PING Morris

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Morris Dovey wrote:

Straw bale house I just built for a client.

Those TJI's are 12" deep .... way more than enough Icynene without filling them to the bottom.
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Swingman said:

Oops. Man, did I just dig in deep. :-\ I swear it looked like weathered OSB and no studs in the photo. I puzzled over what appeared to be new windows for a bit before inserting my entire left leg into my piehole. Sorry about that. Consider the source - a moron with bad eyesight.
Greg G.
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Greg G. wrote:

Next question: "How do you hang upper kitchen cabinets on a straw bale wall??":
http://www.e-woodshop.net/images/southwall.jpg
Left hand part of that other link (with all the code violations <g>)
... after the fact.
:)
BTW, Leon and I teamed up on this kitchen ... it turned out gorgeous and can't really be appreciated from photos.
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Swingman said:

I figured the ledger boards for the cabinets after learning what I was looking at.

Beautiful work! And a much clearer picture. I especially like the built in (Mission style?) china hutch. I assume you guys built all the cabinetry as well?
Admit it, you posted that grainy picture just to troll...
Greg G.
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Swingman said:

Hey, Swingman!
Uh... Perhaps I'm missing something, but what the hell kind of construction is this? It looks like something I saw in Reynosa, Mexico. I could fill a notebook with the code violations in this photo. What is holding up the right corner of the.. err... building? Over where the water damage is... It looks as though the stubbed out closet thing on the left has more integrity than the whole of the building. That wiring, the roof, the walls, the window header, jack and king studs (or lack thereof). I thought of post and beam but there seem to be neither. I can't see the cross section of the walls, but...
The insulation in the gables looks OK, but what am I missing here? Was the insulation used to glue this thing together?
Greg G.
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Greg G. said:

If this is your home or shop, pardon me. ;-) The fuzziness of the photo makes it difficult to see the details - but it kinda made my hair stand on end when I first saw it. Perhaps it is an optical illusion. I seem to recall looking at some homes you built a few years ago and was pretty certain that you built some fine looking houses. Is this the inside of one? :-o
Greg G.
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Greg G. wrote:

Google "straw bale construction". That stuff you see on the walls isn't OSB, it's straw bales. As to filling the book with code violations, go ahead, but first make sure you're looking at the right code. And yes, in an increasing number of localities there _is_ code for straw bale construction.
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J. Clarke said:

Don't need to Google it, but wasn't expecting it either. Looked like old, weathered OSB in the photo. I hope the occupant doesn't smoke. And that is still quite a span on those rafters - I hope the insulation is covering another 4" of width.
For some reason, reminds me of a brash young architect who built a home in the Arizona desert back in the 70's out of discarded steel barrels filled with antifreeze mix for thermal mass. My first exposure to a "solar" home.
Nowhere I've lived would allow either type of construction for occupied space, but I've never lived in the Midwest.
Thanks for clearing that up...
Greg G.
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Greg G. wrote:

Why would smoke be more of an issue for straw bale than for fiberglass or cellulose or any other kind of inuslation?

You might be surprised with straw bale.

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J. Clarke said:

Fire considerations, not the smoke per se.

I've heard it works well as an insulator. All it has to do is trap pockets of still air - it should do that well.
Greg G.
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Greg G. wrote:

And why would fire be more of an issue with that than with any other form of construction?
Hint--there is this substance called "sheetrock" . . .

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Greg G. wrote:

LOL. You could try, but you'd fail miserably. :)
Rest assured this puppy is structurally engineered to the max and has passed strict structural engineering requirements and ALL residential code inspections from ass to appetite ... foundation, framing, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and my own anal persona. :)
What is holding up the right corner of the.. err... building?

It's a post and beam, infill, straw bale wall, new SF residential construction (2200 sf, single story, completed 10/1/09).
Travis Cty, Texas is one of the few places that has a straw bale wall construction building code. All you can see from the photographs is insulation and the straw bales, none of the structural framing in visible, so don't fool yourself thinking you can see code violations ... trust me, there are NONE! :)

Estimated R42 - R48 value, all mechanical ductwork in thermal envelope. I didn't go for a LEEDS certification on this one because of the added expense due to the initial engineering completed too late for the first few LEEDS registration requirements ... it would have held the project up and played havoc with the construction schedule. Too bad, though ... it was built to that spec and would have passed.
Nifty project ... looking back I enjoyed it, but damn glad to be finished. It was my first "alternative construction" project, but now that the cherry is broke, I would do another in a heartbeat ... besides I am now one of the few in the area _well_ qualified to build one now. <g>
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Swingman said:

I'm glad you took that assault with humor. You have to admit that if you were expecting conventional construction and saw that photo, thinking that the brown was OSB, that you'd freak as well. I have no doubt that with your usual attention to detail it was all spot on. I've not been here in a while and had no idea what you were up to.

