Goal: I plan to have lots of coppiced firewood and high BTU shells to keep warm. TO facilitate that, a rocket stove feels necessary. I know I'll want one and be thankful to have it, in fact I'm more confident about that than any other detail of the structure!
Desired Features & Context: Of course my use of the structure and some site factors guide structure suitability. The use will mainly be camping out as if at a logging camp or remote ranch. I expect to have a simple pole barn for storage already setup nearby by the time I start making the rocket stove. A pole barn big enough for storage and gatherings of different creatures: trees, livestock, friends. I'll probably build more than one tiny structure over time, so this won't be a long term dwelling necessarily and could be a lot more like well-setup camping. For example, a yurt feels like a good fit and would be useful in the future even if I'm not living in it. (So much room for activities!) I don't think a yurt is the best setup for a rocket stove though. I'd use the rocket stove for heating and some cooking. I also plan to have water and electric eventually. Site has roadside electric though not sure I'd hook into that, great wind and some solar potential. Would do rain catch and a well on site, not sure how crazy it'd be to hook that permanent well into this relatively temporary dwelling.
I plan on this being on the smaller side. For example I've considered rustic cabins or yurts 100-400sq.ft. I figure it being so small, the rocket stove and heat mass can be small. I want safety and building codes to be easy to navigate with this, if that's a thing. I'm pretty determined to use a rocket stove. Thankfully the town building inspector and office is pretty friendly to this sort of thing, they've approved strawbale and earth berm houses before and the town promotes renewable energy and agriculture.
Earth berm would be cool, always wanted a hobbit home but seems hard to build. Wood seems to make sense (I'm a forestry person so I can wrap my head around working with trees). Pallets, straw...all kinds of options.
Site Description: Where I'll build is a long field with plenty of space that also has a small scrappy woodlot, not a lot of great building material in there though. Plenty of pallets nearby and lumber yards. Horses and livestock nearby and plenty of hay. Soil is mostly silt loam with some clay, with a fairly high water table, slight slope <1% in many places <3% at most, so I don't know if a bermed house would make sense anyway. Zone 5a and quite windy! 1200mm precip a year.
My carpentry experience is limited, built an earth bag shed before which seemed very doable. I'm interested in learning more about infrastructure, modular systems design, and living off the land. A small structure I could live at for parts of the year or maybe even year ground feels like a good place to start since I have a place for it! If I did live on site year round I probably would upgrade to a better structure within a few years, so again this is more about an easy, accessible first step to rocket stoves.
Would there be a legal or procedural impediment to making the pole barn large enough to devote a corner or end of it to living space? If it is temporary living space I wouldn't worry too much about esthetics.
A thing to consider is zoning restrictions. Around here, even "rural residential" does not allow more than one single-family dwelling per tax parcel. If you have a similar restriction, you might have trouble building a separate new house while living in a small dwelling nearby. In that case you might be better off building a livable small shed/house on the final location, and "adding on" later, eventually replacing the temporary with permanent construction.
Glenn, zoning could definitely be an issue as it's intended to be single dwelling with option of 1 associated dwelling. Agricultural outbuildings are okay though, as also in zoning is support for agriculture. I think I could make the case for tiny modular housing over time, but I'd want to start out without rocking the boat much. That said, building a pole barn with an enclosed room shouldn't be a problem, even with a closed room nice enough (e.g. with a funny lookin wood stove?) that I'd be happy to camp out in it
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A rocket mass heater is the most sustainable way to heat a conventional home