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1/3/10

Prefab Green Home Takes On The Wind Chill. And The Passive Solar Net Zero Prefab Fabulously Triumphs.



Wind chill of 14? Actually, I was corrected: The wind chill was FOUR. 
It's a windy day at the prefab green home.

As long term readers might notice, during extreme weather our favorite game in the net zero modern prefab (still with no heating / power systems installed) is to compare the outdoor temperature with the indoor temperature.

We have no heat. We have no electricity.
But we certainly have fun measuring the effectiveness of the structural insulated panels + passive solar design in the prefab house kit on a dinky (one arrow missing that's supposed to indicate humidity) thermometer.

A Lovely Lady From Leeds : )  asked,


Mel, I don't know. We certainly can (and should) have someone measure it, but because it is our private home despite my being the founder, well, I previously thought, "Eh. It's more fun doing the dial-y thermometer thang."

Your interest has prompted me to take it more seriously and add it to the "to do's."

[I have a similar attitude towards LEED accreditation. Don't kill me! (The firms are all LEED accredited; I just don't see the benefit for the consumer to certify a house they don't intend to sell, and am approaching this house as an "average" consumer of my own house kit. ]


This is all stuff we as professionals know, documented by passive haus, passive houses, SIPs manufacturers, etc., but when I (even though we intelligently know it) put it into practice by turning a thermometer into a family game... oh, it's so much more fun. : )

In summer, we marveled at 100° harsh heat in the fields, yet inside the off grid prefab green home, it was a comfortable 85°, and the cross breezes from the open windows made it even more pleasant.  Now we test the prefab house kit in icy, bitter temps with a few intermittent days of overcast skies.


Handsome Husband reports: "Windchill is 4°.  Last night it went down to 18°, today's highs will be 27°.  Yet the prefab green house kit is 45° on arrival."

Yes, that's cold.
But it has been overcast for days in temperatures in the teens and twenties. This proves that despite daily temperatures being such, the interior of the prefab green home will not freeze.  This is great news.


After spending a day researching modern supercoolio wood stoves after discovering the promised family wood stove was mine no longer, I admit defeat: Why would I spend $1,500-$3,500 on a modern, cool  wood stove we will use so little in the energy efficient, passive solar SIPs house?

Yet the wood stove is comforting as back up once our solar systems are installed, there to dry wet mittens and sopping snow clothes and to cook on if need be.

It's 11:00. Handsome Husband calls to say the prefab house is already 49-50° from him just moving around. Imagine how fast a big wood stove would heat that efficient, insulated space...and then overheat. If it's easily 50s inside when the temperature outside will not rise above freezing today, our original concern is correct - we would easily overheat the house with a big stove.

I researched battery-powered heaters, but they were either too small or not exactly safe for indoor use. [Understaaaaaatement!]


So... we bought a wood stove.
It's ugly. It's not a nostalgic family hand-me-down.

It's definitely not modern. 
Handsome Husband is consoling me with, "Well, you could kinda cook on it..."
*sob*

After spending the past 24 hours frantically researching what new products have come on the market since I last looked (a lot of nice modern wood stoves now), in the end I said, "Fine, solve the issue NOW, let's pay someone to install this NOW, so we can freaking enjoy our prefab modern house kit NOW."

Each dollar we spend on something unexpected (like the unexpected cost of a $1,000+ wood stove) is a dollar that should be going to off grid solar systems and hiring local labor to install them.

We will now bemusedly note how many years the original, "free" wood stove given to me will sit in my parent's basement until Mr. Wil "I Will Sue You For Everything You Own" Sakowski claims it... IF he ever does.


[Readers: Please bear with me in these last two posts as bitterness tinged these references... My life, and my dear, lifelong friends are an entirely happy different story. It's all good. : ) Besides, being a bandit is much more rewarding and adventurous. ]

Handsome Husband calls:
"I'm leaving! And in the prefab house kit it's 54 degrees." (3:40 p.m.)
Me: "What'd you do?"
[Understaaaaatement!]

He...

  • Met with the roofers
  • Unloaded the modern bed and put it together
  • Installed the Danish mid-century daybed
  • Drove to Appomattox and bought a wood stove
  • Examined the scouting camera (Awwww, Bambi!)
  • Sorted some of the VMI basketball wood
Y'know. That's all... ; )
Stay tuned...
The next post is where I rearrange all the furniture.

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8 Comments:

At 1/3/10, 11:43 AM , Blogger Justin said...

I love the stove. It will come in handy, for sure. During the winter the interior tends to get really dry, and my cousins in the country always had a cast iron tea kettle full of water sitting on the stove to release a small amount of steam continuously. You'd be surprised how effective it is....

 
At 1/3/10, 12:15 PM , Blogger Copeland said...

I'm glad you like it! : )

I've decided to paint it silver.
Handsome Husband wants to paint it like a T-Rex.

#DesignFight

It will look nice in silver. ; )

 
At 1/3/10, 2:25 PM , Blogger Modernesia said...

Wow! I cannot believe that I have just now discovered your blog. Great stuff! I am really intrigued by the Green modern Kits selections, especially the R1.

 
At 1/3/10, 7:39 PM , Blogger Copeland said...

Thanks! How'd you find us? We're below you in south-central Virginia.

The house kit / weather tight was done in about a week. We have taken our own darned long time since then, being our own pay-as-you-go consumer vs. just getting the loan and doing it all at once. Frustrating and more rewarding at the same time.

P.s. saw you sail- we're big sailors too. : )

 
At 1/5/10, 11:49 PM , Blogger Mothermary said...

What a beautiful apartment the Danes have. If I were a kid I would love the kid cave.

Your modern bed looks great set up in the casa-ti!! Can't wait to see wood on those walls. Can you do the outer walls without the systems installed?

 
At 1/6/10, 8:59 AM , Blogger Copeland said...

You just led into my next blog post.
: )

Stay tuned...
: )

 
At 4/5/11, 12:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the casa ti! We would love to see it in person, we live thirty minutes away. Not much in the way of modern architecture going up around here. What a refreshing alternative!

 
At 4/5/11, 4:24 PM , Blogger Copeland said...

Come on out! We can always arrange a visit. I am actually holding off on a spring Open House (and having it in fall instead) as we are now finishing the electric, plumbing, installing the cistern, then doing a SIP Stew on the interior walls... in short, it is *A MESS* this month!

 

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