Cool! Literally. A couple of ice cubes should cool this thing in the summer. I imagine the cost of insulation was considerably less than fibreglass or foam. Got a figure worked up? Is the straw treated in some fashion for fire/insect resistance? How is the sound deadening?

The first is always the toughest - and the one you'll never forget. You should post a link to a photo of the completed project.
Greg G.
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I know that feeling. On a smaller scale. A way to mitre the joints in 1-1/4" quartz led from a sample to jobs which turn out quite challeging and rewarding. Speaking of 'alternative' <G>
http://i123.photobucket.com/albums/o290/Robatoy/CambriaMitresample.jpg
http://i123.photobucket.com/albums/o290/Robatoy/CambriaMitreInstall3.jpg
http://i123.photobucket.com/albums/o290/Robatoy/CambriaMitreInstall5.jpg
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On Sat, 31 Oct 2009 15:30:26 -0700 (PDT), Robatoy
Weird looking tap you've got there. Look like something from an ophthalmologist's office.
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diggerop said:

Oh, come on - it's the only picture I could come up with on such short notice. Perhaps that's because Swingman mustered it already. ;-) And it is absolutely Australian.
Greg G.
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Morris Dovey said:

Didn't mean to imply "perfect" when using the word optimal. But when observing the fashion in which many of the houses were built in this area, mediocre would be a vast improvement. The now collapsed building boom in the Atlanta area resulted in various carpetbagger profiteers throwing up some horrible construction with little to no supervision of their untrained "imported" laborers. We have no unions (short of a few electricians) and the inspectors are bought off in the planning stages of the latest "Gated McMansion Communities." It's not all bad, just much of it. I expect many of the quadraplex condos built will fall apart within 15 years, assuming the ground doesn't give way underneath due to the horrific slopes they built upon yet poorly re-enforced.

I grabbed it and will probably throw together a tiny program that allows entering the variables and what ifing without recompiling the program. You are welcome to it, and will credit your efforts.
You should grab a copy of MathCAD, Mathmatica or Maple. You'd love the graphs and charts...
I also perused your web entire site hoping to see some of the internal details of your panels. Alas, I understand about the lack of positive feedback, Thank You's, and generally unappreciative nature of the Internet. Since 1998 I have received exactly 6 responses on my personal site, and several of those were bitching that a device driver wouldn't work with their non-approved hardware. Cripes - we've become a greedy, expectant lot.
I'm curious, what are you using for the heat exchanger? Is the glazing polycarbonate or glass? Do you bother to insulate the framing of the units?

Hey, I'd be so excited about removing another hole from my wallet I might need a rag to clean up. ;-)

I have no data with which to form an opinion, and haven't actually built anything due to my location but that is good to know. I may throw something together after looking over your site.
Unfortunately, I live in a topographical depression surrounded by trees and get little sunlight at the south end of the house, even in winter, due to the quantity of pine trees. Roses won't even grow along the south wall. The west side receives far more, but that not an optimal place for a collector in the south unless it is shuttered.

I like the restaurants and creative community, but the crime, traffic problems, and strangely lacking economies of scale make large cities undesirable for me. Atlanta was a far better place when it had less than a million people and considerably fewer carpetbagger politicians.

Actually, I didn't. I was born in downtown Atlanta and lived in GA until 30. I left after being endlessly harassed by a bunch of crooked right-wing politicians, an idiot Nixon era assistant US District attorney and his sycophant friends. Even your past employer, IBM, figures into that long, demented story as well. I still get flack over it 22 years later. If I call an attorney in the state of Georgia they either hang up or transfer me to voice mail when I mention my name. The last democratic governor of the state, who is also a lawyer of sorts, won't talk to me and I worked on his TV as a kid. I am left to conclude that they are an arrogant, collusive, self-serving lot of cretins.

