After years of lurking on here and keeping my build to myself, I've decided to share what I have been working on. I only have the one picture right now but will take more if there is interest.
My house is around 1000 square feet and is built of earthbags and cob. The roof is conventionally stick framed (with green lumber I sawed up) and has a metal roof. I have a rainwater system and a 12v solar power system. I have a cookstove and a rocket mass heater. I use a sawdust toilet.
Currently I am working on a geothermal mass type heater and cooler type thing.
I am trying to get some pictures from back when I was building it (I had a flip phone back then but a few friends took pictures).
The geothermal system has a pretty conventional slinky loop heat exchanger paired with 500 ft of half inch pex that is covered in cob ( attached is a picture before it and after it was cobbed). I plan to wire the circulation pumps directly to a solar panel to save my battery system the load. I hope to get about 1 ton of cooling. I am also tying to build a small heat pimp to provide dehumidification. My house never gets above 80 even in 100 degree weather so the stakes are pretty low. I sculpted a bed and I added pex loops as well in case I have more cooling than I can use/ I need zone cooling.
I have some pictures of the build process. It took me about 4 years part time. If there was one thing I would have done differently I would have built the roof as a pole barn structure and build the walls up to it. The top plate was out of square so I had to measure and cut each rafter separately which sucked.
This is very impressive. I have always heard that it can't be built on the East Coast, but you are proof that it can be done.
I like how your summer time temp stays pretty stable during the winter and doesn't really go above 80F aka pass the daily/weekly average temp.
I suppose the same would be in the winter where your house temp would be the daily/weekly outside air temperate? Did you insulate your roof and your floor? Do you recommend that other do a PEX-pipe raidiant floor heating if they are doing a new build. And yes for humidity control on the east coast a small heat pump is required, maybe you could run it directly from a solar panel.
Keep on posting some pics.
Iterations are fine, we don't have to be perfect
My 2nd Location:Florida HardinessZone:10 AHS:10 GDD:8500 Rainfall:2in/mth winter, 8in/mth summer, Soil:Sand pH8 Flat
Well there are 400 year old cob houses in rainy England that are still lived in to this day.
I think as long as you have a good roof and foundation you should be ok.
My floor is just a gravel slab but here in the south I'm not sure you need insulation. My ceiling is insulated with cellulose insulation from lowes. I thought about putting radiant floors but they need insulation under them but I live in the south so the floor never gets too cold tho I plan on just getting a few rugs.
When I was visiting in winter time my house never got below 50 without any kind of heat even when it was 10 degrees at night.
Also I am trying to devise a mechanism by which my solar panel array can only run the heat pump when the batteries are fully charged so as not to put a load on the batteries. Those darn things are expensive and heavy and I don't want to replace them more than I have to
I'm not really sure how much overhang is proper. I built the porch for rain protection but also to keep sun from hitting my walls and warming them up. It might be wise to do some research about cob building roofs in the uk and ireland- they have a wet climate and cob buildings that are still being used after 400 years! In fact the cob house sir walter raleigh was born in is still occupied to this day!
Nice work, I’m interested to hear more about the cooled bed. How much mass? Do you like it/use it often? If you sleep in that bed for a while then switch to a different bed, do you notice much of a difference?
I'm not sure.... darn thing still isn't dry. It's maybe 2 tons of dirt. I put as much pipe in as I could fit without kicking the pex. I built it mostly to add more thermal mass inside the building envelope