My Earth Home

DSC01505From Red Sky Stage Radio’s Planet Michigan (airs Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:45, 12:45, 5:45 & 8:45).……
                 Today on Red Sky Stage Radio’s…Planet Michigan…I continue, and put to sweet rest…my 2-part Earth Home segment…music, of course and always…by the incomparable Kevin MacLeod……so on Tuesday I described my earth home…today I’ll actually post the pictures I promised to post Tuesday…and tell you more about how it was built and how this takes advantage of what nature (the earth, the sun) provides and how positioning makes all the difference…
DSC01509the arch that you see that form the walls and roof are solid concrete, topped by a layer of clay, thick neoprene, more clay, then about 18 inches of earth…all this super-insulates–and waterproofs–the inside…it takes most of the summer for the cool earth to warm to any real degree…and by the time it does, days have grown short and the sun is arcing lower across the sky, so the temperature inside never really climbs to oppressive levels…and by fall or early winter, when the outside temperatures dip, the surrounding earth is still relatively warm, so that it radiates to the inside…never–even by midwinter–letting the inside drop too low…for heat–this house has no furnace–a wood stove centrally located on the main floor…easily provides more than enough heat…downstairs, we do keep electric wall heaters on low to provide heat,
DSC01510but the owner very wisely installed a fan system where an intake vent above the wood stove sucks in the heat generated there and delivers it, via ductwork, to two outlets downstairs, this sharing the wood heat between the two floors……I always wondered if placing the wood stove on the bottom floor might have been a better idea, but I don’t spend too much time second-guessing the owner’s judgement, simply because he got nearly everything else right…such as positioning the house correctly…the side facing downhill that holds most of the windows actually faces a little east of south, letting in the early morning sun…just when you want it after getting up in the morning…at least on sunny days that is…during winter, when the sun rides DSC01503low in the sky, the sun never disappears from view, except later in the afternoon, when it’s setting in the west…this means the two large sliding glass doors allow full penetration of solar rays, which reach into far corners of the upstairs, trapping the heat inside, which the earth insulation keeps well through the evening…meaning that on some sunny days…even in midwinter…it isn’t necessary to even light the wood stove or use any heat at all……of course by March or so, when the sun rises high enough in the sky to be blocked by the overhanging eaves…the DSC01506natural heat from the sun isn’t available by mid-day, and the earth surrounding the walls and ceiling have cooled greatly, and no longer insulate as well…but that’s also about the time when warmer weather is somewhat returning, and the need for insulating warmth is lessening……and of course, speaking of the wood stove…hot water for drinking, water for dishes, some cooking even…is done on its flat surface, so this eases the burden on the electricity bill even more……every day I marvel at the brilliance of the builder of this home…while he didn’t get everything perfect—that’s probably impossible—he got so much right, not only the actual construction of the home, but the direction which it faces…that I can’t think of how one could improve it substantially……but check out the pictures for yourself…and while DSC00676you’re over at Planet Michigan…check out other nature and environment stories, picture essays and videos…and…and see how you can become a volunteer in my LoonCorps project, which aims to, not only preserve and maintain nesting loons in Northern Michigan…but seeks to expand their range to lakes that lost their loons decades ago, such as nearby Crooked, Pickerel, and Walloon Lakes……for this week…and for Red Sky Stage Radio’s…Planet Michigan…I …am…Jeff Lange.

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