Apparently some of my biggest enemies are as well. ;-) Which is curious, because I used to hang out with some pretty wealthy people in N. Atlanta before I crossed paths with this particular bunch. Oh, well.
Greg G.
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Greg G. wrote:

No need - the real credit goes to the guys who helped me formulate the problem earlier in the thread. The summary post was to give everyone a final opportunity to point out any errors I might have had.
It was an eye-opener for me - and helped me understand why the building was always comfortably warm in the morning when that 10'x10' door had been opened in the evening to "let all the heat out" when he put his pickup truck away.

I should, but my shopping list is already impossibly long. I cheat by writing macros to turn my cad package into a plotting program. It's not as elegant, but it gets the job done.

/Very/ thin, glossy black aluminum ribbon.

It's a 6mm twinwall polycarbonate roofing product with a cross section that looks like a ladder. I chose it because it's safer and more durable than glass, and because it's a particularly good insulator.

I don't because five of the six surfaces are (at least mostly) inside the structure's skin. The gap around the perimeter is normally filled with insulating foam, so it's just not worth (also) insulating the inside.

He has a neighbor who has a shop about the same size and who pays out about half the installed price of the two panels every year for propane to heat his shop (only when he's actually working in it). The good news for my customer is that his shop is /always/ warm - and the bad news is that his wife now stores her plants in the shop during the winter...

(unabashed brag) It takes a really good absorber/heat exchanger for me to be able to make that claim. Don't just throw something together. Think about the problem first (it's truly a systems problem) and /then/ throw it together. :)

Bummer.
I was born in the Emory hospital and lived in a two story apartment on Peachtree - which then was a quiet two-lane street, and behind the apartment building there were woods. Somewhere I have photos to prove it, and I have an 8x10 of the tiny Atlanta airport with a lone Eastern Airlines DC-3 parked on the tarmac. It's changed a lot.

I haven't spent much time in Atlanta since 1960, but I recall that even that late it was socially important to be either a member of (or closely associated with) a "good" old family, and that social linkage was a major factor being able to conduct serious business. I can imagine just how crazy things must have become when the tsunami of damyankees washed over the city not long after. I'd guess that "demented" might be euphemistic. :)
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Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
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Morris Dovey said:

Thermal mass is an important part of the system. Especially when it gets -30F. I could never tolerate that kind of cold, having lived in temperate climates my entire life. It only gets worse with advancing age.
I remember a young architect in Arizona using steel barrels filled with antifreeze solution as thermal mass - and walls - for his studio back in the 70's. The antifreeze was double duty - rust control and to prohibit expansion from freezing.

Glossy, not flat or carbon black - that is interesting. Flat ribbon, not rippled or stamped with fins?

Sounds like the stuff used on greenhouse windows. I built a greenhouse window add-on and tried to use a similar product but no one stocked it locally and the freight for the panels was outrageous. I couldn't believe that with a half dozen plastic distributors the stuff was not available locally.

Already have that problem now. All of them. Kerosene tripled in price after buying a heater for the shop - after carefully calculating the BTU/lb and cost of every energy source available. Now they all run just about the same per BTU. Fancy that...
Also have various plants including two Daturas blooming in the shop as we speak. They sure smell up the place before going dormant.

Yup. Was born in St. Joseph's Hospital before it was absorbed by the Piedmont Hospital Group - a definite "for profit" entity. Had friends that worked for Eastern and we built some pretty hot rotary engines. Eastern is gone, of course, and so are most of the woods. The city is essentially dead at night - the hundreds of bars and restaurants are mostly gone. Even the ESPN place closed last month. It is sad to compare what was with what is.

Well that explains the inbreeding, dementia, and cronyism of those in power. And the outlying areas, like Marietta, Whew! Just how many "coloreds" and Jews can you unjustly hang on the Marietta square before it gets old...
Actually, the early migrant Yankees brought a lot of good stuff to the city. Education, money, class. Not so much these days, however.
Thanks for the input! If I get around to constructing an exchanger I'll shoot you a line and photo.
Greg G.
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Greg G. wrote:

It was to me, too. That the ribbon starts out black is just a nod to what everyone "knows" about how collectors work.
What's /really/ interesting is that highly polished gold ribbon should work even better - but, of course, it'd still /appear/ black to observers - and the increase in performance would be very small relative to the increase in cost.
Remember my 'breakthrough' question? This is where the answer led.

Right - not flat, not rippled, and not stamped with fins. :)
...Morris
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