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locally producable insulation that does not rot

 
Posts: 551
Location: Abkhazia · Cfa (humid subtropical) - temperate · clay soil
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Here none of the buildings are insulated… however insulation is somewhat necessary even in this warmer climate.

Transport from the city is possible, but needs rugged trucks. But that just shifts the problem, as things need to be imported from Russia or Turkey.
So I would much prefer insulation made of local materials: Wood, clay, limestone (and sand?).

I can think of charcoal (see biochar insulation) and expanded clay.

Organic materials are out of the question as they will not last in this mold heaven.

What did I miss?
 
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I would check out what has been used historically. You may find that clay straw or some other organic material with a clay coating does well in your climate. Clay not only helps make materials fire-proof, it can also cause them to dry out and stay dry.
......
I see that you've listed Abkhazia as subtropical. It's on almost the same latitude as my hometown in Southern Ontario Canada. We are in a warm spot for Canada, with lots of tender fruits and grapes being grown, but a long way from tropical. I understand that the Black and Caspian Seas put Georgia in a sweet spot, but wonder if the claim of subtropical is a marketing strategy, for tourism. There also seems to be lots of glaciers and cold mountain areas.
 
Sebastian Köln
Posts: 551
Location: Abkhazia · Cfa (humid subtropical) - temperate · clay soil
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Dale, According to the Köppen classification it is Cfa.



Historically… there isn't really any insulation. 10cm thick walls of wood, clay and lime.
It is definitely possible to get along without insulation, that just requires either being cold resistant or having a huge pile of firewood.
However with the amount of sun there is all year around, I don't see any reason to use wood for heating. The building only needs to collect and store the energy for about a week. (There are usually only 2-3 days of rain.)
 
gardener
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Location: South of Capricorn
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I live in one of these regions. Mold heaven indeed. We also don't typically have insulation, in fact many people live in buildings with simple wooden walls (one layer). it is misery in the winter, even though we may not be getting snow.
I'm following with interest. We are just now getting the high-tech plasticky roll stuff but I'm curious to learn if there is any alternative (we tend to have a layer between the tiled roof and internal ceilings, which acts as a buffer, but no actual traditional insulation materials to speak of).
We have a lot less sun than you-- can go a full month raining, especially in the fall.
 
pollinator
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Location: San Diego, California
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I haven't used it, and do not necessarily endorse it, but this article list Aircrete as having an r-value of 3.9/in.

Treehugger - Aircrete as Insulation
 
Posts: 28
Location: Atlanta GA
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I found this book to be useful, though it's written for the American situation; https://www.buildingscience.com/bookstore/books/builders-guide-mixed-humid-climates
This article gives a good general idea of the key principles https://www.buildingscience.com/documents/insights/bsi-001-the-perfect-wall
Of course you'd have to find what comparible materials are available in your location, but the key elements are there.
perfectwallBSI-001_Figure_09_web.jpg
[Thumbnail for perfectwallBSI-001_Figure_09_web.jpg]
diagram of ideal wall assembly [residential]
 
pollinator
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England has never been known for it's dry weather. Some of the buildings there have been in use for centuries. It might be good to see what materials they used.

Just off the top of my head, I'm thinking a wool-cob mixture might work.
 
Sebastian Köln
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Location: Abkhazia · Cfa (humid subtropical) - temperate · clay soil
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Wool would probably work. But I think charcoal wins in terms of production cost.
I wonder if clay could somehow be turned into a foam… much like expanded clay but without the need for rotary furnaces.
 
gardener
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Sebastian,  Cellulose insulation is apparently mold resistant with the addition of boric acid.   webpage
 
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Are your local buildings typically well sealed or do they have a lot of air leaks?

Moving air carries a lot more moisture and heat/cooling than what permeates the material itself.
 
Sebastian Köln
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Location: Abkhazia · Cfa (humid subtropical) - temperate · clay soil
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Jordan Mathis wrote:Are your local buildings typically well sealed or do they have a lot of air leaks?

Moving air carries a lot more moisture and heat/cooling than what permeates the material itself.



I think it depends… I would generally assume (and ensure) they are sealed when insulating.
However we have earthquakes and it may take people some time to repair cracks. So the insulation should not rot during that time.
 
pollinator
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Location: Basque Country, Spain-43N lat-Köppen Cfb-Zone8b-1035mm/41" rain: 118mm/5" Dec., 48mm/2" July
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If sheep farming for other purposes than wool production is common in your area, I would seriously look into the wool option.

Here our sheep are for milk, and our sheep's wool, which used to be used for clothing despite being a bit scratchy, is now considered a waste product. (A couple of sustainability projects are working on that at the moment.) In any case, you can go to any farm you're friendly with and get loads of it, they are starting to have to pay people to take it away.

Our local wool, and I suppose wool in general, is indestructible. You can try to burn it, compost it, bury it, leave it outside in a pile for 10 years -- all to no effect. It will remain exactly as it was the first day. So that's a good insulation material in my book.

I'm not sure about the process of going from shorn sheep's wool to ready-to-go insulation material, but here is a guy singing the praises, anyway:

 
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Location: Colrain, MA, USA
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Dustin Rhodes wrote:I haven't used it, and do not necessarily endorse it, but this article list Aircrete as having an r-value of 3.9/in.

Aircrete (with a 'c') differs from AirKrete (with a 'K'). but not by much. Both are cement mixed with foam, instead of water, making an air-filled cement that insulates. AirKrete uses a magnesium phosphate-based cement - others may be using portland cement (calcium silicate-based). As far as I know.

Brian
-

Treehugger - Aircrete as Insulation

 
Ellendra Nauriel
pollinator
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Dave de Basque wrote:

I'm not sure about the process of going from shorn sheep's wool to ready-to-go insulation material,




Felting is probably the simplest. I've seen felt insulation used in all kinds of applications, including construction.
 
Steven Lindsay
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Sebastian Köln wrote:Dale, According to the Köppen classification it is Cfa.

Historically… there isn't really any insulation. 10cm thick walls of wood, clay and lime.
It is definitely possible to get along without insulation, that just requires either being cold resistant or having a huge pile of firewood.
However with the amount of sun there is all year around, I don't see any reason to use wood for heating. The building only needs to collect and store the energy for about a week. (There are usually only 2-3 days of rain.)


With that in mind, how about heating using the sun? This method also provides fresh air ventilation, thereby mitigating the mold problem... http://www.iedu.com/Solar/Panels/index.html
 
Sebastian Köln
Posts: 551
Location: Abkhazia · Cfa (humid subtropical) - temperate · clay soil
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Steven Lindsay wrote:With that in mind, how about heating using the sun? This method also provides fresh air ventilation, thereby mitigating the mold problem... http://www.iedu.com/Solar/Panels/index.html


Definitely! I had my phone against the south facing (single pane) window with a plastic ruler wedged behind it to keep it from falling down… it was almost too hot to touch (poor battery).

That website is useful!
 
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