Here are some pictures of my latest project a Passive Solar Room Addition that will convert our home into a passive solar design.
This all started as an attached Greenhouse project and has morphed into my new office. I love the feeling inside the new addition as I require a lot of sunny vitamin D. I'm a outdoorsy type and hate being cooped up in an office all day during stove season. Havig an office over looking the river and valley, with 5' windows making it feel as though your outside should help with my Cabin Fever. Winters are long and cold up here in 'The Yaak'. But I love this place, so here I'll stay.
So you analyze your environmental, you adapt to that environment, instead of overcoming it as I was taught, you live in Harmony with it as much as possible.
A dozen or so years ago we left Michigan where I was a contractor and worked in the Automotive Display Industry, (Auto Shows around the world)
I was a kid in a candy factory and worked with some of the finest craftsmen in the world and built stuff you could only imagine, only to use it a year and then warehouse it. There are warehouses all over the country filled with displays that cost a fortune to build and are only used for a season and stored and forgotten. I worked with Chevy Creative Services for a season in my life, they have a budget to build this stuff larger than most countries GNPs.
As my family grew older I saw how consumerism had grabbed us around the throat and stuck us on a treadmill to no where.
First chance I got I bailed, I left the police state that is called Michigan and headed West while I was still a young man. We raised our family and now my wife and I are empty nesters trying to adjust to the silence. That is why God created Grand Children.
My city self and city family found ourselves in a place called "The Yaak" and never looked back. It has been a journey that bought us closer together as a family. We got rid of the microwave, the TV, just about everything but our computers and lived totally off grid. No more running to the store down the street for a whatever. We learned to plan and live on less, far less. We experimented with Solar, Wind and Hydro, we planted a garden, we worked hard and played even harder.
We became part of a community that is essentially a 100 yrs behind the times. The folks here are more like extended family. We lived in a neighborhood in Michigan for 14 yrs and did not know most folks that lived a few door down.
Today we are working online from our Homestead in The Yaak, providing wood stoves, cook stoves, fireplaces and biomass boilers when the temps drop. In the summer I'm outside, working on more projects, sailing Flathead Lake, or fighting wildfires somewhere.
Our youngest is in Missoula attending University, our oldest is married and busy building their family and business.
I have posted over 250 how to videos on my various projects over the past couple of years when it became possible to actually upload videos from remote locations.
I have lots of 8mm videos of other projects I have done over the past 30 years, before digital media took over, but transferring that footage to a MP4 so it can be uploaded is more time and effort than I can invest, perhaps future technology will make that an easier task where at some point we could take a look in the archives to see what else would be helpful for folks.
On my channel you'll find all kinds of info on wood cookstoves, chimney systems, wildfire suppression equipment, poor-man's wood-fired boiler, redwood hot tub and sauna installation, keeping the snow from knocking over your chimney in the winter videos, as well as the ongoing Solar Room Addition Project.
I'll be adding more videos about sailboats, sailing on Flathead Lake, Hobie Cat sailing, firefighting, saunas, alternative energy, boilers, radiant heating, hydronic heating, solar convection generators, alternative energy from Solar, Thermoelectric, Stirling Engines, and anything else I think folks my get a kick from.
Hey I live in the Yaak, not much to do in the winter but upload all the videos I take when its warmer outside.
Hope this helps inspire someone else, enjoy!
2 years ago I planned to build a greenhouse to help extend the season in the cold mountains of Montana. After researching and listening to Paul's complaints about the high maintenance of greenhouses in this climate of constant heating and cooling, I decided to add a passive solar sunroom onto the house. Boy am I happy with it, so I add my recommendation to Woody Chain's for passive solar house additions for mountainous Zone 4.
Very Interesting! We are in a warmer zone 7-8; but were looking into similar ideas. Off our too long and narrow living room, we were considering a similar structure (it would face south west) as our office / library. Encouraging to see yours worked out so well!
Paul Fennell wrote:This is exactly what I hope to build!
Might you have photos from the outside? Curious how it looks!
I don't think the OP is active on permies these days, but you're in luck: his linked youtube channel is still active, and has a recent video showcasing the house/property, as it's for sale. Pretty nice!
'Theoretically this level of creeping Orwellian dynamics should ramp up our awareness, but what happens instead is that each alert becomes less and less effective because we're incredibly stupid.' - Jerry Holkins
10 Podcast Review of the book Just Enough by Azby Brown