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possible kickstarter for wofati greenhouse project

 
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First off: I love it; I get it; I'm in for Glory™.

Now I'm gonna poke at the kickstarter itself a bit (hopefully constructively).
---
Lead up: How does one month of lead-time compare to your other kickstarters? In my ignorance I'm concerned whether one month is enough time for pre-marketing for it to be as smashing a success as I hope it to be. I see it as a question of, "how many hurdles can you clear?" My understanding is there are currently a couple of extra hurdles for kickstarters in general.
---
Candy: BWB KS shows you have a really good handle on this, in my opinion. And a great deal of generosity. Not sure I can add anything, except to offer My PEP Badge Tracker as a potential freebie on the pile of freebies.
---
Title: The Always-Warm Greenhouse in Montana Experiment (Movie) [56 char]
---
Script: General Ideas
- Borrowing from the BWB video, I'd consider skipping over the details of the design and experiments. I think it's sufficient to say something like "I have devious plots to improve this."
  - Maybe you think the details are necessary to move people from "that's bullshit" to "well duh."  If so, then perhaps the script says that outright. "I know what you're thinking... An always-warm greenhouse in Montana?" to lead into the nitty-gritty.
- 'It's an experiment!': I think the script should say this, loud and up front. It's an exciting thing to me to fund {an experiment.} Come to think of it, it's several simultaneous experiments.
- 'But you get the video regardless of whether the experiment succeeds or "fails"!' {I think should be said, too.}
---
Script: My try. [concurrent video cues in brackets]

Hi! I'm Paul Wheaton; and this is my 9th Kickstarter. [collage of kickstarters, ending with BWB atop the pile.]

One big challenge to building a better world in your backyard is answering the question, "How do I deal with my Greywater, responsibly and safely?" [turn to BWB page 94-96, then quickly cut to pics of greywater garden in sunny place]

"In the winter? In Montana? Or any other cold climate?" [show pic(s) of snow-swept, frozen landscape.]

The answer; is a greenhouse. But not just any greenhouse. [collage of Oehler greenhouse with markups, other schematics]

An experimental greenhouse, incorporating devious designs nobody has tried yet, to ensure the greenhouse is always warm, even in the harshest Montana Winter. [quick cut back to snowy landscape]

(insert "I know what you're thinking...An always-warm greenhouse in Montana?" and design details here, if necessary)

As with any good experiment, we're going to log and record and document the heck out of this. Including making a movie of the entire process. [collage of logging thermometers, graph paper, sciencey things]

That's where you come in. [faceless cutout, labeled "YOU", with thought bubble, "Me?"]

Your help will fund not only building this experimental always-warm greywater greenhouse; but the thorough documentation of the design, building, data logging, stumbles, and successes. ["me?" person successively surrounded in images of the documentation example list]

Regardless of whether my devious designs create the greenhouse of my dreams, you'll get a movie showing the whole process from start to finish. [atop collage of documentation images, video snippet of Paul in labcoat]

While the greenhouse is an experiment, the movie documenting the greenhouse is not. [orderly laying out of all DVD's]

I've successfully funded and delivered N movies, and several of those amidst huge hurdles and comedy.

This time, we have our seasoned Wheaton Labs video crew ready to go. [cutouts of Josiah and Jen and video equipment]

And a bootcamp full of people, hungry to build this experimental greenhouse. [cutouts Paul & Fred and boots et al (i.e. everyone) join Josiah and Jen, a veritable crowd of people]

After sharing this idea in my Better World Book and on my podcast, it seems that a LOT of people want me to shift my priorities and do this project NOW! [new crowd, chanting now! now! now!]

So much so that they are waving fistfuls of cash in my general direction. [fistfuls of cash]

This is the big kickstarter question. Is there enough interest in solving this problem of responsible greywater processing during the Montana winter to fund a movie documenting the experiments and solutions? [fade to black]



Please borrow, steal, or ignore as needed.
{edits in squiggles}
 
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Daron,

Those trackers look pretty good! They operate on bluetooth, which is great (we don't have wifi at the lab). But if I'm reading it correctly, it looks like you don't need the wifi gateway to use the app, but you do need it to use all the cool remote data monitoring/sharing stuff.
 
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paul wheaton wrote:

Ian Sa wrote:in the email I recd it asked about ideas for a greenhouse in Montana.

If this the correct thread AND IF you are looking for ideas I recommend watching
the youtube  - search
Growing Oranges in the Snow in Nebraska.

Truly inspiring



7 amps is a lot of power.


Not what you guys would probably want to do on the Abbey site, but if you had a nicely sloped lot I suppose you could use thermal gradients to drive something like the Citrus in the snow system passively.  Your 20' pipes will function similarly.  If your water table was much higher than 20' on a site I suppose you could do the same but at an angle.
 
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Phil Swindler wrote:Are you ready for questions and comments about the project yet?
I'm wondering about that 20 ft well casing.
Are you trying to hit ground water or stay above ground water?
Some places here in Kansas the ground water is way deeper than 20 ft.
In my neighborhood the ground water is only a couple feet below my basement.
Do you know how deep your ground water is?
Do you care?



We have dug about 50 deep holes and this property and have yet to find anything predictable.   There is one spot with a hole about 35 feet deep where a very low quality well was put in.   It has been used to get a few gallons per day.  In other places, we went down 40 feet and found nothing.   For the spot where this is going in, I feel confident that we will go down 20 feet and there will be nothing interesting.

This is alluvial soil in the middle of the rocky mountains, with mountains very near by.  I think we will find nothing wet at the bottom of the hole, but it is possible.


 
paul wheaton
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Pearl Sutton wrote:Maybe having a copy of the building plans as candy would attract some people?



I think that depends entirely on who is making the plans.  

In the past, plans were created by jesse biggs and davin hoyt.  Both of whom have gotten pretty busy in more recent years.   A few weeks ago Kyle Bob came by - he had been making plans for the berm shed and was a student at the PDC last year.   A huge part of this project leans on the work of Jennifer and Josiah and they are buds with Kyle, so when the need arose, they instantly arranged stuff with Kyle.  And in about 24 hours Kyle had some very impressive plans created.   I gave feedback and now more plans are being created.

I put the plans in at the $25 level - but that cannot be a for sure thing until Kyle says what he is cool with.  



 
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Doug Barth wrote:Paul, this project is a home run.



I hope you're right!  We could use a big home run right now!

 
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Nicole Alderman wrote:I'm trying to envision what this would look like. Would it look a lot like the Oehler greenhouse? (It's hard to find good pictures of one of those! Anyone have any links to nice Oehler greenhouse designs?)

I whipped up this graphic, but I'm not even sure it's even close to what we're thinking of...




Drawings are coming soon!

 
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Ryan Haffele wrote:Paul, I think this is an excellent idea! Especially since I have money to put towards the Kickstarter!

BTW, I thought the rewards and stretch goals for your previous Kickstarter were great!



I am hoping that we do even better this time!
 
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Kerry Rodgers wrote:
Example of "I didn't know (or possibly just didn't remember) about that":
* Discussing anti-stratification tube with Mike O.
* The two well casings idea.

Example of "other type people may think it long".  I was thinking about the point of view of people who are not already familiar with the following (two minutes of jargon-I-dont-know can seem a long time):
* who is was Mike Oehler?  
* what is a berm?
* do greenhouses have a "walkway"?
* what is stratification?
* what is a well casing?



Maybe these are things we should add to the kickstarter FAQ?


 
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Kerry Rodgers wrote:

The $100 level is really awesome--a big jump from $50.  I notice that you got a decent number of supporters at the $150 and $200 levels in the last 2 kickstarters (I didn't look further back than that).  What about dividing the $100 rewards between a $100 level and a (slightly) higher level?  Possible division strategies might be 1 meeting vs 3 meetings, or not-getting-weekly vs getting weekly updates.



So, make the $100 level have, say, 5 opportunities for interaction and a $200 level with 10 opportunites, plus maybe a live stream they can watch with a public chat thing where people on site that happen to see it can interact?
 
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Mike Haasl wrote:Would it be possible to mount a camera or three somewhere near the action that could just watch and listen to the build in action?  If there was a camera looking over the team's shoulder and hearing them joke/sing/scheme among themselves and see the stuff getting nailed together it would be damn awesome.  And some folks may pay to have access to that feed.  Especially if they could watch it later and speed it up or skip the boring parts.  The camera may need to be moved several times as the project proceeds.

Maybe this is what it intended in the RAW bundle?  I'm trying to give people an option where they can be right there in the action and hear the conversations as they happen.  

Oh, maybe for an extra $500 they could have someone's cell number so they can text "Hey, you may want to flip that log over because there's an ugly spot on that side".  Then they're really feel like they're in on the build.



I think this is an excellent idea, but I am a little worried about implementation.  If people are familiar with AT&T data plans, they might be able to tell us how plausible this might be.

 
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Justin Gerardot wrote:I would support at a higher level for a sketchup file or detailed plans. I will be glad to encourage innovation with some of that stimulus money. I can't think of any better use of it



At the moment, I am suggesting the $25 level would include the plans.  But there is a lot that has to happen before that can be THE plan.
 
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Ash Jackson wrote:
Lead up: How does one month of lead-time compare to your other kickstarters? In my ignorance I'm concerned whether one month is enough time for pre-marketing for it to be as smashing a success as I hope it to be. I see it as a question of, "how many hurdles can you clear?" My understanding is there are currently a couple of extra hurdles for kickstarters in general.



I share your concern.  We only had about a week of lead time with the 2017 kickstarter, and that turned out pretty good.



Candy: BWB KS shows you have a really good handle on this, in my opinion. And a great deal of generosity. Not sure I can add anything, except to offer My PEP Badge Tracker as a potential freebie on the pile of freebies.



Excellent!   Our first earlybird freebie!


Title: The Always-Warm Greenhouse in Montana Experiment (Movie) [56 char]



Easily achieved with an electric heater.   Which is why I like "truly passive".  Maybe "truly passive" can be replaced with "zero energy"?




Script: General Ideas
- Borrowing from the BWB video, I'd consider skipping over the details of the design and experiments. I think it's sufficient to say something like "I have devious plots to improve this."



Maybe we put some emphasis on "the problem":  most greenhouses consume huge amounts of energy to be kept warm through the winter.  And when the sun shines, they can get too hot and kill all the plants.  Some passive solutions will get a greenhouse through part of the winter, and others will get a greenhouse through the whole winter with less energy.     We have six ideas that we are going to try to make a greenhouse in Montana that requires zero energy and zero human effort.  

??



Please borrow, steal, or ignore as needed.
{edits in squiggles}



Gonna meet with jennifer about this tomorrow!
 
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Greg Martin wrote:
Not what you guys would probably want to do on the Abbey site, but if you had a nicely sloped lot I suppose you could use thermal gradients to drive something like the Citrus in the snow system passively.  Your 20' pipes will function similarly.  If your water table was much higher than 20' on a site I suppose you could do the same but at an angle.



Like the lemon tree site?

 
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Would it derail this thread to continue to talk about the engineering of the greenhouse?  Or is this where such discussion should happen?  I have more thoughts but I want to put them in the right place
 
Greg Martin
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paul wheaton wrote:

Title: The Always-Warm Greenhouse in Montana Experiment (Movie) [56 char]



Easily achieved with an electric heater.   Which is why I like "truly passive".  Maybe "truly passive" can be replaced with "zero energy"?


I was thinking the same thing (zero energy), but it relies on geothermal and solar.  Is "Geothermal solar greenhouse" with some more words (break the bank-less?) too much?
 
Jennifer Richardson
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everyone loves Jen!



I think this is true, and also a very good point made by an extremely astute person.

Nicole, you were asking what the wofati greenhouse might look like. It is a bit different from an Oehler structure due to the demands of the wofati element. Here are some preliminary scale drawings that Josiah and I came up with. Kyle Bob is working on more professional models, and there will probably be several iterations, but this may give you an idea of what it could look like.
IMG-3217.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG-3217.jpg]
IMG-3218.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG-3218.jpg]
IMG-3222.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG-3222.jpg]
 
Mike Haasl
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Would the greywater plants be along the window or the back planting bed?  In midsummer there wouldn't be any direct light to the north bed.
 
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paul wheaton wrote:

Greg Martin wrote:
Not what you guys would probably want to do on the Abbey site, but if you had a nicely sloped lot I suppose you could use thermal gradients to drive something like the Citrus in the snow system passively.  Your 20' pipes will function similarly.  If your water table was much higher than 20' on a site I suppose you could do the same but at an angle.



Like the lemon tree site?


Is there any slope at the lemon tree site?  I was thinking not of using wells, but rather was thinking of using the slope to allow something like 100' long tubes (as many as needed) to be open downslope of the greenhouse (and protected from being buried in snow), then travel underground (maybe 8' down) at a climbing angle up to the greenhouse where it would enter near the planting bed height.  Down in the cold air sink in the greenhouse there would be another tube that would allow the cold air to exit so as to make up for the volume of earth warmed air that travels up the 100' tubes.  Should provide for a passive supply of 50 degree-ish air whenever the greenhouse tries to drop below 50.  Just an idea if the site has 100' of slope and too high a water table for going straight down.

I was behind on my podcasts and am listening right now to what you're thinking about on the lemon tree site in podcast 474....cool!  Can't wait to see how that works out Paul.  So much opportunity for learning!
 
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I am new to the Permies forum and I think this is a great idea for a kickstarter! I will gladly back a kickstarter that supports education and conservation on the ground rather than focusing on a product in hand.
 
Jennifer Richardson
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Mike, the greywater plants would be in the north (back) bed, not directly under the window. The smaller planter bed under the glass would probably have greens in it or other edibles. We will not be eating the plants grown in the greywater basins.
 
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Experimentation Idea

At different times of the year you might want the air coming up the black pipe to go different places.
How about removable extensions so you can control where that "Piped" air goes.
I can see making a few different extensions to experiment.
There may be times you want to take that air clear out of the greenhouse.
 
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paul wheaton wrote:I put the plans in at the $25 level - but that cannot be a for sure thing until Kyle says what he is cool with.  



I'll volunteer to be on the drawing team.

I'm guessing I'm 4th-string behind Jesse, Davin, and Kyle.
 
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One thing we need to get nailed down in the "primary image" for kickstarter. This image needs to look great full-size and as a thumbnail, which can be a bit tricky. And they usually have wordy bits on them. Any ideas or mock-ups appreciated! This is the primary image from the Better World book kickstarter, to give you an idea:
bwbimage.png
better world book kickstarter primary image
better world book kickstarter primary image
 
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Paul Wheaton wrote:Maybe we put some emphasis on "the problem":



Yes! I agree. The BWB video frames the problem quite well, with the natural segue into your solution.

I see the script outline like this:
- The Seasoned Intro [Hi! I'm PW, Kickstarter 9]
- The Problem [Greenhouse energy use/Greywater in Montana Winter]
- The Solution [Experimental greenhouse, as non-detailed as it can afford to be]
- The Product [Movie, regardless of the 'success' of the wofati greenhouse, more detailed]
- The Assurance [Not our first rodeo]
- The Ask [Give us monies? ]
 
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Talking about the design:   Let's hold off two more days to get some drawings that show what is being planned.  

 
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paul wheaton wrote:Talking about the design:   Let's hold off two more days to get some drawings that show what is being planned.  



OK.
But I may wet myself with excitement.
 
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paul wheaton wrote:

Ian Sa wrote:in the email I recd it asked about ideas for a greenhouse in Montana.

If this the correct thread AND IF you are looking for ideas I recommend watching
the youtube  - search
Growing Oranges in the Snow in Nebraska.

Truly inspiring



7 amps is a lot of power.



It's sad to only watch 30 sec

1. "the blower only comes on when the temperature falls <55 degrees
2. at min 7:28  "The greenhouse only uses 80 cents of power a day year round. " then "And that is is old design the new one is way more efficient."
3. Only 1 tree (which uses 8 ft circle and they grow stuff below it) gives $430 of produce.

$292 /yr and now way more efficient

https://faircompanies.com/videos/nebraska-retiree-uses-earthss-heat-to-grow-oranges-in-snow/
 
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@Ian Sa, at risk of diverging into a different thread, I've been following the greenhouse in the snow, Mike Oehler's greenhouse, and quite a few other greenhouses for years. I agree that Russ Finch's work is very interesting, and I think it's likely that you and Paul might have a perspective gap on it. I have two related thoughts...

First... Perhaps you're familiar with Paul's Wheaton Eco Scale, and/or perhaps you've read the Building a Better World Book? If so, you're more likely to understand Paul's perspective on this, whether you agree with it or not. Paul does a lot of things that look extreme to others and not to me. He also does some things that look extreme to me. I don't have to do everything Paul's way, but I definitely appreciate his trailblazing in so many areas, because it's speeding my path. Concretely, I don't require the home I'm working toward to be as "freaky cheap" as Paul's Allerton Abbey & Cooper Cabin were (<$1000), but I'm borrowing many things from them, including rocket mass heaters - where Paul's endeavors were a principal enabler for me.

Second... I'm not certain Paul stopped watching at 30 seconds as you inferred, but I am certain he understands the design concept behind Finch's greenhouse, because that's the same thing that Paul's black pipe extending 20 feet down into a cold well is intended to passively accomplish - allowing circulation of hot air to store heat in the earth mass beneath the greenhouse. Finch's approach has more subsurface area, and probably more airflow due to the thermostatically controlled fans, but both approaches target the same end.

I'm very intrigued to see how well that mechanism accomplishes the goal, because there is a greenhouse in my future!

 
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Greg Martin wrote:

paul wheaton wrote:

Title: The Always-Warm Greenhouse in Montana Experiment (Movie) [56 char]



Easily achieved with an electric heater.   Which is why I like "truly passive".  Maybe "truly passive" can be replaced with "zero energy"?


I was thinking the same thing (zero energy), but it relies on geothermal and solar.  Is "Geothermal solar greenhouse" with some more words (break the bank-less?) too much?



It seems there are several designs around that say "passive".  They are using the Don Stephens technique of "annualized geo solar" where they push the heat of the summer into the ground to it can be used in the winter.   The key word being "push".   That push (or any pull, that some of them use) makes it no longer passive.  And we are shooting for something that is purely passive.   Zero power.  Not even solar power.

So maybe the "blurb" needs to say something about "no powered air movement"?

The title is still gonna be a pinch.
 
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Here is the new, more polished version of our promo video script. We are feeling like this is probably our final version, and we are ready to record.


I’m Paul Wheaton and this is my ninth kickstarter.  I’m bonkers about experiments -- experiments with rocket mass heaters, experiments with replacing irrigation with permaculture, experiments with round wood timber framing, and experiments with annualized thermal inertia.

I shared an idea with my podcast listeners and it seems that a LOT of people want me to shift my priorities and do this experiment NOW!  So much so that they are waving fistfuls of cash in my general direction. [. . . Wait--are those singles?]

The idea starts with how greywater systems will not work in our Montana winters.  But a small greenhouse could fix that! The problem is that most greenhouses need to be heated in winter, and they need a lot of care.  It would be better to have a fully passive greenhouse that uses no energy AT ALL, not even a fan, and doesn’t have any moving parts that might break or need maintenance.

Mike Oehler’s ingenious design is close - he was able to get his tomatoes to grow in December in north idaho with zero energy.  I talked to mike, shortly before he died, about some improvements.   And since then I’ve come up with a couple more.  Rolling all of these designs together, I think we can build a truly passive year round greenhouse in Montana.

Will it work? This leads to the big Kickstarter question: do you want us to try?

 
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Mike Haasl wrote:Would the greywater plants be along the window or the back planting bed?  In midsummer there wouldn't be any direct light to the north bed.



back wall.
 
paul wheaton
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While trying to polish the script today, we kept slipping into design variations and finally decided to stop doing that.  There are some design ideas that conflict with others and after a while ... well ...  we just decided that we are trying so many things at once maybe we are getting to the point of thrashing with premature optimization.  
 
paul wheaton
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Ash Jackson wrote:

paul wheaton wrote:I put the plans in at the $25 level - but that cannot be a for sure thing until Kyle says what he is cool with.  



I'll volunteer to be on the drawing team.

I'm guessing I'm 4th-string behind Jesse, Davin, and Kyle.



Excellent!

 
paul wheaton
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Jennifer Richardson wrote:Here is the new, more polished version of our promo video script. We are feeling like this is probably our final version, and we are ready to record.


I’m Paul Wheaton and this is my ninth kickstarter.  I’m bonkers about experiments -- experiments with rocket mass heaters, experiments with replacing irrigation with permaculture, experiments with round wood timber framing, and experiments with annualized thermal inertia.

I shared an idea with my podcast listeners and it seems that a LOT of people want me to shift my priorities and do this experiment NOW!  So much so that they are waving fistfuls of cash in my general direction. [. . . Wait--are those singles?]

The idea starts with how greywater systems will not work in our Montana winters.  But a small greenhouse could fix that! The problem is that most greenhouses need to be heated in winter, and they need a lot of care.  It would be better to have a fully passive greenhouse that uses no energy AT ALL, not even a fan, and doesn’t have any moving parts that might break or need maintenance.

Mike Oehler’s ingenious design is close - he was able to get his tomatoes to grow in December in north idaho with zero energy.  I talked to mike, shortly before he died, about some improvements.   And since then I’ve come up with a couple more.  Rolling all of these designs together, I think we can build a truly passive year round greenhouse in Montana.

Will it work? This leads to the big Kickstarter question: do you want us to try?



The script is the next piece that is super important.   The bottleneck.  We probably need to get this recorded tomorrow.
 
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We are trying to come up with ideas for earlybird freebies. If you have something to offer for a freebie, or any ideas about things that would be cool/people we could contact who might be willing to offer their content, we would be really excited to hear about them now!
 
Jennifer Richardson
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We updated the script a little bit to include more about the deliverables at the end:

I’m Paul Wheaton and this is my ninth kickstarter.  I’m bonkers about experiments -- experiments with rocket mass heaters, experiments with replacing irrigation with permaculture, experiments with round wood timber framing, and experiments with annualized thermal inertia.

I shared an idea with my podcast listeners and it seems that a LOT of people want me to shift my priorities and do this experiment NOW!  So much so that they are waving fistfuls of cash in my general direction. [. . . Wait--are those singles?]

The idea starts with how greywater systems will not work in our Montana winters.  But a small greenhouse could fix that! The problem is that most greenhouses need to be heated in winter, and they need a lot of care.  It would be better to have a fully passive greenhouse that uses no energy AT ALL, not even a fan, and doesn’t have any moving parts that might break or need maintenance.

Mike Oehler’s ingenious design is close - he was able to get his tomatoes to grow in December in north idaho with zero energy.  I talked to mike, shortly before he died, about some improvements.   And since then I’ve come up with a couple more.  Rolling all of these designs together, I think we can build a truly passive year round greenhouse in Montana.

The devious plot at this time is to video the whole process (the design, the build, the greywater system, and a winter of testing) so kickstarter supporters get a movie out of it.  So waddya say:  do you want us to try?

Staff note (paul wheaton) :

this was due to ash's suggestions. Thanks Ash!

 
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Josiah made a good catch--somehow we managed to only show half the cold sink in our scale drawings, instead of the full 5 feet. Here's a modified version:
deeperwell.jpg
[Thumbnail for deeperwell.jpg]
 
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paul wheaton wrote:
I think this is an excellent idea, but I am a little worried about implementation.  If people are familiar with AT&T data plans, they might be able to tell us how plausible this might be.



With an unlimited high speed data plan the speeds are around 10mbps down/ 1mbps up @ the Abbey.
That plan runs about $55 per month. I am not 100% that those speeds would be available 24/7 with live streaming. I suppose data might get eaten up if resolution was high (1080p?) Although the high speed data is supposed to be unlimited there is some small print about using up that unlimited amount and the speed dipping until the next billimg cycle.
 
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(this was due to ash's suggestions. Thanks Ash!)

Yay! That's humbling and awesome. Thank you! You're welcome!
 
if you think brussel sprouts are yummy, you should try any other food. And this tiny ad:
Rocket Mass Heater Manual - now free for a while
https://permies.com/goodies/8/rmhman
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