions of this house for us using design documents and we made choices.Each round honed the ideas and helped us better understand what we were getting into. Some things came into focus as we went through this process. Many of them started on the first day at the site, before we even bought it, with the architect.

South facing windows are super important for a passivehaus or really any house looking to be energy efficient. There are ways to make less ideal sites work but as we were starting out fresh, having a south facing wall would be key. Passivehaus design generally has a wall of large windows facing south with an overhang above them. When the sun is high in the summer, the sunlight is blocked from entering the house at its highest and hottest. During the winter, the sun hangs lower in the sky and the light will come into those big windows and heat the surfaces inside.

So windows are a big thing for a netzero home and you shouldn't skimp on them because they are one of the most important elements of the house. Especially in a bitterly cold environment, the need to have light to heat the house coupled with not losing heat out of the glass surface is a major issue. Here are the windows we are buying. There is a 3 month lead time for windows and doors right now which is wild.
https://www.europeanhomesolutions.com/schuco-living-82-md


Other names you'll hear are Marvin, Klearwall.

Heating, cooling and power are the next big topic. To get to netzero you need to size your heating and cooling load such that you have sufficient amounts of both but not so much that you oversize your systems (thus drawing more power then necessary). To get to a fairly educated guess, there are services you can get that will run models on your designs and give you expected values for your needs. Luckily for us, there is a group in Vermont called Efficiency Vermont which is funded in part by the state that will run those models for you and help you size and source (locally) heating and cooling systems. We sent them the design documents and they ran them through their models which gave us a hopefully-good first guess at heating and cooling needs for the house.

Here's an example of an estimate from an HVAC contractor bidding on the job. Keep in mind that the house is currently around 2450 sq/ft.

1-Mitsubishi 42,000 BTU Cold Climate heat pump Condenser Requires 50 Amp 240 Volt breaker
1-Mitsubishi SLZ-KA12NA Ceiling cassette 13,482 BTU'S of heating for the whole 1st. Floor master bedroom end
1-Mitsubishi SLZ-KA09NA Ceiling cassette 10,112 BTU'S of heating for the whole 1st. Floor living/dining/Kitchen area
3-Mitsubishi MSZ-GL06NA Wall mounted cassette 6,741 BTU'S of heating for the office, Kid's bedroom & Guest room
1-Mitsubishi PAC-MKA50BC Branch Boxes for Refrigerant piping distribution to the indoor units & to the outdoor units
2-Mitsubishi MHK1 Wall mounted wireless thermostats for all the 2 ceiling cassettes
The 3 wall mounted cassette comes with handheld remote controls
Refrigerant Piping from the Condenser to the branch box then to all 5 indoor units Condensate piping to the outside or a nearby drain line
1 Stand and 1 pad to set on and to keep the heat pump condenser up out of the snow
We take care of all the low voltage control wiring between units But we will need 240 Volts 50 Amps for the condenser
and 120 volts to the branch box which will be located in the mechanical room
Installation of a Zehnder Q350 ERV and an Electric heater on the incoming air that will need a 220V 20 amp circuit
Installation of all the flex to the register boxes for a total of 18 flex lines, Installation of all the grilles for supply & Exhaust



Since the only power source we have planned for the house is solar (other than emergency backup) we need to make sure that system is sized appropriately. The problem with a lot of this is that we can only model and try to build with some extensibility in mind. We can build with only as much forethought as the models provide some of this is guesswork which is a scary feeling since these could be $50k mistakes.

The solar panel system we designed should provide us with about 12.37 MWh yearly. We are spending an extra $1000 to make sure the system is sized such that we can expand with another panel if needs change down the road. It's far cheaper to spend that $1000 now than another $12k later. This is a grid-tied system meaning that our electricity is fed back to the electric company and they give us credits. We wanted to build an off-grid system but that looked like it was going to add another $30k to the house cost which seemed extravagant for what it was going to provide.

I should extrapolate on that since it was a big misconception for me when I first started this journey. Building an off-grid modern home is complicated. If you are in town limits, some places have regulations against being totally off-grid and require you to tie into the grid in some way. If you are allowed to do it, your biggest concern then becomes power storage. Batteries are very expensive right now and some designs (like the Tesla) have serious concerns regarding the chance of a fire if certain conditions are met. You need to size the system to store enough power for long periods of low sunlight OR will need to have a standby gasoline generator to charge them when there's not enough sun. You can get smart systems that kick the gas generator on to charge the batteries when the amount of solar generation is low and your battery charge is critical but generators are loud and require fuel which creates another issue (how much fuel do I need and how do I get it to my house?). When you add all of these things together, it just was a bridge too far for us to deal with. Not to mention the added cost. And the goal was to be assured of power during an outage and the outages are rare up on the mountain and fairly short. It's just not worth the added tens of thousands of dollars to mitigate that risk. If things go really bad, we are planning on making it easy to tie the house's electrical system to a gas generator that hopefully gets rarely used.

Here's what the evaluation for the currently designed system is telling us:

What your solar array saves in one year
Carbon Offset (lbs): 18,690
Gallons of Gasoline: 956
Trees Saved (tons): 4.46
Computers Powered: 96
Tons of Coal Not Burned: 2.49




Appliances in a netzero home are pretty straightforward. Our choice is an induction cooktop with an electric oven. We would love a propane or gas cooktop but having no fossil fuels in the house was important and it also reduces another system that can fail. One thing to keep in mind with an induction cooktop is that you need pots and pans that are metal and that can conduct magnetic energy. We mostly have compatible pots and pans already so it shouldn't be an issue for us but if you have expensive copper pans or things like that, you might have to invest in new cookware.


I'll post about insulation and house structure when I have more time. Let me know if you have questions on anything above.

friendbot2000
Apr 30, 2011



Lead out in cuffs posted:

Runoff from the roof is what usually goes into rain barrels. It's rainwater, I'm pretty sure it's fine for plants.

And are they honestly banned by your HOA? In a lot of places they're incentivized.

Something else you could think of for water is a greywater pond/swamp. That does involve plumbing, though, and the HOA would probably have a fit if they figured out what it was. But you can probably just disguise it as a pond.

The place I live in is rated as one of the most restrictive HOAs in the state. The only reason I fell backward into homeownership here is because my fiance's mother is giving us the house because she is moving up to live with her boyfriend and well...we needed a place to live. The house only has like 100K left on it in an area where house value is like 450K so it was too good of a deal to pass up.

Don't get me wrong, if I am able to do what I want with the yard...this quarter-acre plot will be the most beautiful on our street. But our bylaws for the HOA is like...War and Peace. Of course you can get ANYTHING approved in an HOA system as long as your neighbors approve, and you got a decent plan. Our neighbor does technical drawings for a living and he is going to draw us up a 3d model of what our yard improvements will look like for our proposal so that is going to put us over the edge to approval. I have a sketch of the plans I drew up on graph paper and will post it shortly.


Garden update!!!

The Sea of Sod has been broken and the good earth has seen fit to provide us with it's bounty...with one caveat. I am having some issues getting pollinators to come visit the once barren desert of flowers and pollinate my pepper plants. Which is why we parked the USS BeeCool next to the garden as a landing pad/bribe. The Garden gets sun ALL day so the plants are SUPER BEEFY. We named the Tomatoes: Tracey, Timothy, and Thomas. We are pretty sure Tracey is going to play basketball. The garden is 100 percent commercial pesticide/fertilizer free.

We fertilize with egg tea(basically you steep your eggshells in water for a few days, and use it to water the plants, then grind up the shells and spread them through the soil. Eggshells are filled with all the stuff plants love and if you have a fiance who has Crohns Disease and eggs are one of the things she can easily digest....you get a lotta eggshells lol. We conditioned the soil with leaf mulch and loam from my dad's dirt farm so it made the plants SUPER happy.

USS BeeCool


Garden pt 2


Garden p1


I am kinda worried that the bees and pollinators don't really know we are here. The tomatoes are producing, but the peppers are not and well...I was an idiot and forgot it takes time for perennials to get to the point where they will flower because I have a case of the dumb and planted Hollyhock, lupine, and another perennial that I cant remember its name from seeds and forgot that bees need flowers to know where your garden was. So I planted on the other side Marigolds, Snapdragons, and zinnias. The marigolds have flowered, but the Zinnias are being lil bitches and haven't flowered yet. I am..not a patient person evidently.


he1ixx posted:


1-Mitsubishi 42,000 BTU Cold Climate heat pump Condenser Requires 50 Amp 240 Volt breaker
1-Mitsubishi SLZ-KA12NA Ceiling cassette 13,482 BTU'S of heating for the whole 1st. Floor master bedroom end
1-Mitsubishi SLZ-KA09NA Ceiling cassette 10,112 BTU'S of heating for the whole 1st. Floor living/dining/Kitchen area
3-Mitsubishi MSZ-GL06NA Wall mounted cassette 6,741 BTU'S of heating for the office, Kid's bedroom & Guest room
1-Mitsubishi PAC-MKA50BC Branch Boxes for Refrigerant piping distribution to the indoor units & to the outdoor units
2-Mitsubishi MHK1 Wall mounted wireless thermostats for all the 2 ceiling cassettes
The 3 wall mounted cassette comes with handheld remote controls
Refrigerant Piping from the Condenser to the branch box then to all 5 indoor units Condensate piping to the outside or a nearby drain line
1 Stand and 1 pad to set on and to keep the heat pump condenser up out of the snow
We take care of all the low voltage control wiring between units But we will need 240 Volts 50 Amps for the condenser
and 120 volts to the branch box which will be located in the mechanical room
Installation of a Zehnder Q350 ERV and an Electric heater on the incoming air that will need a 220V 20 amp circuit
Installation of all the flex to the register boxes for a total of 18 flex lines, Installation of all the grilles for supply & Exhaust



Since the only power source we have planned for the house is solar (other than emergency backup) we need to make sure that system is sized appropriately. The problem with a lot of this is that we can only model and try to build with some extensibility in mind. We can build with only as much forethought as the models provide some of this is guesswork which is a scary feeling since these could be $50k mistakes.

The solar panel system we designed should provide us with about 12.37 MWh yearly. We are spending an extra $1000 to make sure the system is sized such that we can expand with another panel if needs change down the road. It's far cheaper to spend that $1000 now than another $12k later. This is a grid-tied system meaning that our electricity is fed back to the electric company and they give us credits. We wanted to build an off-grid system but that looked like it was going to add another $30k to the house cost which seemed extravagant for what it was going to provide.

I should extrapolate on that since it was a big misconception for me when I first started this journey. Building an off-grid modern home is complicated. If you are in town limits, some places have regulations against being totally off-grid and require you to tie into the grid in some way. If you are allowed to do it, your biggest concern then becomes power storage. Batteries are very expensive right now and some designs (like the Tesla) have serious concerns regarding the chance of a fire if certain conditions are met. You need to size the system to store enough power for long periods of low sunlight OR will need to have a standby gasoline generator to charge them when there's not enough sun. You can get smart systems that kick the gas generator on to charge the batteries when the amount of solar generation is low and your battery charge is critical but generators are loud and require fuel which creates another issue (how much fuel do I need and how do I get it to my house?). When you add all of these things together, it just was a bridge too far for us to deal with. Not to mention the added cost. And the goal was to be assured of power during an outage and the outages are rare up on the mountain and fairly short. It's just not worth the added tens of thousands of dollars to mitigate that risk. If things go really bad, we are planning on making it easy to tie the house's electrical system to a gas generator that hopefully gets rarely used.

Here's what the evaluation for the currently designed system is telling us:

What your solar array saves in one year
Carbon Offset (lbs): 18,690
Gallons of Gasoline: 956
Trees Saved (tons): 4.46
Computers Powered: 96
Tons of Coal Not Burned: 2.49




Appliances in a netzero home are pretty straightforward. Our choice is an induction cooktop with an electric oven. We would love a propane or gas cooktop but having no fossil fuels in the house was important and it also reduces another system that can fail. One thing to keep in mind with an induction cooktop is that you need pots and pans that are metal and that can conduct magnetic energy. We mostly have compatible pots and pans already so it shouldn't be an issue for us but if you have expensive copper pans or things like that, you might have to invest in new cookware.


I'll post about insulation and house structure when I have more time. Let me know if you have questions on anything above.

Hrm...we are planning to put solar panels on the roof of our house because we get sun all throughout the day, but it sounds like you are going for a larger array than our plot can accommodate? How big is your array? And in your research with diving into net-zero emission households, what can places that don't have the real estate required for a large array of solar do to get as close to net-zero as possible? Or for homes that are already built and can't do a lot of the house design stuff you are listing to lower emissions?

I am also VERY interested in insulation as I am prepping to replace a lot of the insulation in this house so I stop bleeding energy and money in the winter/summer.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Lead out in cuffs
Sep 18, 2012

"That's right. We've evolved."

"I can see that. Cool mutations."



You can buy bee cocoons. You leave them next to a bee house, and they keep coming back.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply