Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 23

Thread: Solar passive block house

  1. #1

    Solar passive block house

    Does anyone have any input or experience with block homes?
    thinking of building one, any pros or cons? Best heating systems, etc.
    Would appreicate any help.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Ridgecrest,CA.USA
    Posts
    1,537
    Concrete is a low level passive insulator, in that it is so (comparatively) dense it has a rapid heat storage and heat release. In CA. it is given an R3 insulation value. One method for using CMU block is a double layer of block with the air void helping to create a barrier which increases it's insulating ability. Ironically, it's ability to insulate from the sun is better in summertime than it's ability to retain heat in winter time from interior and exterior ambient temperatures, so cold temps are not kind to CMU built houses. A better alternative would be Pumice-crete which is typically thicker wall sizes for similar heights and the porousness of the pumice creates air voids which will hold and distribute passive temps better than a closed cell concrete product would. My absolute favorite passive material is "rammed earth."

    http://www.pumicecrete.com/

    http://rammedearth.com/re.html

  3. #3
    We have fairly long winters here in upper mi., that was one of my worries also. A builder friend of mine suggested the block house idea. he said do all the walls with block, then anchor nailers to the exterior, then insulation boad, then siding. Same on interior walls, then drywall, rock, or wood. The walls end up being 9 1/2 " thick. Some of the plans i looked at used a planter wall on one side. I only have 2.7 acres, all very rocky. He did the numbers in comparison to a stick built. It was $32ft. stick, $34ft. block. The stick walls were drywalled. Block just the insulation on the outside. Cost is a factor is an issue, not a lot to work with.

    Thank you for the info.

  4. #4
    Senior Member rdf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Someplace between Nowhere and Goodbye
    Posts
    12,961
    An option is to go with the stick house, and plaster it inside and out.

    Best insulation there is. Call a plastering contractor and get a figure.
    Please donate a dollar a day at http://justadollarplease.org.
    Copy and paste this message to the bottom of your signature.

    Thanks!

  5. #5
    There are some books by a man named Charlie Wing. One was: From the inside out. I don't remember the others. He was a professor in Maine. Told his students you could buy an old farm house, have someone insulate it for you and it would pay itself off. They told him to prove it so he bought a house and did. Then he built a house even better.
    From those books I made my own water pre-heater, my own furnace system and insulated my place. So much that the electric and gas companies sent people out to see it I was stealing their stuff. I lived in Wisconsin and took my heat bill from over $100 a month to around $30.
    I helped a buddy of mine with the ideas for his place in the mountains of Colorado and his winter heat bill was about $9 a month, for a 3600 sq ft house.
    Remember and investigate, that most energy saving stuff has great tax breaks.

  6. #6
    Senior Member wtf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    silver state
    Posts
    3,491
    Quote Originally Posted by baldfatdad View Post
    There are some books by a man named Charlie Wing. One was: From the inside out. I don't remember the others. He was a professor in Maine. Told his students you could buy an old farm house, have someone insulate it for you and it would pay itself off. They told him to prove it so he bought a house and did. Then he built a house even better.
    From those books I made my own water pre-heater, my own furnace system and insulated my place. So much that the electric and gas companies sent people out to see it I was stealing their stuff. I lived in Wisconsin and took my heat bill from over $100 a month to around $30.
    I helped a buddy of mine with the ideas for his place in the mountains of Colorado and his winter heat bill was about $9 a month, for a 3600 sq ft house.
    Remember and investigate, that most energy saving stuff has great tax breaks.
    Dang, I would take your high heating bill at a 100, my electric bill runs on average 250 for the summer and winter.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Van Quad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    5,558
    Quote Originally Posted by lonecoaster View Post
    Does anyone have any input or experience with block homes?
    thinking of building one, any pros or cons? Best heating systems, etc.
    Would appreicate any help.

    My experience was working with an uncle in Lakeland, Florida, building houses. Those block walls make my thumbs ache. We spend hours struggling to attach vertical furring strips to the block walls with concrete nails. Now I'm sure there's some air tool that does it but back then your thumbs took the beating.

    I built a stick solar house back in Nova Scotia. You can load lots of insulation into the walls and sheath them with more insulation.

    Best heating system: in my opinion direct exchange geothermal heat pump

  8. #8
    Thanks for the replies. We thought geothermal, but our land is rocky and to drill vertical would be expensive. I'm starting to think stick built is all we are going to be able to swing. My wife is a giant granola cruncher. Wants it small and energy efficent as possible, she likes to be green. Wonder what she'd think about a green trailer.
    Last edited by lonecoaster; 06-02-2011 at 06:48 PM.

  9. #9
    Concrete block has high embodied energy, so it's not really "green," although it is an excellent thermal collector and storage material. But another way to look at it is that it's recyclable and long lasting.

  10. #10
    Well that was a pleasant surprise.
    Last edited by lonecoaster; 06-04-2011 at 07:43 AM.

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 05-16-2010, 09:27 AM
  2. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 05-17-2005, 01:34 PM
  3. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 08-01-2001, 06:14 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •