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Home Forums General Discussion Affordable off grid living Re: Affordable off grid living


Actually, for frame type houses, even the custom made geodesic dome kits, the easiest, quickest and least lumber is used in an A frame house with one side south facing with solar panels direct mounted and insulated windows with R30 foam backed doors and light directed at a stone or other type mass wall. Geodesic domes only have partial thermal gain and a hard roof to mount solar panels. It is an old style that was efficient in materials and different than conventional ranch housing of the time. The thing also nice about A frames is that the steep roof pitch is near the optimum angle for fixed panels, especially the rough surface tefzel type. Getting enough thermal mass in either is difficult. The Earthship used less lumber, is cheap with free dirt and tires, minimal wood use and maximum thermal mass. Rainwater catchment on a dome is much harder than an A frame or Earthship. An Earthship has the same esthetic of round walls that a geodesic dome does, but uses much less insulation, and of easy to self install type. Roof venting of a dome is problematical. Yurts are pushed as “eco-homes” too.

To me, eco homes must have as many of these characteristics as possible;

1)Low wood use, 2)a lot of thermal mass,3) use of indigenous materials,4) solar thermal gain, 5)solar power and/or wind power, 6)water catchment and/or recycling/minimal use,7) use of recycled materials, 8)super insulation and 9) interior year around gardens that grow food.

The Earthship is the “Holy Grail” of eco-homes because it can have all 9 characteristics. Others can be designed to have all nine also, like straw bale homes with trombe walls and interior gardens. An A frame could have up to 7 out of 9, and a dome maybe up to 6 out of 9 with difficulty.