thoughts on bldg for the 'future'

spunbondwarriorJune 28, 2005

I am just rather curious as to what everyone is considering doing regarding energy efficiency and the future "affordability" of living in either their current abode or the one they are planning/building now.

I am apparently in a situation very few Americans enjoy. I bought a large tract of land 2.8 miles off the road through two locked gates years ago, sweated out getting it paid off in just a very few years, have lots of woods rocks water pasture and tools. And I have given my kids 13 acres apeice to do with as they please. I owe no one nothing, and have a real knack for things spatial and numeric, lot's of experience in all sorts of engineering things, but none in construction, woo hoo lots to learn and do!! And have a 6'3" 240 pound damn near genius son and a daughter with lots of young men freinds eager to imress her and her dad.

Assuming that Mr. Hubberts' curve is correct (go to and do a search on "hubberts curve),and it is, and that energy costs will double over the next two years and triple within the next five years what will you be doing? If you are spending say $200 a month on utilities currently can you handle a $600 a month expense for the same?

I, for one, feel almost like a "Stranger In A Strange Land" when perusing the construction sites and boards. I am giving up my almost 2000 sq ft on an almost 1500 sq ft basement, and with my son have just completed the design and engineering work on the three identical structures that he, my daughter, and I will be building on land that I have given them in the high country of west NC. They are identical, at the start anyway, designed for future expansion. They will be round, and 855.3 sq ft. stained concrete slab floor, built of straw-bales on a wrapped in styrofoam sand bag foundation with a recipricol roof and a combination of foam and fiberglass above, beneath a white EPDM membrane roof (a LOT of research has gone into this project already). Solar pre-heated demand water heaters. A propane stove and refrigerator, a European style combined washer/dryer and compact flourescents everywhere. Just three rooms (two quite large at 285 sq ft each) and a bath. Empty nester... yep that would be me. And two kids who won't be for some years, but need little space today.

Apparently I am supposed to be building 2000 sq ft for me and at least that much apeice for them.... But... I am planning on building for maximum energy, and and proper efficient use of space....mimimum hallway/wasted space/infiltration/ materials.... I want to be able to heat and cool them for almost zero dollars and zero cents.... Having 20 something acres of hardwoods helps, but I have no great desire to commit myself to a future of every year spending days and weeks cutting firewood. Cooling is a breeze and a zero dollar project and will cost almost nothing to run, having three cold water ever running springs insures the success of that endeavor. And we are putting several acres into oil seed crop next spring and squeezing out the oil for diesel fuel, and would much rather put the fuel to use in the vehicles, tractors generators etc than for heating/furnace fuel....

And what are you planning/thinking about doing for your current next house and future?

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...If the cost of energy doubles to triples, I plan to move in with my mom, bringing my wife and son with me! :)


    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 4:01PM
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    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 5:41PM
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I didn't know you could just squeeze diesel fuel substitutes out of oil seeds. I thought it required a chemical extraction and distillation process also. But, I've never tried it.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 6:14PM
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Need, It's called bio-diesel...
Actually, one can run straight veggie oil as a substitute for petro-diesel, as long as it doesn't get too cold...
Check out " " and the always fantastic infomation source for all things sorta kinda in-a-way energy related in one or some way or form or another, " " and " " " " and how could I forget... " "

see the link attached for more.... and look for " bio-diesel " too

If one doubts the certainty of such price increases, I would suggest reading The Asia Times Sunday article on the reality of the Saudi situation and its' implications for us all. And don't pass up the "side-bar" on the what-if scenerio that was just recently done by some USA big boys, that'll sober you up!

Here is a link that might be useful: Clusty Biodiesel Search Results

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 5:25AM
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I know about bio-diesel and I used to burn castor oil as a pre-mix in racing motorcycles. I was just trying to figure out the exact extraction process to obtain the oil.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 7:47AM
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General Definition of Biodiesel:
Biodiesel is a domestic, renewable fuel for diesel engines derived from natural oils like soybean oil, and which meets the specifications of ASTM D 6751.

Clarifying language to general definition:
Biodiesel can be used in any concentration with petroleum based diesel fuel in existing diesel engines with little or no modification. Biodiesel is not the same thing as raw vegetable oil. It is produced by a chemical process which removes the glycerin from the oil.

Technical Definition for Biodiesel (ASTM D 6751) and Biodiesel Blend:
Biodiesel, na fuel comprised of mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats, designated B100, and meeting the requirements of ASTM D 6751.

Biodiesel Blend, nÂa blend of biodiesel fuel meeting ASTM D 6751 with petroleum-based diesel fuel, designated BXX, where XX represents the volume percentage of biodiesel fuel in the blend.

Clarifying language to technical definition:
Biodiesel, as defined in D 6751, is registered with the US EPA as a fuel and a fuel additive under Section 211(b) of the Clean Air Act.

Biodiesel is typically produced by a reaction of a vegetable oil or animal fat with an alcohol such as methanol or ethanol in the presence of a catalyst to yield mono-alkyl esters and glycerin, which is removed.

---- So I suppose my question still stands --- How do you propose to extract this stuff yourself.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 8:54AM
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Needs, I think this might be somewhat along the line you mentioned (extraction). It is centered on small scqle/home type production.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 2:51PM
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Our current house was built during the energy crisis in the early 1980s and is a super insulated home with all the energy saving bells and whistles that were then available. We've had low energy bills, but haven't particularly enjoyed living in the house because it doesn't have enough windows to enoy the view on the north side, we'd like a full basement instead of all that solar mass in the slab floors, etc., and it's too quirky to remodel easily. We're building our current house to be enjoyable to live in. We are using low e windows, zoned heating, and as much insulation as reasonable, but that's about it. If we can't afford to live their because of future energy prices, we'll deal with it then, if we live that long.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2005 at 1:26PM
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