Thank you for the information! The original instructions Fred found for the cob floor called for a thick layer of styrofoam on top of the gravel, for which we substituted a thin layer of billboard plastic in the first two cells. We don't want insulation from the ground, due to the whole thermal inertia thing, so the styrofoam was out for that reason, and because none of us could stand the thought of it. We used the thin plastic mostly to keep the gravel from squishing out of place as we applied the cob, and as a moisture barrier. But due to the design of the wofati, we are hoping that moisture will not be a significant issue, and we would like to avoid plastic if possible, so we figured it was worth a shot to experiment with a plastic-free cell.
You guys are in the uncommon position of being able to experiment with things that most people simply cannot conceive of rolling the dice on (because of expense and time and such). Hope there's a "house journal" for the buildings and projects where people record their reasoning, actual implementation and then, results. Machine readable would mean it could be searched later...
It’s one of the things I really appreciate about Wheaton Labs—Paul is serious about experimentation. I know all of us here would really love to drive innovation forward in this space. But often that process involves working from information that is vague, incomplete, untested, and/or opaque in the reasoning behind it. Plus, we are all learning skills as we go, which is of huge benefit, but often makes things slower and shakier. Luckily we are using a lot of material from the land, so that helps with expenses, but the tools, labor, and time (and the money required to feed and house the laborers!) are significant. It would actually be cheaper and faster to hire professionals than to run the boot camp, so I really appreciate Paul and Jocelyn and the resources they are putting into building this community and its infrastructure! And we all very much appreciate the support of the folks here at Permies. Paul really wants us all to share more media and information, but as far as I know, there isn’t currently a central information repository or building journal. I think most stuff is in Fred’s head at this point. One thing I am hoping to do with this thread is to make some of our thought and building processes a little more transparent, but things so often get lost in the whirl. I hope everyone will continue to ask any questions that seem like things that ought to be recorded and/or are currently unclear!
Saturday is catch-up day as usual for me. Did a bit of laundry and spent the day plowing through dreaded paperwork and correspondence. I’m having a nice cup of jasmine green tea in Jocelyn’s lovely kitchen before tackling the rest.
I am still trying to decide on a multi-sensor thermometer/weather station for the thermal inertia test. We only care about temperature, but it looks like most of the ones that have the capabilities we're looking for (four sensors, indoor and outdoor temp, saves historical data, transmits wirelessly, ability to visualize and share data) are weather stations that also track many other variables.
I have found two that I think might possibly work:
Can handle five sensors. Does not require WiFi. Uses a micro SD card to transfer data. But console requires an AC power adapter, doesn't run off batteries. Has Windows software available (assume sold separately), but not yet clear on what it will do or if there are nice graphing capabilities, etc. Outdoor temperature range sufficient when using lithium batteries. No need for manual reset, so don't have to go outside and take batteries out if it gets glitchy.
$293.99 + $180.89 per sensor + data logger/software (~$125)
Longer sensor to console range than most models (100 yards). Can purchase separately data logger and software for data analysis (~$125). Lots of graphs available just on the console, too. Solar powered with backup battery. Goes down to -40F. Only comes with one sensor but can handle more sensors (sold separately). But sensors are $180 each. So main obstacle is probably expense.
And here are a few I looked at but don't think will work:
Requires a WiFi router to work, which the Abbey doesn't have. Also seems to experience connectivity issues which require a manual reset. But can support up to eight sensors, and min/max temperature range is sufficient, plus really cool graphing/sharing capabilities if you have WiFi.
Each sensor is $50, but there's no central unit. You use your phone (of course, you could have a cheap, not-your-primary phone dedicated to this purpose). It says down in the Q&A that the sensors hold 20 days of data, and don't need to be connected to the phone to log. So you just need the phone to pull the data (they say). The app can export the data as csv (they say), which would import into any graphing spreadsheet, if you don't like the graphs on the phone. They are quoting -40°C - 60°C (-40°F - 140°F) operating range, and give an accuracy at the extremes.
Looks like they have a website, and you could probably preview the app as well. It also appears that they have competition in the same space.
This is just from an amazon search--I don't have actual experience with it.
Whichever one you choose, I suppose you'll be getting and trying one (or more) before the cold weather arrives?
We received The Noma Guide to Fermentation (generously gifted to us by Kerry Rodgers) this evening! It is a beautiful book, with gorgeous artwork and many intriguing recipes. Josiah recommended it when he was here, and it turns out it was on Fred’s wishlist as well, so we are all really excited. Dave was already trying out a recipe for Lacto Tomato Water when I left the Fisher-Price house for the evening!
When we arrived at the Abbey this morning, we discovered an unanticipated downside to the experimental linseed oil and dirt floor—it had been eaten by rodents! Luckily, it wasn’t the final layer; we are adding that now, and have locked the Abbey up tight in the hopes that it will endure no further depredations by rodents seeking delicious linseed oil!