[Greenbuilding] Earthship in New York

Clarke Olsen colsen at fairpoint.net
Sat Jul 27 09:04:25 MDT 2013


True, true; I've always felt that straw-bale was 3D stone soup.
Clarke Olsen
clarkeolsendesign.com
373 route 203
Spencertown, NY 12165 
USA
518-392-4640
colsen at taconic.net

On Jul 27, 2013, at 10:19 AM, John Salmen wrote:

> I liked Ross’s post. In fact I thought it was an extremely well written, well informed critique – I read it twice admiring the writing. I especially liked the comment about bottles, pop cans and tires having risen above the garbage pile in terms of value (also my opinion on cellulose). I also appreciated the humour of the ‘magical effect’ comment as I think the peter pan syndrome has always been an aspect of the alternative building movement. I view that as an accurate critical observation not an opinion. There are a lot of mouldering piles of half completed earthships out there as a testament.
>  
> To: Green Building
> Subject: Re: [Greenbuilding] Earthship in New York
> 
> On Fri, Jul 26, 2013 at 7:45 PM, Ross Elliott <relliott at homesol.ca> wrote:
> Not to rain on your parade Genarro, but "Earthship" and "Passive House" are
> rather contradictory terms, at least in New York's climate. The insulation
> values needed to reach Passive House are a long way off from dirt packed
> tires, and much as I admire what Mike Reynolds did in New Mexico with
> materials that weren't being recycled back then, bottles, pop cans and tires
> are no longer just garbage. It's a tremendous amount of work to build with
> tires, some people I know of spent several years just getting the walls up
> and then couldn't afford to complete the structure. Some are convinced the
> thermal mass of Earthships have some magical effect on energy consumption,
> and that over-glazed sloped south walls don't leak, overheat during the day
> and lose heat excessively at night, despite evidence to the contrary. I've
> been to Taos and stayed in an Earthship, and have read everything Mike
> Reynolds wrote and watched all the videos, and I respect the creativity in
> these homes which certainly should be part of any decent green building
> project, but I hope that by investigating "Passive House concepts" you'll
> discover the shortcomings of Earthships in a cold climate. Why not insulated
> rammed earth, strawbale, or even super-insulated wood frame construction?
> 
> Solar thermal radiant is barely economically feasible (with a backup system)
> with a certified Passive House in northern climates, so go with a cold
> climate air source heat pump or geothermal, if those are your only choices
> and you really want a tire house. But if you build a true Passive House, you
> can heat with a much simpler, cheaper combo DHW system, cool with a ground
> loop and night cooling bypass on your ERV and save a fortune on HVAC
> installation costs. Plus you can add solar thermal to the mix if you like,
> with an appreciable % of energy boost.
> 
> Ross Elliott LEED-AP, CPHC
> Homesol Building Solutions Inc.
> Almonte, ON
>          
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