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Old 06-11-2009, 11:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Ideas to build a green masonry home?

I realize that in order to build "green", there is a certain few things that need to be addressed.

One of those things is using what's available before wasting money on materials that you don't really need to buy.

I've got a few ads up on local sites like craigslist to help dig up some free fill for my dad's yard, and also to find used or unwanted masonry supplies for my home.

Anything masonry, block, brick, sand, stone, etc... I'll take any of it.

What I'm looking for from this post: Ideas.

I really just want to know what kind of floor plans and whatnot you guys can come up with that will help with keeping green.

Here are a few cues to get everyone started:
  • The piece of land is at the edge of an artesian stream.
  • It's on a shaded hill, about 100 feet laterally from the road, and about 30 feet above the road level.
  • The road is dirt, and mostly private.
    • The average grade of the hill is almost 45*, but there is a flat area where the pad for the house is being laid.
    • Most of the work will be performed by my hand.
    • There will be NO stairs. We won't even consider it.
    • We need a 2 car garage, preferably not attached. (Insurance reasons).
    • There is NOT a good solar presence in the direct area, but 200 feet away, there is a GREAT area (still my father's land, which we plan to use for a KART track later on, but could sacrifice some of the land.)
    • We don't want to use wood for the main structure of the home, nor anything chemically treated.
    • The stream is VERY small, but flows nicely except in parts of winter time... maybe a hydro-dam?

So whatcha got?

I'll get some pics of the area this weekend while I'm up there, to further facilitate the thought process.

Floor plan ideas are welcome too!

We require:
  • At least 3 bedrooms
  • At least 2 bathrooms (master and home).
  • A "great room"... open living room/den, dining area, and kitchen.

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Old 06-13-2009, 12:03 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Christ ,
A basic rectangle is one of the most efficient designs.
If you can keep the dimensions around 1 to 1.5 or 2.0 it will be a good ratio for a solar collector as well. In other words if the house is ten feet deep it should be around fifteen to twenty feet long to maintain that ratio.

If you want to be inspired by the master have a look at some of the designs by Frank LLoyd Wright in the "Usonian" series of houses.

They are very well thought out and even today are relevant to modern living for most families.
If you are looking at a McMansion style place perhaps other designers might be more suitable.

Looking forward to the pics.

Cheers , Pete.
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Old 06-13-2009, 12:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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TBH, I wasn't looking at any single dimension being over 80'... larger than that, and it gets expensive.

I'll attach the preliminary floor plan that I had half in mind when I saw the piece of land in a later post... I'm converting it to MSPaint now LOL.
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Old 06-13-2009, 01:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Simple MSPaint floor plan... looked worse on the paper in my pocket...

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Old 06-13-2009, 01:43 AM   #5 (permalink)
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35x50 is about $3000 worth of block, about $1000 worth of mortar and sand... scale that up to 50x80 and we're up to around $7500 in materials, and that's just for 8" block and the 4 external walls. (Not counting windows/doors etc.)

So this particular piece of land has a stream which runs downhill from it, and still has a good stint downhill before the land levels off on the other side of the road... this is helpful in using a solar pre-heater, since I can place the pre-heater downhill slightly from the holding tank, which will allow thermal conduction to circulate the water.

A closed system might also be useful for Solar heating, provided I can get enough sunlight in winter time... it would only be a supplemental heating system, obviously, but to keep the floors warm and partially heat the house would work nicely. That system would use some alternative to anti-freeze though, and would have thermo-valves in it, as a "thermostatic control" to keep the fluid from heating the house beyond a given temp... when the valve closes, it sends the fluid into a bypass loop which allows it to cool (and probably create electricity via a fluid-driven motor connected to a generator.)
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Old 06-13-2009, 09:37 AM   #6 (permalink)
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maybe look into rammed earth too, dunno.
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Old 06-13-2009, 10:02 AM   #7 (permalink)
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The rammed earth concept had crossed my mind, but I don't want to use wood in the construction of the house... Unless I were going to use metal stud work, but that really makes the price go up.

I'm going to mud-stucco the exterior of the house, so that it's sealed and waterproofed without paint or chemicals... that will be packed mud.
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Old 06-13-2009, 11:02 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm lost? How is wood a requirement with rammed earth?
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Old 06-13-2009, 11:09 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcb View Post
I'm lost? How is wood a requirement with rammed earth?
There needs to be a pre-laid frame work to ram the earth to... it's the first thing covered in the article you sent me, but it's also a given... sand castles are small, hence don't need it, but a full sized house, prone to geological vibrations, etc, would need a framework beyond just packed mud.

Unless you're talking about packed mud bricks, stacking/sealing them, which is a different beast, and can be done, but is expensive when the mud isn't readily available. (Clay is the best mud to use for pack bricks.)
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Old 06-13-2009, 11:18 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Ok, well there are a few companies that could use reusable forms as mentionend in that article too. Just another idea, as requested, take it or leave it.

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