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7/25/16

Net Zero Prefab House Endures The Heat Wave!

Oh myyyyyyyyyy it's hot...
How are y'all doing?
I'm languid, sitting under a fan, on a shady porch, with a book and iced something-or-another.
Movement is now before 7:30 a.m., or after 7:30 p.m.
Even on the water there is little wind.
Seeking shelter at the regatta once the wind died.



I'd love to tell you just passive solar design and insulation in a net zero prefab house will magically keep you cool through this heat wave at 70, but that just t'ain't so. HOWEVER, once you do get the interior cool, it will hold the cool.

The heat index is 104, 107, 109...
From CNN: Dangerous heat dome forms across the USA:

Ohhhhhhhhhh I love a little air conditioning to offset the crazy temperatures. But unfortunately, we have taken things too far, world-wide, and need to be more responsible.
Passive solar design + insulation
help to the prefab cool when it's supposed
to be cool, and warm when it's supposed to be warm.


Deal on cutting HFC greenhouse gases in sight for 2016
"A final deal is expected to reached at a meeting in October in Kigali, Rwanda. If successful, it would be the biggest single measure to limit global warming since governments adopted the Paris Agreement last December, seeking to limit heat waves, floods, droughts and rising seas.

At the Vienna talks, the last before the Kigali meeting, almost 200 countries convened to lay the groundwork for such a deal, hammering out details and timetables for almost eliminating use of HFCs.
...
The HFC talks are part of the 1987 Montreal Protocol, which succeeded in slashing the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to help protect the ozone layer, which shields the planet from ultraviolet rays that can cause skin cancer.

But the HFCs that have often replaced them, while better for the ozone layer, are greenhouse gases thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide."

Sun rays above, sting rays below.
Now we just get on the water early in the morning
or at dusk, to stay out of the sun's rays...
And more, from the New York Times:
"The deal would be an amendment to the Montreal Protocol, the landmark 1989 environmental treaty designed to close the hole in the ozone layer by banning ozone-depleting coolants called chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs.

In response, chemical companies developed HFCs, which do not harm the ozone. But the substitute had the wholly unexpected side effect of increasing heat trapped in the atmosphere, which worsened climate change."

Here's what you need to know about living in heat index 106+ temperatures: it's effin' hot. 
BUT.
Sitting on a shady front porch under a fan with a glass o' sweet tea and a book... then, when the sun descends, heading into water until the stars come out...
You can do it.

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7/18/16

Net Zero Passive Solar Prefab House Is Hot When It's 106 But Solar Is Working Great!

At the off grid modern prefab house we employ passive solar design and basic cooling techniques but yes: welcome to the south! When it feels like 106 outside, yes, even in the well insulated modern prefab house it is, mid-afternoon, hot. 

That means activity is in the morning, naps in the afternoon, and cooling off with water- from the creeks deep in the woods, to a trip to Holliday Lake.

At the off grid prefab house, we love solar!

Locally, our rural county (which doesn't even have a traffic light! Not a one in the entire county!) is thinking on solar, and solar farms.
"
Monday, July 11:  A joint public hearing regarding zoning for solar energy uses is scheduled for 7 pm on Monday, July 11th.

The current zoning ordinance has no section for solar energy.  Virginia has begun to encourage increased used of solar energy: specifically, the last legislative session made commercial solar locations property-tax-free.  With this incentive in place, there is increased commercial interest for solar locations in rural areas.  The Planning Commission has looked at other rural counties to see what regulations they are proposing."

Back on the bay, to my dismay, when the Middlesex Water Authority didn't get the number of water line subscribers they wanted, they are now "considering" taking out a TEN MILLION DOLLAR LOAN.
"The Water Authority has been offered an initial funding package from the Virginia Department of Health’s Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund consisting of a low interest loan in the amount of 10.2 million at 2.65% for 30 years and has until July 24th to accept the loan package."

In 30 years, where the average elevation on the point is 0'-10', where will these properties be? Is this a responsible economic decision (I'm assuming this ten MILLION dollar loan is being taken out on the entire county not just the few near-sea-level properties?)? I see no jobs created. I fear it will further burden and add risk to local families here, where the median household income is $36,000...
It's hot on the bay, too. I'm clearly cranky.
In the 150+ year old In-Town Ramshackle, we have one window unit to bring the edge off, and even then fear setting it below 80 as the electric wiring is almost as old as the house.

WELCOME TO THE SOUTH, The Ramshackle employs the same passive solar tricks for staying cool as the modern net zero prefab house.
Check out the 150+ year old passive solar features.
In the south, things sloooooow down in the afternoon in heat.

Reading Club:
  • Y'all. Yer eating phony food.
    "...Some of the most common additives to olive oil are soybean and peanut oils, which can prove fatal to anyone allergic — and you’ll never see those ingredients on a label. Beware, too, of olive oil labeled “pure” — that can mean the oil is the lowest grade possible.
    ...
    In terms of scope and scale, there’s an even greater level of fraud throughout the seafood industry. 'Imagine if half the time you pulled into a gas station, you were filling your tank with dirty water instead of gasoline,' Olmsted writes. 'That’s the story with seafood.'"
  • If you are in San Francisco, there is an opportunity to meet the amazing artist Tom Chambers and hear him talk! Aaaaaand you might recognize a certain Pip on that gallery wall...
P.s. I have a great new app. You might need it, too. 

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7/11/16

At The Off Grid Prefab And Bay A Hot Southern Summer Returns With Heat

Oh. Oh myyyyyyyyyy. We went from jeans and jackets in a downpour over last week's July 4th to *real* southern summer weather: welcome to sticky. humid. oppressive. heavy. air. with. no wind.
The passive solar design of the off grid prefab house helps hot air escape through clerestory windows and, windows open, catches any breeze that blows.

The equines are grateful for their new lean-to on the existing shed in Pasture 2 which provides further shade. (THANK YOU to C and G for their help!!!)
Oh mah gosh it's hot and hello honeychiles- welcome to the south.
Everything slows down.
Skin glows.
Afternoons are still.
We submerse ourselves in water.
On the bay, I am surrounded by off grid.



I contemplate the latest bay dock sensation: green water lights to
lure fish. It also lures boats, filled with people who neither seem to care about what's in season. It's like people who hunt deer with dogs, but on the water.

I know this latest "innovation" can deeply affect the ecosystem... what are the people who installing these water fishing lights thinking? Are they thinking about how disruptive they are? Are they musing on whether this will affect the fish population and how their cycles and habitat might change? Nah...

My It's Hot... I Miss Finland!
T'ain't underground but it will do...
This is how the south does summer...

When I become down I just look at Finland and perk up- check out what Helsinki does- they have an underground lake to cool the city!
"The city says that compared to the environmental impact from conventional air conditioning systems needed to cool the same number of buildings, their centralized cooling system is emitting about 80 percent less carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Based on energy demand, the city also estimates that the overall energy efficiency is about five times that of a building-specific cooling systems.
...
But Helsinki's is not only extremely comprehensive, it's also part of a larger cooling and heating system. They city already claims the world's largest underground heat pump station, named Katri Vala, which uses "district heating"—absorbing thermal energy from wastewater to warm people's homes."
Be Respectful. For All. 
Playing at a friend's, we almost tripped upon this killdeer:
She was sitting on an egg! 
We withdrew quickly. Killdeer are fascinating...


Reading Club:
Like anyone, my heart aches for the world, and ourselves. I just want someone to read these, written by people known personally by my in-real-life friends, on this week:

Life brings us many hurdles. Let us love.

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7/5/16

Net Zero Off Grid Prefab Finds Fun On The Fourth

Summer continues, with change. Project Pony has found a great new home, we are so thrilled!
Sadly, we lost chickens to predators, while free ranging. It underscored how great the dogs are to prevent loss... and when we leave them free ranging to do errands or whatnot, we also need to leave the dogs out as well.

The off grid modern prefab house enters another year's summer, dependably. 
As usual during sailing season, we go back, and forth...
The 150+ Year Old In-Town Ramshackle
"You're there when you get to the farmhouse
with the boat in the front yard!"
 Yep.
Blueberries and the prefab house!
Airy summer days inside the modern prefab...
And thus it was so for our nation's 4th!
On one hand, we're steady- all this back and forth is a tradition generations old, after all.
On the other, it is good for one child, who is always making lists and checking off calendar days, to have a little spontaneity.

And so we were spontaneous.
When the quiet day of downpours and board games on the front porch stretched into days...
Bored Nephew 3 picking on the organ while it rains...

Real Men play endless board games when it rains.
Even Tiny is feeling restless in this rain.

Pip 1 walked into the house and said, "We have a new American citizen in our family, it's his first July 4th, and darned if we're not going somewhere to celebrate. LET'S GO TO THE CITY."
And so we did.
We had no plans, but plans have a way of finding us...
Unplanned parties are the best...

Reading Club:
Recipes For The 4th:
This was the best coleslaw I've made. I love an Asian influence on a southern classic! Serve on potato rolls topped with homemade bbq, with a side of the best potato salad recipe you'll ever need, Sally Bell's Potato Salad. Grill some corn sprinkled with chili and lime, a big salad, and there you go!

Coleslaw For BBQ
Shred cabbage, mix with salt, pepper, minced onion, sesame oil, rice vinegar, cumin, a touch of soy and enough Duke's mayonnaise to bind. It was great on Day 1. Day 2, fabulous.

Y'all have fun. Happy 4th.

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