A Perspective on Building
At the Ranch at the Whiterocks we have a simple no-nonsense approach to living. Our buildings use nature as a co-partner instead of standing against it to supply electricity, minimal maintenance and a healthy environment. Using inexhaustible resources, the weather, sun and earthen building materials automatically heat, cool and provide water and electricity. This housing is a demonstration that can help to solve the problem of high utility costs, depleting natural resources and global warming.
By using our inborn intelligence and a little common sense,
we have constructed elegant housing that doesn't require constant feeding and attention. If you like this prospect, we'll show you
how and we can even hold your hand throughout the process. There are systems we can implement which offer such a savings to our resources that we cannot help but urge their consideration.
The costs are negligible. The rewards are many. The concepts and philosophies are simple and easy to implement.
The machinery it takes to heat and cool a conventional house is expensive requiring ongoing maintenance during its relatively short-lived life cycle.
The complexity of these machines requires attention for service and replacement if something breaks down. This is service usually performed by a professional. "Professional" equals expensive.
With a lumber house we are required by necessity to use more oil and natural gases to heat and cool these houses. The problem is that it is predicted that these resources will be extinct by the middle of this very century. Some say it will only be 30 years.
Even with the most efficient and sophisticated insulating materials, a building made of wood requires materials and systems that cause this excessive use of utilities to heat and cool it.
There is no way around incurring a costly utility bill with a house made of lumber. A house built of lumber is naturally cold in the winter and hot in the summer.
We try to save heat by raising and lowering the thermostat, not realizing that
the material the house is made of is causing this expense. In summer with a wood
building we use electricity to air condition.
We don't have to do this. We could be saving this cash instead of spending it.
Use the sun and adobe mass to build. It will heat and
it will cool automatically. Solar adobe does the work all by itself. A building
made of this material maintains a 68-72 degree temperature inside summer or
winter. The temperature always feels right when you walk into a solar adobe house.
It is automatically warming in winter and automatically cooling in summer. There
is no effort.
The sun is ever present and inexhaustible and it is free and non-polluting. It provides free heat and solar electricity all year long. It is never depleted by our use. Doesn't it make sense? If we expand our knowledge and use of solar technology as much as we can we could alter the direction toward global warming.
Even tires packed with earth cost only one's labor. The thermal mass is a natural property of adobe. Earthen building materials absorb the free heat of the sun. It takes the sun about three months to penetrate a 20" thick adobe wall. The thick mass of adobe captures heat.
Adobe requires little maintenance to protect it against the elements.
Placement of windows to use heat from the sun is
another way to automatically lower heating demands. Place windows 15 degrees east of true south with sunlight for heat in mind. At the Ranch at the Whiterocks we place windows facing that direction so they automatically pull in this free source of heat.
Heat all hot water with the sun, stored in a tank for use any time of the day or night. If only half the people in the United States used solar hot water to fulfill only half their hot water needs, we would meet the emission standards set by the Kyoto conference.
Our last suggestion: use a solar oven to cook. The sun actually cooks food
perfectly and never burns it.
As a society, we have gotten used to using an excessive amount of water to flush toilets and water lawns. The conventional mode of water use in the world is only one single time use.
At Grand Canyon National Park they have posted in each room the following examples of extravagant use of water:
if we leave the water running while shaving we use 20 gallons as opposed to 1 gallon by filling the basin.
If we leave the water running while brushing our teeth we use 2-5 gallons, as opposed to 1/2 gallon by brushing in a conservative way.
If we leave the water running while we wash our hands we use 2 gallons as opposed to 1 gallon by filling the basin.
Water can be used several times within the house before turning it outside to water the gardens.
It first passes through an extensive filtration system. Its initial use is for drinking, cooking and washing at our kitchen sinks. It's first use can also be at the bathroom sink and the washing machine. The water going out from here is now called gray water. Then it goes directly into a gray water treatment garden where it feeds plants and vegetables. The plants and vegetable roots clean the water through transpiration. At the same time they get their necessary nutrients and water. Plants love the extra nutrients of water that has been used on dishes. After the roots have cleaned the water, it is used to flush the toilet. The toilet utilizes the gray water and then it goes into a regular septic system. When the water is too full in the garden, it is used yet another time when it is pumped to feed plants in the yard outdoors.
Unfortunately, these materials make up almost all of the customary American building.
Common toxic materials to be cautious of are fiberglass, glues, chipboard, paint and various plastics.
They are found most commonly in walls and carpeting and they will out-gas toxins forever.
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