Monday, January 19, 2009

Earthships in the Pacific Northwest

My brother, who lives in Washington State has asked me about what changes would one need to make to the basic earthship model being used in the South West.

When heating is the primary interestone would need to increase the south window face and increase the east/west width of the room and decrease the north/south depth of the rooms.In these areas of prevailing cloudy skies, cold and damp winters, warm and wet summers in northern latitudes and at low altitudes with a high water table the building would not be recessed into the earth, instead earth would be built up around it to create a burial mass.

 Built on a raised building pad. One would need to implement the use of plastic vapor barriers as well as a plastic skirt surrounding the building just below finish burial. Basically the building would need to be built of a mass that was insulated from the surface dampness and connected to the deeper more insulated earth with its stable temperatures.Window would be vertical instead of the angled windows to maximize the very low winter sun and still allow the higher winter sun to enter on cooler cloudy days. 

This is basically a paraphrasing of a section in Michael Reynolds book "Comfort in any climate" which outlines adjustments to be made for various world climates. An excellent slim book that opens up ones horizons to building these efficient homes anywhere.

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