Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Sustainable Living and Land use › Sustainable Homestead › Building an Affordable home
- This topic has 14 replies, 11 voices, and was last updated 4 years, 6 months ago by Anonymous.
- November 10, 2012 at 1:14 am #44177
We might be moving in the spring, to possibly bare ground, so we may need to build a house. I want to start doing my
research now so I can put some plans/budgets together. We would like to build something: sustainable, simple, efficient, and affordable. have looked at “pole building” homes, A frames any other suggestions would be great. Would like to
know what any of you have done and things you may have done different.
Thank youNovember 10, 2012 at 1:29 pm #75522Michel BoulayParticipant
Well lets see, you certainly want to use the sun’s free energy, so southern exposer for passive solar heat in winter, meaning windows to the south and almost none to the north. Can you situate your house around wind breaks like trees? For good distribution of heat an open concept if you are going to heat with wood. Also I would think of having the chimney built in the center of the house, chimney is a heating mass that continues to give out heat even if the fire is low in the morning. Smoke is rising faster and in warm chimney less creosote formation. Are you building on a slab or basement? If slab it would be good to have your base or foundation done this year so it will settle with a year of frost and defrost from winter weather. The house should have six inch walls, good windows, well insulated, and a good roof which would give you a good shell aroud you. The inside is up to your own taste. With all the material we have now a days, you certainly will have a lot of choice and will have to make choices that will be difficult depending on your budget etc…. Don’t forget you are going to build once and that shell is important.
I guess I could go on but all is based on the weather here in the east and that is the way they are building houses here. It is certain that they don’t always build with passive energy in mind but 26 years ago I based some of my research on what was available then and some things never change, sun comes up pretty much in the same place every year:) but the technology has evolved. Don’t know what kind of winters you have out in Wi, hope this helps a bit. I think we all have gone through some experience building a house. Its like they say you get what you want in a house after your third house. I certasinly wasn’t planing on building three times but I have made some mistakes and would probably build my house a different way today. Go visit some other houses. I wish you the house of your dreams so you can stay dry and warm.
MikeNovember 10, 2012 at 4:54 pm #75530EliParticipant
Check out Geo thermal heat if you put the water into a stream or pond it is much cheaper to install($13000). I have an old farm house and I love mine.I heated 100% with wood for 22 years . House, milking parlor and shop = 22 cord of wood. Now I burn 5 to heat my shop. I have a neighbor with a straw bale house interesting and cheap but I never got to really check it out. Good luck.November 11, 2012 at 1:29 am #75529AnonymousInactive
lloyd kahn is a famous writer builder, he kindof reminds me of the lynn miller of building, he has come to the same conclusion that lots of builders have, find free used rough cut old lumber and build a nice simple stick frame. I love alternative construction but when you need a simple reliable house in short time that will pass codes you cant beat a well built stick frame.November 11, 2012 at 2:00 pm #75519Jim OstergardParticipant
If you have stone available to build on the center chimney concept, build a “Russian Firestove.” I built one about 30 years ago to heat a 24 x 20 knee wall cape. You can burn softwood as well and the mass of stone in mine would keep the house warm for 3 days in the winter. I loved it and would consider even doing on our current very, very old house, especially if I had stone available. Good luck.November 11, 2012 at 2:27 pm #75524
Many good ideas here, I was wondering if any of you have ever built an A frame, and what you though bought cost vs. houses of different types? I also have a friend that works for Cleary Building and he is going to put together a few ideas, I have heard allot of good things about these “Pole Building” homes, any thoughts?November 11, 2012 at 6:26 pm #75523Big HorsesParticipant
We’re going to build a “barndominium”….barn attached to house…and all on one level. Ours will be of logs, as that’s what we have the most of here, with a basement and a central fireplace/chimney as mentioned above. The “house” part will be split so that one side is a carriage/harness house and the other an “L” shaped living quarters, with doors between. That way we’re not heating a big area unless we want to. The basement is mostly for convienience as well as another wood burning furnace. We want radiant floor heat in the house, with the wood furnace to be able to help heat the fluid as well as a ground source.
One thing we definitely want is everything on one level… we’re watching my parents (90 and 81 years old) and stairs just aren’t a good option for them anymore… and we only figure on building once. The more convienient we can make it now, the better it will suit us later.
We’ve bought a sawmill and plan on milling our own lumber as much as possible, and also to “flatside” the logs so that they have a better fit and insulation property. We’ll be using a Scandinavian style building with the load taken by vertical logs, so settling is much the same as a stick built house.
The barn isle will be accessed a few places from the living quarters (one being a bathroom) and will most likely be on the NW wall. Nothing huge, but adequate for our needs.
