Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Permaculture Design Final Project: Part 2 Housing Compound and Main House Design

Map Corresponding Numbers

1a       Housing Compound Area

Building Strategies:
Cob houses at four corners joined by perimeter wall to form a 1 acre private courtyard, which will be zone 0. The courtyard will have small scale structures, landscaping, and vegetation to address the family’s immediate needs and recreation within close proximity and privacy. 

Design Features:
700 sq. ft. round houses on each corner of the family complex all have access to southern side sun for passive solar. Made of cob, entirely earth friendly and insulating – cool in summer, warm in winter, and well suited to the relatively arid climate. Houses will have metal roofs for maximum rainwater catchment and longest life. No pipes or cables will compromise the strength or insulating properties of the walls, as the houses will not have plumbing or wired electricity. 
Cob and straw bale perimeter wall will provide windbreak, privacy, protection, and due to the thermal mass, create a micro-climate in the family courtyard area. Plants requiring partial shade and a warmer environment can be grown both inside and outside this perimeter wall.
Power will be supplied by solar arrays, housed in one building used as family office, schoolroom, and library. This will be the repository for the computer, printer, and charging other electrical appliances, etc. Personal solar phone chargers will be used to keep phones operational while mobile.
Water for drinking and cooking will be from rainwater catchment, filtered and purified through a Berkey gravity feed unit. 

1a.1    Details of Main House

This is a cob round house of 30 meters in diameter that has a conservatory on the southward facing wall. The conservatory wall begins at 123.71° and continues to 236.25°. These degrees coincide with the winter sunrise and sunset. As the hours of sunlight are shorter in the winter, this will allow us to maximize light and heat to conservatory vegetation. It will also assist in the solar passive heating of the house. The inner wall between the conservatory and the living space of the house will be a Trombe wall. During the day, the Trombe wall absorbs light and circulates heat. In addition, during the night it retains and radiates heat.
The kitchen is located at 66° and the dining room is located at 90°. This will allow for maximum sunlight during the hours where the kitchen is used for breakfast, so no artificial or additional light is required. The summer sunrise is at 5:38 a.m. and the winter sunrise is at 7:07 a.m.
There are thermal masses built into the walls where heat would be needed the most. The wood range kitchen connects to one of these thermal masses to radiate heat into the kitchen, dining room, living room, and one bedroom. Two additional thermal masses make up the wall of the second bedroom, with a built in rocket stove. This will heat the other room and assist in heating the living room. In the center of the living room is the third thermal mass, which will radiate heat from the house’s epicenter.
The bathroom and bedrooms are located in the areas that receive the least amount of light, as minimal time is spent in them or darkness is preferred.

1b       4 x bathhouses/composting toilets

  • To house composting toilets and bathing facilities
  • To harness their own supply of water
  • To provide a windbreak
  • To create shaded, protected areas for storage of composting toilet supplies to the rear

Design Features:
These facilities will have metal roofs with guttering for rainwater catchment draining into 55 gallon drums – one above ground and one buried ¾ into the ground. The above ground drum will have rainwater stored for washing needs. The interred drum is to collect the grey water from washing to irrigate crops in zone 0. Composting toilets will be emptied in a composting unit outside perimeter wall. Extended metal roof to perimeter wall will provide covered storage for composting toilet supplies, i.e., cover material and additional 5 gallon buckets.

1c        Playground area
  •  Play area within the courtyard to provide a safe place for children to play
  •  Creativity center
  •  Snack/picnic area
Design Features:
Wooden play area will have special features such as a working loom, so actual textiles can be woven, natural games such as tic-tac-toe, hopscotch, and large 1, 2, and 3 foot long Lincoln Logs to build life-size structures. It will have a surround of a fruit salad garden, edible flowers, and snack plants. In effect, a small selection of dwarf fruit trees: plum, peach, apricot, apple, pear, cherry, and nectarine will be planted with grapevines along the side of the play decks. Two decks at 5’ height off the ground allow for an under-deck picnic area and on the other side under-deck sandbox with rings, trapeze, and rope swings. The shaded under-deck areas will be edged with berry bushes, cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, and edible flowers interspersed with companion plants that deter pests. Playhouse on deck will have planters with strawberries and, interspersed, will be planters that have insect repelling plants such as lemongrass, citronella, gardenia, catnip, mint, and rosemary. Run off from playhouse will provide water for surround and edge plants.

1d       Small prayer building

  •  As prayer is an integral part of our life 5 times a day, a place for spiritual retreat is needed
  •  Rain catchment
Design Features:
Made of cob within the courtyard, it will provide thermal mass, heat retention, shade, assist with micro-climate, and rain catchment channeled to 55 gallon steel drum for irrigation of surrounding grass and flowers in family garden.

1e       Small laundry building

  •  Wash clothing
  •  Dry clothes (winter)
  •  Rain catchment
Design Features:
Made of cob within the courtyard, it will provide thermal mass, heat retention, and shade. Rain catchment from the metal roof will be channeled to 55 gallon drum for laundry needs. Grey water will drain out through simple pipe at base of the perimeter wall to a swale beginning outside perimeter wall that runs down between the berry bushes to the large vegetable patch.

1f        2 x Herb Spirals

Convenient access to herbs for culinary and medicinal use
Design Features:
These will be stone-walled, raised bed spirals, where there is a choice between having a footpath or a place to grow root crops in the ground between the stone walls.  

1g       Water Tank
To provide water for drinking and cooking
Design Features:
1650 gallon, above-ground water tank

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