The only way to build structures that are truly durable and self-sufficient is to incorporate the earth’s natural occurrences into their design. Here are my top five technologies and construction methods for creating self-sufficient structures:
1. Passive solar energy.
The sun is strong, as most proficient gardeners and permaculturists are aware. Anywhere you go, you can create an astonishingly warmer microclimate by planning your garden and landscape to take advantage of it. We may apply the same principles to ecological design and construction.
By appropriately constructing your roof and south side glazing to multiply the sunlight during the winter and reduce it during the summer, you may make use of the sun’s ability to heat the building most of the time, whether you’re building a self-sufficient home or greenhouse.
2. Thermal Mass.
The main issue with passive solar energy is how hot it gets when it’s sunny. But the temperature quickly drops when it’s overcast! For this reason, combining passive solar with thermal mass is crucial. High-density material is one criterion for a good thermal mass; tested materials include compacted dirt, concrete, bricks, and water. As it’s hot, these materials take in extra heat and slowly release it when the temperature drops.
The thermal mass releases the extra heat as infrared radiation back into the building after it has absorbed it, which is another crucial point to remember. More than 90% of infrared radiation can be reflected by a thin covering of metal, similar to a survival blanket. So that the front windows can be closed and effectively insulated on the chilliest nights, we advise those who are building greenhouses in cold climates to put an insulated and reflective tarpaulin, with the aluminum layer facing the interior of the greenhouse.
3. Passive geothermal energy
The temperature of the atmosphere where I reside in Canada can range from -40 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the temperature beneath is almost always constant and hovers around 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
By burying a building’s east, west, and north walls, you can utilize that passive geothermal energy. In many circumstances, this is a really wise decision. The structure, or greenhouse, is shielded from the chilly surrounding air and instead regulates its temperature to the constant temperature of the earth.
4. Passive Ventilation
Plan your windows and air traps intelligently to create a passive air flow in order to reduce the number of electric fans or air exchangers that are required in your structure. For instance, you may install windows that are simple to operate on the east and west sides of your house to allow for ventilation and reduce overheating during the summer. Installing air traps on the roof of a greenhouse will allow the hot air to rise and escape via the air trap. Fresher, cooler air will be drawn in thanks to the suction created by this.
5. Compost heating
In spite of the fact that compost heating is not entirely passive like the other technologies I have discussed, I think it can be a fantastic addition because it consistently generates a lot of heat. When the sun decides to stay hidden for a few days in the winter and your building only needs enough energy to run a tiny pump. Therefore, this can be quite helpful. The idea is straightforward: you build a sizable compost pile and cover it with straw bales for insulation. A large piece of tubing is buried inside the compost mound. When water goes to the tube, it warms up as it passes through the hot compost. This is typically approximately 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
The pump transports the water between the tubing and the radiant heating floor, your aquaponic system, your water tank, or anyplace else you wish to put this priceless heat!
In order to prevent heat loss, it is crucial to insulate your self-sufficient buildings extremely effectively. Regardless of how you generate or store your heat. I appreciate using both natural and recycled materials, and wherever possible, I try to buy everything locally. Hemp insulation, straw bale insulation, and cellulose insulation are a few of my favorite types of insulation materials. Utilizing recycled paper and plant fiber, cellulose insulation can fill wall and roof cavities. I truly enjoy it and think it creates excellent insulation.