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Sepp Holzer root cellar

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15626
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I have lots more pics to add to this, but for now, here is the first.

Rocks stacked.  Logs on top.  Then felt, then pond liner, then more felt and then a meter of dirt.

He normally makes these with logs on the sides instead of rocks.  I'm trying to see if I can get a picture of that.



[Thumbnail for sepp_root_cellar_small.jpg]


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Leah Sattler


Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 2603
that is just freakin sooooo cool!! can I buy one? I'll pay shippping


[img]http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n52/havlik1/permie%20pics2/permiepotrait3pdd.jpg[/img]

"One cannot help an involuntary process. The point is not to disturb it. - Dr. Michel Odent
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15626
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
construction


[Thumbnail for sepp_root_cellar_1_small.jpg]

[Thumbnail for sepp_root_cellar_2_small.jpg]

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15626
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Inside.

You can see the vent stuff.  It is that vent stuff that makes this a root cellar instead of an animal shelter.

Sepp says that you could, later block off the vent stuff and have this be an animal shelter when it suits you.

The bottom vent goes pretty deep - from the back (where you can see it poking up) to about 15 or 20 feet in front of the opening.  So the air ends up nice and cool from the earth.



[Thumbnail for sepp_root_cellar_3_small.jpg]

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15626
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
The roof liner.



[Thumbnail for sepp_root_cellar_4_small.jpg]

[Thumbnail for sepp_root_cellar_5_small.jpg]

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15626
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
A layer of felt, a layer of pond liner, a layer of felt.

The layers of felt are to protect the pond liner from getting stabbed and getting a hole.

Total cost of roofing materials here:  About $1000.  !!!  Ouch.  Mike Oehler's stuff is very similar.  Mike's book says to use visqueen (black plastic) which would cost maybe $20.  But I read something where Mike is also using some pond liner these days. 



[Thumbnail for sepp_root_cellar_6_small.jpg]

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15626
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Sepp has built a lot of these, so I should keep my pie hole shut and just bask in the glow of the master ....  but ...  I look at this and I think about water getting between the log and the liner.  Then following the liner back to the middle of the roof ...  Mike's design very specifically acknowledges that problem and provides a solution.

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15626
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
The top vents coming out of the top. 

Before they did this, one of "Team Sepp" told me that they would make a small round hole in the pond liner and then pull the pond liner over the pipe.  That sounded like a damn good seal to me.  This looks like they made X's in the liner - that doesn't seem as good to me.  That makes me think that the X might continue to tear over time.

Another thing to note:  Mike Oehler is adamant that you should never do anything like this (poking a hole through your membrane).  This could be because his designs use black plastic.  But as I was studying this, I thought that having the upward air intake toward the front would be cheaper, easier and wiser.  But maybe there are bits and bobs i don't yet understand. 





[Thumbnail for sepp_root_cellar_7_small.jpg]

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15626
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
This shows the half log on the rocks and the notches put into each of the top logs so the structure remains stable.



[Thumbnail for sepp_root_cellar_8_small.jpg]

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15626
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Here is a pic from Sepp's site of one that he did with all logs.



paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15626
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
While it probably took Team Sepp about three to five days to build this one, they say it normally takes just one day to build the all-log shelter.

                                      


Joined: Apr 10, 2009
Posts: 8
Does Sepp indicate any species preference for his underground logs ?
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15626
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Yes!  Tamarack (western larch) seems to be his favorite.  Although he does prefer black locust if he can get it.

                                      


Joined: Apr 10, 2009
Posts: 8
No luck on the tamarack....central Illinois here.
But, black locust we have in abundance.

Where is Sepp located ? I've not read enough about him yet to see mention of that.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15626
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Sepp is in the Austrian Alps. 

But he travels the world bringing his genius to all sorts of places.

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15626
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
So I made this stuff a big part of my new sepp holzer's Permaculture article.

I added some stuff to the article.  Specifically, a drawing I made to attempt to clarify what was seen in the pics:



And my ideas for possible improvement:



paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15626
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I've been studying ice caves recently.  Some ice caves claim that they get cold and stay cold because cold air sinks and warm air rises and the cave is deep and the opening is high. 

Hmmmm .... seems unlikely ... anybody have more information on this sort of thing?


paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15626
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞


                            


Joined: Jul 02, 2011
Posts: 4
Sepp has an amazing mind for design. I wonder, does anyone know of a material that could be used in placed of the tarp (or lake sealer or what ever it is) between the logs and the dirt, that isn't made from oil? or is the water protecting layer even necessary? i'm not sure but it seems to me people must have been building root cellars with nothing but dirt walls for ages, also, wow those are huge rocks! i guess rocks like that are easier to find where hes from, here that many rocks that size and moving them in would be quite the expensive job
Michael Radelut


Joined: Jan 21, 2011
Posts: 195
Location: Germany, 7b-ish
    
    1
Housing animals, this is called 'Erdstall'.

And as it turns out, the exact same term has been used for mysterious underground cavities for centuries:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,775348,00.html

Could it be that Sepp Holzer knows something we don't (rhetorical question) ?
Fred Winsol


Joined: May 22, 2011
Posts: 155
Location: Sierras
skepchar wrote:
Sepp has an amazing mind for design. I wonder, does anyone know of a material that could be used in placed of the tarp (or lake sealer or what ever it is) between the logs and the dirt, that isn't made from oil? or is the water protecting layer even necessary? i'm not sure but it seems to me people must have been building root cellars with nothing but dirt walls for ages, also, wow those are huge rocks! i guess rocks like that are easier to find where hes from, here that many rocks that size and moving them in would be quite the expensive job


I'm using EPDM single ply roofing material - will last longer than most plastics, but it is oil based.

I think most anything these days has resins, oil-based products in it... even expanded polystyrene, etc.  Metals will rust/disintegrate.  I guess you could use thin slab rocks/stones, but that's a WHOLE bunch of work.


Life is too important to take seriously.
 
 
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