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Old 10-08-2006, 11:53 PM
 
827 posts, read 4,505,549 times
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Dgoboy204, thanks SO much for the great websites! Those people look so happy together! I have seen the Heartwood Co-housing project over near Bayfield and to read about them was great! Also to learn of another called Earthrise. Both are wonderful. I wish all homes and apartments were made like this. It just makes sense. Good Luck to them in their endeavors! Thanks so much!

Stormweary, I know. The homes in FL are so cheaply made. I have a school friend who lived in the Lauderdale area and his home was so cheap. It really didn't have any insulation in it and when it rained, the roof would leak. He knew it was cheaply made and told me so. I think the builders there should be ashamed making such cheap houses. I hear they are making them better now since all the hurricanes. Time will tell. I wouldn't want to live by a beach unless I KNEW my house would make it. I would have a dome or concrete home there. My school bud finally moved, not from hurricanes but from the heat. He just couldn't put up with all that humidity all the time. I think the thing that I'd hate the most, next to the heat, is the mosquitoes! WOW they are big!!! I saw some when I was there and I was like "dang, these things look like helicopters!"

Jecc, yes, I have seen their corporate headquarters over on Central. I haven't been in there though. I have seen their home sales places around like in Apache Junction or Chandler. They make modular and other types of homes. Some really look like houses like the Cavco Durango homes.

I like those cabins, I saw on the website, but I haven't seen any in person. WOW! It would be great to just pay a home as a vehicle tax!! I think that is one reason many states require you to put a mobile home on a perm. foundation so they can get that extra money! Well, and too it does make the homes more stabile. My youngest brother, who now lives in Albuquerque area, once bought a modular home and later it started to sink into the sand and we called it the "Titanic" cause it looked like it as it was sinking! He had to fix the foundation and make it a perm. foundation. That cost some money. NM does have a lot of sand, so I would make sure to put a mobile or modular on a permanent foundation. Do they make you do that now in NM? I know they do in Colorado.

I am hot natured so really in the 50s wouldn't bother me. I think that is why the heat in Phoenix bothers me so much because I just hate lots of heat. I know the other day it was raining, (yes Phoenix does rain once in the blue moon), but it was nice, the rain had cooled it to in the 80s or so and I thought how nice it would be if it was like that all the time but then I saw a lady wearing a coat, like a winter coat!!

I appreciate the many thanks from you guys on making this thread. I want to thank you all back for contributing to it. I am learning a lot just like you guys. The more we know, the better the houses we can have! Thanks all!
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Old 10-09-2006, 09:49 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Crackerjack View Post
DgHe had to fix the foundation and make it a perm. foundation. That cost some money. NM does have a lot of sand, so I would make sure to put a mobile or modular on a permanent foundation. Do they make you do that now in NM? I know they do in Colorado.
I'm not sure that NM has any codes or laws requiring permanent foundations. It might, but I think the real sticklers are the lenders. My lot is on solid rock, so I could have gotten away without a slab. But I had one poured anyway in case I ever decide to sell the place.

Even for a tiny house or cabin I think I would pour a slab. That would not change the fact that the structure is an RV, yet it would ensure that it would not sink or blow away.
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Old 10-09-2006, 03:17 PM
 
Location: new orleans
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Crackerjack: If you think the mosiquitos are big you should see the roaches!!
I had never heard of the "straw bale" houses. Sounds interesting. I am surprised there isn't more support for alternative sources for energy and houses. My ideal house would have some kind of wind/solar source. It may cost more intially but I think would be worth it in the long run. Are there any developers/builders who do both alternative houses and energy in the Alb. area? Have to check out the sites mentioned here.
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Old 10-09-2006, 04:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by stormweary View Post
I had never heard of the "straw bale" houses. Sounds interesting. I am surprised there isn't more support for alternative sources for energy and houses. My ideal house would have some kind of wind/solar source. It may cost more intially but I think would be worth it in the long run. Are there any developers/builders who do both alternative houses and energy in the Alb. area? Have to check out the sites mentioned here.
You might try searching for websites about straw bale houses. They could lead you to some builders.

I once stayed as a guest in a straw bale house in Candada. The owners built some of it themselves but had lots of help from a volunteer crew. This was a few years ago, and at the time there were crews that would travel nationwide (U.S. and Canada) to build straw houses just for the experience and education.

These homeowners paid for all the materials, and the crew did the work for free. The owners said you can build a straw bale house for $8 (yes, eight bucks) per square foot if you use a volunteer crew to erect the basic structure. Not sure whether this is still true, but it's worth looking into.

Straw walls are very thick (18 inches or so), so they are great natural insulation. The only bad thing I recall about the house I stayed in was mice. Rodents love straw houses, and they will live in the walls. Very annoying. This might have been due to a construction flaw. I imagine if you did your stucco right you'd prevent this problem. Or, if you don't mind mice, you could just consider them your permanent guests.
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Old 10-09-2006, 11:23 PM
 
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Jecc, I think you are wise pouring a slab under your home. It seems to add to the value of your place should you ever sell it. Banks many times will want this too, for a mobile or modular home, RV, etc., in order to approve a loan, so it just makes sense to do it.

YIKES, I am glad you told me about the mice and straw bale homes! Mice and me don't agree. The diseases they spread out here in the Southwest are notorious. I'd rather have snakes than mice. I really do like rammed earth homes. They seem to really last well and are excellent insulators. I also like underground homes, well, partial underground. I still would want the south exposed with windows for solar heating and to keep the home dry as totally underground homes can stay wet and moldy and can be a problem, but having the north and most of the east and west filled with back dirt and having concrete walls or rammed earth walls is a great insulator. The south would have windows, the sun would be exposed totally to the windows in the winter, but shaded in the summer. I also would love a greenhouse in the winter for veggies and spring flowers to plant in the spring. I am still researching and learning for new technologies so things may change. I would love solar panels too. They are expensive though. Hopefully as more people adapt to solar, the pricing will come down. I would love to have my yard up on the roof of my house and maybe even have a garden there on top.

Stormweary, yes, I have seen those roaches and they are as big as a mini cooper! I am glad up in northern NM and southern Colorado, you don't see those things! I haven't seen any in my home, but they are here in Phoenix too. I have had some scorpions though and they can be a nuisance. They like to hide in stuff like laundry hampers. Haven't been bit by one though, knock on wood!

There is a place in ABQ that builds some rammed earth homes called jkhomes. They have a website, just type jkhomes in your search engine and you'll see it in ABQ. I think they are really insulated homes and a good value on keeping it cool in the summer and warm in the winter. On their website, look for rammed earth and click on it. You might look into it.

Last edited by Crackerjack; 10-09-2006 at 11:32 PM..
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Old 10-10-2006, 12:18 AM
 
Location: Metromess
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According to the book I read some years ago, straw bale houses don't have a problem with mice or any other critters if they are correctly built. Let's face it, you couldn't trust a house like that which didn't seal the straw up well enough to keep mice out of it!
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Old 10-10-2006, 07:08 AM
 
Location: new orleans
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agree catman but when I read your post I thought, what if one of those critters get in there and die!!
I like the earth house idea and will check it out, crackerjack. I onced lived in a house that had the basement on the side of a small hill.. We never had to do much by way of heating and cooling it. I am guessing the rammed house is similar in concept. I like your description of your earth house. Yea, solar is expensive but i think in the long run would be worth it. you'd think here in Fl. with the storms and power outages, people would be using more "alternative" sources and we get alot of sunshine here in Fl. What is it? Is it the big utilities are just greedy or is it a lack of govt. support coupled with a lack of information about it all?
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Old 10-10-2006, 09:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by catman View Post
According to the book I read some years ago, straw bale houses don't have a problem with mice or any other critters if they are correctly built. Let's face it, you couldn't trust a house like that which didn't seal the straw up well enough to keep mice out of it!
I hear you. As I said above, the house I stayed in was built by volunteers who were learning the trade. There's no reason a straw house could not be sealed correctly against mice.

Regarding concrete in general, keep in mind that it's like a sponge if it's not sealed right. It will absorb and hold water for a long time, especially if it's underground. While I love the notion of underground homes, I also know that good ventilation is vital for the health of a house and its occupants. You want a house to breathe. That's one reason it's hard to beat good old wood framing, at least for above-ground structures. Adobe is popular in NM and West TX, but consider that those are both arid regions where that kind of construction works well.

Bottom line: When you design your dream home, before you do anything else, keep in mind where it will be. A big part of environmentally friendly housing is making the house blend in the with its environment, both aethetically and functionally. The ideal home in Phoenix may not be the ideal home in Toronto, and I'm not just talking about isulation or weather. To me, architecture is like plants. Certain styles simply "grow" better in their home turf.
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Old 10-10-2006, 11:22 PM
 
Location: Metromess
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jecc: I agree with you concerning ventilation. An underground house would have to be designed in such a way that it has an excellent ventilation system. It all comes down to intelligent planning and competent execution. I know that's easy to say...!

I like the way adobe looks, and it's not bad at insulating, so I considered whether it was appropriate for the area I'm in now (North Central TX). I think it's too humid and wet here for it, though (maybe not this year, but usually).
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Old 10-11-2006, 12:32 AM
 
827 posts, read 4,505,549 times
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Stormweary, yes, you would think Florida, the sunshine state, would have more solar than other places. It makes sense, with the hurricanes and power outages, to have solar there. I also don't understand people building regular type homes right up on the beach, just a few feet from the ocean, I mean someday the ocean is going to pay them a visit. It isn't if, but when!

Jecc and Catman, I talked with a guy who I have worked with in the past and mentioned about straw bale and rammed earth. He verified, with his expertise, that rammed earth is best in his opinion but straw bale offers an alternative. He also said the underground homes were fantastic but also said what we have; it really needs to have a southern exposure with windows and ventilation to heat it up since totally underground homes can be too chilly. They also can get mold without proper vent. and dry air. Otherwise he approved of what I want to do. He built a rammed earth home years ago. Yes, you are right. Concrete will absorb water and really has to have an excellent sealer to keep the water out.

You guys are right, each place should match it's environment. I don't like to see say a log cabin on a tropical beach, or an adobe home with a red tiled roof in England. Just me I guess, but I like for homes to fit the area. I do like adobe homes, they are built pretty darn good. You just don't see those in Dallas or Fort Worth. I know brick and high-pitched roofs are the rage in Texas. Funny though, I always thought the high-pitched roofs would have been better in say Colorado, with snow falling off much better, than the lower pitched roofs you commonly see there!

I just wanted to add to the discussion about concrete slab kitchen countertops. Do you guys like them or not? The plus is they are virtually indestructible. The minus for me is they seem cold to me. Any thoughts?

Last edited by Crackerjack; 10-11-2006 at 12:46 AM..
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