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Big ego
Big ego SuperDork
11/23/10 8:04 p.m.
MrJoshua wrote:
Big ego wrote:
SVreX wrote: Big E: But don't kid yourself on the saving the planet thing.
Goals should never be lowered from the Ideal..
Unless you are a fan of reality.

ahh yes..

but without outrageous goal setting and the subsequent achievement it drives.. We wouldn't have many of the great inventions, products, companies and technologies we enjoy today...

but maybe those guys who started google should have brought their goals down to reality. cause the goals they set for themselves were really just too hard.

whats that old saying... "shoot for the moon because if you miss you'll at least land in the stars."

MrJoshua
MrJoshua SuperDork
11/23/10 8:12 p.m.
Big ego wrote:
MrJoshua wrote:
Big ego wrote:
SVreX wrote: Big E: But don't kid yourself on the saving the planet thing.
Goals should never be lowered from the Ideal..
Unless you are a fan of reality.
ahh yes.. but without outrageous goal setting and the subsequent achievement it drives.. We wouldn't have many of the great inventions, products, companies and technologies we enjoy today... but maybe those guys who started google should have brought their goals down to reality. cause the goals they set for themselves were really just too hard. whats that old saying... "shoot for the moon because if you miss you'll at least land in the stars."

The world needs dreamers and those who charge irrationally into the great unknown, but setting all goals to the ideal leads to an army of pompous asses who claim to be achieving the ideal while accomplishing nothing.

Big ego
Big ego SuperDork
11/23/10 8:20 p.m.
MrJoshua wrote: The world needs dreamers and those who charge irrationally into the great unknown, but setting all goals to the ideal leads to an army of pompous asses who claim to be achieving the ideal while accomplishing nothing.

ahh yes...

see thats why companies have idiots like me.

To make the impossible possible.

EPA set emissions targets for diesel engines in 2010 that were considered to be unrealistic and impossible by Caterpillar. Cummins said they could do it(really couldn't at the time, but pushed themselves..) Cat has exited the HD engine business leaving only one independent engine maker in the US. Lots more market share to Cummins.........

Cummins really should have set their goals lower and more realistically..

MrJoshua
MrJoshua SuperDork
11/23/10 8:36 p.m.

Realistic and ideal were not mutually exclusive in your example. Proven by the fact that Cummins did it. The battle cry for always shooting for the ideal is overused about as often as the claim that the requested changes are impossible.

Edit: We should hush and let these guys get back to talking about houses. Couldn't you spray the interior and exterior of a Silo with some sort of foam to make them more efficient?

Big ego
Big ego SuperDork
11/23/10 8:43 p.m.
MrJoshua wrote: Realistic and ideal were not mutually exclusive in your example. Proven by the fact that Cummins did it. The battle cry for always shooting for the ideal is overused about as often as the claim that the requested changes are impossible.

ahh but at the time they signed up to do it.. It was unknown if it was technically possible for a diesel to reach that low of an emissions level.

MrJoshua
MrJoshua SuperDork
11/23/10 8:54 p.m.
Big ego wrote:
MrJoshua wrote: Realistic and ideal were not mutually exclusive in your example. Proven by the fact that Cummins did it. The battle cry for always shooting for the ideal is overused about as often as the claim that the requested changes are impossible.
ahh but at the time they signed up to do it.. It was unknown if it was technically possible for a diesel to reach that low of an emissions level.

Confucius say Big ego say Ahh to much. Unexplored is what you are describing, not unrealistic.

Spray foam on a silo? Possible, cost prohibitive? Sucks when hanging pictures?

turbojunker
turbojunker HalfDork
11/23/10 8:56 p.m.
Big ego wrote: Cat has exited the HD engine business leaving only one independent engine maker in the US.

As long as they keep building natural gas engines, I'm okay with that. Keeps me working.

Jensenman
Jensenman SuperDork
11/23/10 9:06 p.m.

Spray foam on a silo. Interesting idea.

Several years back, I saw an article somewhere (Popular Science?) about a guy who built a house with some sort of industrial spray foam. IIRC he built a fairly conventional foundation, put a wire mesh over it to give the shape, then sprayed the foam and let it set. He then did the final shaping and openings with a chainsaw. I can't think of any way that would meet any kind of building codes, but it's worth considering...

Not the article I was thinking of, but closely related: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xanadu_Houses Given today's technology, wonder how this might be improved?

Derick Freese
Derick Freese HalfDork
11/23/10 9:23 p.m.

In reply to Jensenman:

Check out the 4th post in this thread ;)

Ultimately, the Xanadu houses didn't hold up well.

http://www.uer.ca/locations/show.asp?locid=20299

Jensenman
Jensenman SuperDork
11/23/10 9:31 p.m.

Yup, you were way ahead of me. The article I saw was about a guy who did it small scale, not a big thing like the Xanadus. He mentioned that it was easy to add a room: you built the foundation and the door framing, chainsawed a hole in the existing house, then foamed everything together. Took about two days and was dirt cheap.

I'm wondering if the ideas contained in the Xanadus could be combined with other technologies that have come along since then. I know some of it's been done, for instance there's foam cored concrete walls.

Derick Freese
Derick Freese HalfDork
11/23/10 9:40 p.m.

Concrete monolithic dome combined with a Xanadu house seems ideal to me. My idea of an awesome house is a hurricane proof house on the beach. Not green, not particularly the best idea, but I love the idea of monolithic dome construction.

If you have Netflix, there is a documentary on demand called "Urban Explorers: Into the Darkness." It shows some alright video of the Xanadu house in I think 2007. The structure they showed was reported to be similar to spray foam insulation. They also show the big hot dog and a few other things that interest me.

There's a reason I was so peeved when our car was broken into and my flashlights were stolen :p

MrJoshua
MrJoshua SuperDork
11/23/10 9:43 p.m.

I swear there was a foam dome house in Gainesville.

Derick Freese
Derick Freese HalfDork
11/23/10 9:49 p.m.

In reply to MrJoshua:

There were supposedly some sold. There's a second one in Gatlinburg, TN, at least I remember it. I was about 12 at the time, but the Xanadu attraction was gone by then.

MrJoshua
MrJoshua SuperDork
11/23/10 9:56 p.m.
Derick Freese
Derick Freese HalfDork
11/23/10 10:02 p.m.

Gracias.

curtis73
curtis73 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
11/24/10 3:20 p.m.
Jensenman wrote: I'm not real familiar with the bale construction. My biggest question: what about fire resistance? Again, not raining on your parade, it's a question that bears asking.

Perfectly fine question. Fire resistance has been stellar in the testing I've reviewed. Straw fibers have very little stored energy, so its not like a piece of oak that releases a ton of heat. The other factor is that its packed so densely that it doesn't retain enough air to support combustion. Combine that with a nearly air-tight stucco or adobe covering and its very difficult to get it to burn.

Did you ever throw a magazine on a fire? Its the same principle as it was explained to me. The outer pages go fast, but sometimes hours later the inner pages are still untouched.

Some people treat bales with a mixture of Borate, lime, and water as a fire retardant (and insect barrier) but it hasn't shown to be of much benefit, so most people don't find it to be a winning investment given the time and money.

SVreX
SVreX SuperDork
11/25/10 10:59 p.m.

Foam may be fun to form, but bring it in contact with the earth ANYWHERE in southern regions and expect MASSIVE termite related failures.

Those critters LOVE to burrow through the stuff (witness the problems encountered with DryVit, and similar products).

Class action lawsuits, here we come...

SVreX
SVreX SuperDork
11/25/10 11:05 p.m.

Straw bales on the outside of conventional???

Gives new meaning to "Butt ugly".

How do you deal with the fact that the roof is about 36" too small to cover the structure? Sealing joints at windows? Extending door jambs to work? No foundation under the bales? Installing trim? Wow, just too ugly to even imagine.

If you'd like to build a bale house, do do it as a retrofit to a conventional. Please!! Have mercy!!

SVreX
SVreX SuperDork
11/25/10 11:17 p.m.

Big E:

I was certainly not suggesting lowering your goals or ideals. I was pointing out that the rhetoric was not new, that we had heard every single word of it 20+ years ago, and that none of it had materialized.

I'd love to see it happen. I have no problem with setting your sights high. But the undoing of the ideas the first time was the REALITY of their unsustainability in the marketplace, and nothing has changed.

Bottom line- the excitement will wane when it hits the American public's pocketbook. Not trying to be a cynic, just stating the obvious.

Nobody's gonna pay $40,000 for a Chevy Volt as a primary vehicle with a range of 50 miles before needing a recharge (with no available recharge stations). It's impractical. It doesn't work. It's just status candy for self-obsessed people who want to appear like they care about the planet but actually can afford to have another vehicle as a primary form of transportation (doubling or more their "real world" carbon footprint).

Gearheadotaku
Gearheadotaku GRM+ Memberand Dork
11/26/10 9:25 a.m.

I thought a pole barn with an apartment in the rafters was the best GRM home....

Mikey52_1
Mikey52_1 HalfDork
11/26/10 12:44 p.m.

I've been married 32 years, and can recall at least a couple times my wife and I have looked at various methods of building a home. The first step has consistently been the hardest: Where does one site the thing? EVERY one of the 'portions-of-a-developement' homes we looked at had some non-starter item that kept us from pursuing it further. Mostly they were just ugly and obviously all built from shake-the-box plans. One was like the next and the next and so on. Colstrip was a boom town when we came here and the mobile homes were faring MUCH better (from the mini-quakes of overburden blasting that goes along with a stripmine) than either the site built or modular 880's, so we bought a mobile from a company with an excellent reputation for durability. This was intended to be a stop-gap until we could get into something 'more permanent'. As it happened, the older homes are mostly from the 30's and 40's, when Colstrip was a boom town, and they all have problems of some sort. Some of them are very expensive to fix. Some of my co-workers have been in their moneypits for 20 years and only now seeing the end of the expense.

The alternative methods, such as straw bales, adobe, log, start-with-a-modular-and-personalize it, were all explored. Local building codes of the time wouldn't allow either bale or adobe (because of the 'fire risk'), and the one guy I know who built a polebarn garage had to pull it down a couple years later because it 'blocked a neighbor's view' (of what? a dragline???).

But all the building ideas and plans came down to: "Where yuh gonna put that thing, Vern? 'Cuz what you want to build, I don't want in my back window!" We would have had to go out of town and buy acreage that was obscenely overpriced. Because EVERYone in town has 2 incomes of 75K apiece, right??

The point here is that SVreX has it right. We've heard most of the green arguments before, and while they all make sense, the American consumer will vote with his pocketbook in deciding whether he wants to continue with a sequence of 'green' purchases.

I applaud Curtis for wanting to build what he wants, and it sounds like he has his ducks in a row so far. Hopefully he doesn't hit zoning roadblocks that'll keep him from it.

SVreX
SVreX SuperDork
11/26/10 4:09 p.m.

Backing up for a minute...

Zomby woof wrote: Log construction is simple. You can DIY, and it can be very inexpensive. The R value of logs is not exceptional, but it's not bad, and there is the thermal mass thing, which is worth something.

Not by my experience. Log construction is some of the most challenging I've done. Labor cost is 4-5x the cost of conventional for a good reason- it's slow, takes a LOT of skill, and heavy lifting equipment.

Kits are REALLY expensive, and hewing your own is DEFINITELY the territory for high skill.

While I will give you that it doesn't take that much brain power to assemble a kit (assuming you can read a plan), they NEVER give you the hardest last few pieces (like decorative crow's foot beams for the gables). I've spent many days cutting mortises on top of 50' high scaffolds and doing artisan chain saw work.

You are absolutely correct on the resale value. It's high.

Thermal mass excellent. R-value, not too good. Air infiltration can be awful after shrinkage, depending on the percentage of shrinkage, the chinking, and the insulation system used.

But shrinkage is enormous, even with seasoned logs. I've made a lot of money over the years going back and re-fitting doors, windows, and cabinetry that had been installed with no consideration for the shrinkage. I've seen tall kitchen cabinets BREAK IN TWO because they were secured high on the log wall, and were crushed when the building shrunk.

Air drying an 8" log to 15% moisture content through the core of the log can take up to 4 years. The equilibrium moisture content percentage (generally considered to be 15%) can be as low as 6-7% for some species and climate conditions. So, if you think a year of "seasoning" the logs will solve the shrinkage, please let me give you my phone number for the repairs.

But don't get me wrong- I love log homes.

back on subject...

SVreX
SVreX SuperDork
11/26/10 4:10 p.m.

I agree with Mikey in applauding Curtis for being willing to put in the effort to build what he wants.

Zomby woof
Zomby woof Dork
11/26/10 6:15 p.m.

Maybe because of my trade (non wood related), I find log home construction dead simple, and easy. I'd much rather build log, than frame construction, and I have yet to see significant shrinkage, or any shrink related damage in a correctly built home.

Even the log plaza has had zero drama in almost 20 years, and that's a big log building.

SVreX
SVreX SuperDork
11/26/10 7:02 p.m.

I'm not saying they all have drama, I'm saying they have to be built right, with knowledge of the product and it's behavior.

If it is a large structure, it is VERY likely that it is 2" shorter than when it was built. That is not a problem, if you know how to do it.

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