I’d say the main thing is to use what you have on hand or can most easily obtain. There’s alot of great ideas here and one other place I’ve seen some great ones is on http://www.forestryforum.com Lots of talented builders there as well.
JohnNovember 12, 2012 at 3:38 am #75526blue80Participant
To start, the foundation:
Good building practice and building codes dictate that all organic material (topsoil) be stripped from below the future building envelope. Organic material has no compressive strength and can’t be trusted to stay put.
Whatever structure you build with, you will need a frost protected foundation. For a pole barn style one can go with piers which saves some money, depending on your snow loads and post bearing capacities. Google “SFPF” or “Shallow Frost Protected Foundation” for alternative code approved foundation specs. which also discourage energy loss.
Otherwise usually poured concrete walls or stacked cmu block are used for foundations, and in some localities must be insulated. It is beneficial to use an insulated, sealed crawlspace if a crawl is in your plans. Google “non vented crawl space assembly” to prove it to your building inspector.
Insulated concrete forms are a nice do it yourself way to pour concrete walls. In fact we pour this system to the roofline for a super insulating, quiet, disaster resistant structure. http://www.icfinstall.com is our website. Howerver this is expensive in relation to building with cardboard boxes or even wood. Industry standard says it is about 10%more than “conventional” construction…..
Just keep in mind with regards to insulation that R value only measures conduction, that is energy passing through solid matter. Fiberglass insulation and cellulose, installed at proper compaction, dry, without wind, solve conductive losses. But building scientists have proven that convection losses are much more to blame, that is energy passing through the air. That is, a structure that leaks….. Foam- whether spray foam, Structural Insulated Panels, or ICF’s solve the convective losses, while also dealing with conductive losses at the same time. The third type of energy loss, radiation, is less of a factor in northern climates…Only about 20% of your energy losses occur through walls. Windows and doors and roof affect energy losses the most.
Radiant floor heating is fantastic and sage way to heat. A gas boiler can go off grid easily with a few watts, while a geothermal needs a lot of generator power to kickstart… Insulating the bottom of the concrete radiant slab is proven money well spent.
Healthy indoor air quality is also important, controlling humidity between 45-55% is beneficial for mucus membranes, mold and mildew growth, and window condensation.
We are all short on money, but we have decided to build it tight, build it right, and upgrade the finishes later…
A word about pole structures. Be sure to oversee rodent and bug detailing, as these type of fiberglass insulated structures are notorious for encouraging runways for creatures to make your domicile a little overpopulated.
http://www.buildingscience.com has some nice details and food for thought.
Best, KevinNovember 13, 2012 at 4:53 pm #75528November 17, 2012 at 1:49 pm #75527Jonathan ShivelyParticipant
If I were to build a new house it would be a pole building style home on a concrete slab with in floor heat supplied by my outside wood boiler. All steel with 8″ walls. Even would consider classic footer and block foundation and then 6″ walls with steel roof and walls outside. One floor has everything, one bathroom, bedroom, living room and kitchen. Okay if two floors but be able to not heat the upstairs if needed and when older it is a home you can still live in. 36″ doors for walkers or wheelchairs and plenty of closets.November 17, 2012 at 6:26 pm #75520near horseParticipant
You can still employ more than one level without using stairs. I spent time in a hospital that used spiral ramps to connect levels. Look at having part of your bulding below grade to take advantage of the earth’s temperature moderation. I have a few bookmarks on my other computer so I’ll see about posting them here later. Google “earth bag building” too.November 17, 2012 at 6:56 pm #75525
Looking at pannalized Kit homes, seem very stout and affordable?November 20, 2012 at 7:19 pm #75521November 20, 2012 at 8:56 pm #75531EliParticipant
My brother is building a cord wood saw mill shed with a field stone and mortar foundation. He plans on buying the mortar and steel for the roof. I think he plans on mortaring today should be cheep. EliJuly 28, 2015 at 2:20 pm #85872AnonymousInactive
Building a home need not always expensive, if you are creative, idealistic and budget saver, you can in fact build quality home out from used or second hand materials even they came from salvage houses or a sale from garage stores. Not to mention, not all junk and cheap products or even those used materials are not effective, I am a contrary to those who has that beliefs. I, myself the proof of those irrelevant idea. In fact just years ago until now, the house that i rebuild were made of junk and used materials from salvage homes. My interiors and furniture came from our local garage store, while the doors was from a overstock door store from this site http://caldwells.com/. You can always save, use things that still effective and usable, and in this way you can also say that you are living on green ideas just like those many environmental advocates..
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