First question should I post all my different design elements in their specific threads like RMH and composting toilet? I am kind of hoping to get feed back on how everything will work as a unit.
Glenn Herbert wrote:Since passive solar involves the entire house envelope and configuration, this is probably a good central place to collect your plans. Individual components like the RMH should be in their respective forums, with links to and from here. It could get really confusing to have discussions of several different elements interspersed with each other.
I am not familiar with the specific Maine climate, but I suspect it doesn't get much more sun than here in south central NY, and you will really need a solid heater at the center of your house, supplemented by the solar heat in sunny spells and spring and fall.
Thermal mass can be tricky. The thing about it, from what I understand, is that it is a long term storage of heat. The heat goes in and absorbs slowly into the depth of the object. It will radiate this heat back out, but it will also radiate it, or conduct it, behind and underneath it. This area behind it or under it is also thermal mass, and that can amount to a positive effect, but if the mass is extending outside, for instance, as a stone wall that has no insulation behind it, and is then open to the air, or a stone wall that is buried straight into damp earth, like in most root cellers, then a lot of the thermal potential is being leaked outwards away from your interior structure, and is not returned. In the case of the rootceller, the idea is not to have the heat build and radiate, but that the depth of earth keeps the temperature moderate. An uninsulated stone wall serves, like adobe, or other such structures, to moderate in different ways then what most modern temperate ideas of what thermal mass is for. In that case it takes in some so that the room doesn't get too hot, and releases some when the room is cold at night, but it doesn't retain all the heat, and it doesn't give all of it's heat into the building. It radiates in both directions.
Do you happen to know if you can have too much thermal mass? I have been reading about passive solar and have learned that too little is very bad but I don't know if there is a point where you should avoid overdoing it.