I am thinking WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY outside the box on this, but we want to sell our home and downsize. We are debt-free now, so this normally would make no sense except for the downsizing part. But it seems silly to sell our big house, only to buy a smaller house that still costs $80,000-$120,000 or so. Yes, we would have some money in our pocket even after this, but being very frugal I had another thought where we could glean even more money.
Recreational vehicle living does not really work in Maine, as it is too cold in the winter, and our damp summers rots the things out. I have a friend who has lived in one for a few years, but his sits inside a big building, then they heat the building...and it works, but requires building a building.
So I was thinking, what if a person poured a concrete slab say 24 by 50 feet long, then built a wall say 8 feet high, and say 50 feet long along the north wall. This wall would be super insulated and maybe even bermed with earth on the outside. On the inside, on the concrete pad, (2) 24 foot campers would then parked (used). This would be hooked up to a well and septic system I already have for an existing home, but non-livable. This would give me bedrooms and bathrooms and such. But the "living room space" would be the patio where a greenhouse was stretched in half-arch from the wall to the concrete pad. This would do several things.
Significantly lower my heating bill as I have seen where houses inside greenhouses save a lot in heating costs
Give us a 50 x 24 home (1200 sq ft) with rooms and bathrooms premade
Be low in property tax
Keep the RV dried out from rot
Keep from freezing in the winter
Be really cheap
It would not be forever, just until the kids are out of the "house" so Katie and I can build our smaller retirement home where we do not need to take into account the needs of the kids. We are looking at 7 years before most are out of the house).
I've read an account of this being done in a hoop house.
They set up the woodstove ,couch, etc.
Summer time, I think they covered it up with shade cloth.
I think they even kept a few ducks in one corner over the winter.
With a woodstove, it should be dry during the winter, and if you open the sides in the summer, no humidity will build up.
Are you going to isolate your slab from the ground with insulation?
If so,consider using your slab or your back wall as a mass for a rocket,or even just blow solar/woodstove air them.
You have well water, so an evaporative cooling mister might be an option, or an air to water heat exchanger (heater coil in front of a fan) or first one, then the other, then the runoff irrigates the dedicious shade plants...
If you ever decide you want a more solid roof, the existing greenhouse structure could be a good framework for ferrocement walls/roof.
If you have a reliable roof above the RV roofs, you could use those roofs to dry food or firewood or laundry,or grow food up there.
A trellis for vines could be good year round,a living solar system.
Maybe it's to much to wish for, but a slab with a functional greenhouse/shadehouse onto makes me want to add a rootcellar underneath.
Maybe berm the back, one side and a few feet up the front,leaving one side for adding and removing vehicals.
Coukd you use vapor permeable housewrap to isolate the soil in those berms?
By driving the water vapor out during the heating seasons, the soil would become more and more insulative .
A 3-6" layer of topsoil and ground cover could protect the vapor barrier.
A second impermeable barrier would start level with the bottom of the foundation and slope slightly down and away.
In between ,a sandwich filling of slowly drying earth.
OK, so enough with the crazy ideas,but I think your base idea is sound as can be.
Build the wall 14 feet or 16 feet high to get the headroom above the RV's for extra storage/growing space! A ladder leading to the area would be really convenient.
But instead of putting in a root cellar in the slab, put it inside the berm behind the wall with access through the wooden wall, between the two hitches of the (2) campers.
I think I would use insulation though to isolate it from our cold ground (57 degrees 365), but run pex through the slab, and then back to a wood/coal boiler. I happen to have one kicking around, and I doubt I would use much wood at all.
This will take every ounce of my mental strength! All for a tiny ad: