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Revenant
23-05-06, 14:43
I've recently been fascinated with the concept of low impact housing.

I'll just give a quick summary of some of the systems some of these houses use.

Passive Solar Heating: Houses catch daytime heat, store it in thermal mass material (earth, rock, water), then let the heat out during the night. It has taken some time to design houses that maintain a comfortable temperature. Some of the earlier models, for example, had slanted windows that caused the house to become a greenhouse during the day. Some houses also have a cooling system, that blocks out the summer heat, and stores the nighttime coolness for daytime use.

Water Catchment Systems: Rainwater is caught and funnelled into cisterns. The water is then gravity fed through filters, and one then has water for cooking, washing dishes, bathing, laundry, etc. The water then goes through some what sounds like a biological filtering system, and if one isn't using a solar toilet, can be used to flush. This system would require more careful use of water, but not to the point of discomfort.

Solar/Wind Electricity: Renewable energy, what more can be said, but that this would also require a bit of careful use.

Solar Toilet: An idea that I'm not sure sounds appealing, but a whole lot more appealing than some of the compost toilets I've read about. The sun's energy is focused to kill pathogens, and make of one's turds a dry fertilizer.

Sewage treatment: A combination of plants, humus, and bacteria clean the water before sending it back into the environment. Less pollution being put into the aquifiers, rivers, etc.

To be especially green friendly, the idea is to keep the house small, the materials natural and local, to make it durable (some of the stone houses in Europe are still in use after a couple hundred years), and to be even more efficient, more people using the same utilities, such as laundry rooms, kitchens, etc.

An earthship (http://www.greenhomebuilding.com/earthship.htm) using rocks as the main building material seems an ideal home to me.

It might be with the possible energy and water shortages, houses that implement some of these systems will become more common. A conventional house today could simply become too expensive for some.

Thoughts?

Maciamo
23-05-06, 14:59
I like the idea of solar heating, but it would work only in places that have a lot of sunshine (e.g. South-West of the US, Australia, Mediterranean...), not in Northern Europe.


some of the stone houses in Europe are still in use after a couple hundred years

Not just a 'couple'. I have a friend who lives in a 500 year-old house.