energy (12)

My First Building Project in Years

It was a hassle gluing up these 6 laminated curved rafters (out of 16′ long redwood bender board — 4″ wide by 5/16″ thick). I brushed glue on both sides of each piece, then bent in a floor jig and clamped every 20″ or so. Tedious, could only do one every day or two. Enter Billy, who planed therm down and strategized with me, and figured out how to get them into position, pinned down at the plates and evenly lined up in height. It surprised both of us how good it looked when we got them in place.

This is a 10′ by 10′ shed, and I wanted the curved roof for the feeling of spaciousness it affords in small spaces, witness vardos (gypsy wagons) or Basque shepherd’s wagons. Steep gable roofs for tiny homes are, to me, claustrophobic. And, while I’m at it, the typical tiny home loft at one end, reachable by a vertical ladder, is just plain bad design. In vardos, the bed is at one end, floor lever, with drawers beneath it.

This place is going to have a deck for sleeping under stars, facing east. Like most of what I do, I don’t have a definite plan, just designing it in the process of building it. Boy is it fun to be building (even something small) again.

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Wind and Solar Power Could Meet Four-Fifths of U.S. Electricity Demand, Study Finds

Solar panels cover the roof of UCI’s Student Center Parking Structure. A new study co-authored by Steven Davis, associate professor of Earth system science, shows that the U.S. can meet 80 percent of its electricity demand with renewable solar and wind resources. Steve Zylius / UCI

Irvine, Calif., Feb. 27, 2018 – The United States could reliably meet about 80 percent of its electricity demand with solar and wind power generation, according to scientists at the University of California, Irvine; the California Institute of Technology; and the Carnegie Institution for Science.

However, meeting 100 percent of electricity demand with only solar and wind energy would require storing several weeks’ worth of electricity to compensate for the natural variability of these two resources, the researchers said.

“The sun sets, and the wind doesn’t always blow,” noted Steven Davis, UCI associate professor of Earth system science and co-author of a renewable energy study published today in the journal Energy & Environmental Science. “If we want a reliable power system based on these resources, how do we deal with their daily and seasonal changes?”

The team analyzed 36 years of hourly U.S. weather data (1980 to 2015) to understand the fundamental geophysical barriers to supplying electricity with only solar and wind energy.
Read More …

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Cool Tools- My Favorite Website

As I’ve said before, this is the 21st century online Whole Earth Catalog. Same M.O.: People like us writing reviews of cool stuff for other people like us. It’s embarrassing how many things I’ve obtained after reading about them here. These aren’t frivolous purchases; all the stuff is useful to me, stuff I’d never have known about otherwise.

I must point out I have a massive conflict of interest here. I’ve written a lot of CT reviews, and these guys are good friends.

That said, I periodically want to turn people onto this rich source of ad-free advice. It’s just madly useful. Take a look: https://kk.org/cooltools

Write a review and they’ll send you an email of new tools weekly.

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63-Unit Apartment Building in Italy Covered With Green Foliage

“Designed by architect Luciano Pia, 25 verde is an unique residential building that has been constructed in Torino, Italy. The load-bearing structure is made of steel and columns shaped like tree trunks help support the 63 residential units that is covered in larch wood shingles. The concept of the scheme was to create a space with a transition between the interior and exterior, by the prominent use of foliage. illustrated in diverse ways such as green walls, planted in pots and gardens, altogether seamlessly coherently carried through the entire building.

The residential lofts are all different, fitted with irregular terraces that wrap around the trees with the top floor having its own green roof. 50 trees were planted just in the court garden itself, whilst they enhance the environmentally friendly setting, the trees reduce air and noise pollution. The building is like a living forest
.

Ultimately, the aim of the project is to be energy efficient. by utilizing geothermal energy for heating and cooling, harvesting rainwater to water the plants and a natural flow of ventilation. Over time, the building and surrounding vegetation will grow and age, side by side, establishing its own microclimate and when the plant life is fully in bloom, give its occupants a real taste of living in a tree house.…”

https://www.designboom.com/architecture/luciano-pia-25-verde-treehouse-torino-italy-03-13-2015/

Photo © beppe giardino

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SilverFire Clean Cooking

Original alert from Tiny House News.

Every day over 3 billion people in the developing world cook food on open fires or inefficient cook stoves fueled by coal or solid biomass, jeopardize human health, contribute to household & community air pollution, and impact environmental devastation by depleting forests and increasing soil erosion. 4 million premature deaths occur every year due to exposure from toxic smoke emissions. Consequently women and children are disproportionately impacted by household air pollution.

Click here

Mike W

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SolFest On Again This Year — Saturday August 17th

This event hasn’t happened for several years. It was so popular and crowds got so large that it put a strain on the town of Hopland (California). Now it’s back, for one day only — Saturday, August 17th. We’ll have a booth, selling books, and I’m doing my presentation,”The Half Acre Homestead” at 4 PM.

   Hopland is about 2 hours north of San Francisco on Highway 101. The Hopland Brewery is apparently closed now, but for great beer/dinner on the way back south, the Ruth McGowan Brew Pub in Cloverdale is a winner — you can see the beautiful copper and stainless brew kettle and tanks from the bar, and can take home a growler or two of fresh brew.

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SunRay Kelley Revisited

On November 29, I posted a link to a large New York Times article on SunRay Kelley. In retrospect, it’s not really good or fair reportage on SunRay; it doesn’t do him justice. Part of it is East Coast reporter snark about West Coast free-spiritedness. Part of it is that the reporter just didn’t get SunRay— that he’s not only an artist, designer, architect, and inventor, but a master builder. His mortise and tenon joints, even with gnarly lumber, are tight. He’s a carpenter whose buildings soar. There’s a joy and a spirit in both builder and buildings. The NYTimes reporter missed all this and focussed on a bunch of trivialities.

    And there was a very weird interview with SunRay’s ex-wife, who came up with some mean-spirited comments. This shouldn’t have been included in the article. Cheap shot, ex-wife-wise and journalistic-wise.

   SunRay’s way better than you’d get from this account. In my opinion, there’s no other natural materials builder in the world who’s combined such ecology, design, and craftsmanship in so many buildings on the American landscape.

   Just settin it straight…

    For anyone interested in SunRay and his work, we have posted a PDF of the 27 pages we did on him and his work in Builders of the Pacific Coast in 2004. (We do—ahem—a way better job on builders than does the New York Times.)

   For the real SunRay, click here. (To get this in Acrobat, you may have to right-click and save linked file in downloads folder.)

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