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Posted by Pete C. on September 17, 2009, 12:54 am

Ecnerwal wrote:

I have a small diesel tractor with loader, scaffolding, forklift, etc.
I'm considering pre-fabing the structure in a modular fashion at my
current place so that I can truck it to the target location on a rented
flatbed equipment trailer. I'm probably looking at a pier-beam type
construction, relatively common around here, in part to minimize
concrete work and and because I have a post hole drill for the tractor
to use for at least part of the sonotube hole prep.

Along the lines of the pre-fab plan, I've been thinking of conventional
framed 2x4 walls, only a double wall setup with a lot of insulation
between and near total thermal breaks. At a target size of around 400
sq. ft. "sturdy" should be pretty easy to achieve no matter what
construction I go with.

I'm thinking one story, or perhaps 1.5 with a little loft area. Kinda
thinking a bit of a windowed dormer to get some light in. Surface
electrical should be fine, especially considering the small size. I'm
looking to avoid a slab anywhere since that tends to get in the way of

Posted by Ecnerwal on September 17, 2009, 3:03 am

SIPs get you the near total thermal break, and the starting point that's
pretty near where you'd be with pre-fabbed bits of 2x4 wall - also
better insulation for the same wall thickness (or less wall thickness
for the same insulation), and only one wall to put up, not two. But
double-wall also works - it's the original approach (or at least the
1970's approach) to superinsulation.

Cats, coffee, chocolate...vices to live by

Posted by harry on September 18, 2009, 6:00 pm

On Sep 17, 4:03 am, Ecnerwal

High insulation is good.  The type of insulation?    Well, if you have
plenty of space, it's pointless expense buying high tech insulation
when you can get low tech insulation much cheaper, it will just have
to be thicker (but still cost less). Only go for high tech where there
is a space restriction.  Don't forget the floor too.
Consider total or partial earth shielding.  This makes a huge
difference, my own house is partially earth shielded

The next important thing is windows.   I have 4" thick insulated
shutters on mine, this is where you do need the high tech foam.  They
are side hinged with draught seals.  Thin ply on a light frame, the
foam is "foamed" into position with the canned foam.  Very strong and

Next, infiltration. (Lots of little draughts).   With a highly
insulated home this is your big problem. It's worth while having
draugth seals everywhere and searching out draughts and dealing with
them.    You need some ventilation but it should be controlled.

You will have to consider where  to site your heating system and
arrange for air supply to it.  If you are having a wood burner, you
need a piped supply taking the air to as near to the stove as possible
to avoid icy draughts crossing the room.
None of the above needs any maintenance, doesn't go wrong and lasts
It means that whatever heating cooling you have, can be much smaller

Posted by Me on September 19, 2009, 6:20 pm

In article

Up here in alaska, we use 2X6 Plates with 2X4 Studs that alternate in
position between the inside and outside walls. We then thread the
insulation between the Studs and fill the internal Void Space. This way
there are NO Material Connections between the inside wall and outside
wall, just insulation. Increases the R Factor of the wall, as well as
sound deadening capacity. Floor Insulation is also a BIG Deal up here,
so that is built in before the Joists are covered over with the
sub-flooring. Most of our wood fired stoves and heaters don't use room
air for combustion, but have external Firebox Air inputs that usually
come up thru the floor and are insulated from the room air. This helps
the Firebox Draft Systems a lot, as well.  Those folks that have Diesel
Gensets for power, are getting into Co-Gen with Cooling System, and
Exhaust Manifold Heat Exchangers, feeding Hydronic Floor Heating, or
Forced Air Space Heating to pump all those wasted BTU's into the
Insulated Living Spaces, rather than dumping them to the Outside Air.
 I mean really, you paid for those BTU's when you bought the fuel, why
not use them effectively, instead of throwing them away, by trying to
heating the world. Costs aren't all that different, if you do the design
right, before the construction begins.  I saw an neighbor build a
basement foundation out of these New, Cheap, Foam Blocks, that were
stacked just like common Cement Blocks, and then the passages were
filled with some Rebar, and then concrete, to provide the Structural
Strength of a common Block Wall, but the insulation capabilities of
6" Foam Insulation. He then built a very nice two story cabin on the
foundation.  Roofing gutters all lead to a water collection system in
the Basement, where he has 2000 USG of Potable Water Storage in the non
Freezing insulated basement, and the Diesel Gensets are also located.
Hydronic Heating Coils in the concrete Basement Floor Slab, as well as
in the First Floor/Basement Joist System. No need for any on the second
Floor as the heat rises to keep that area at Temp. There is a Horizontal
Radiator, external to the Basement that can dump unneeded BTU's from the
Gensets, should the cabin and Basement Slabs be up to temp, and the
Basement slab, servers as a Heatsink and Heat Storage for the cabin.
There is also a Heating loop thru the domestic Hot Water Tank to preheat
domestic Hot Water for the Propane Fired On Demand Water Heater, which
normally doesn't have to do much, as the temps usually are running near

Me       one who likes interesting technology

Posted by harry on September 19, 2009, 8:16 pm

I too collect rainwater.  Used for flushing the toilet.  I have a
masonary cavity wall. The inner leave is 8" thick common brick/
concrete blocks, the outer leaf is 4" insulation block.  The cavity
(space between) is 24" filled with mineral wool. The roof has 8" of
rigid foam board (polyuerathane) about twice the insulating value of
mineral wool. the concrete floor slabs have 4" of foam under them.
For 95% of the year I require no heating at all. The TV and
refridgerators provide enough heat in the evenings/night..
I also have solar panels for hot water, provides all our needs in

We refer to the the problem  of material connections over here (UK) as
"thermal  bridging". It's quite hard to avoid some bridging even in
new construction.

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