I am going to try something a little different here at the Green Living Library. In the past I have focused on providing articles that provided practical information and how to’s on many different aspects of living a green life. I will continue to do that but every now and then when the mood strikes me I will pluck an article from the internet and analyze it from my perspective. I will tell you what I think of the article where I agree and disagree with what the author is proposing.
Please read the article at the link above before diving into my thoughts on the subject
Here it goes…
If you are anything like me you get quite a bit of paper delivered to you through the mail. All that junk mail, magazine subscriptions and useless ads for things you should never by. If you are lucky you would be able to recycle all that paper so it can be turned into something else down the line. However you may live in an area that doesn’t do paper recycling so that really leaves you with the option of throwing it in the trash. But if you are actually reading this article on this website then you are probably like me and you hate throwing things away that could have other potential uses. One of the best uses I have found for that waste paper is turning it into long lasting fire starters. Now I am sure you already know that paper burns really easily but it also burns really quick which can sometimes hinder how well it performs as a fire starter. Keeping lose paper around can also take up a lot of space that could be better used for other things. So any easy way to get around these dual problems is to turn all that extra waste paper in paper mache fire starters. This is really easy to do but it does take some time and just a few things to make the process easier.
Earth sheltering is an ancient and time honored technique for moderating the temperature of a house or other structure without any external energy. It has been used for thousands of years across many cultures starting all the way back with humans who lived in caves. To the right can see a picture of sod houses built in Iceland by some of the early settlers. They not only needed to build out of sod due to the climate of Iceland but also because it was one of the few available resources to build with.
They work off of the very simple fact that the soil maintains a certain temperature year round despite how cold or warm the air outside. This can offer you tremendous advantages when it comes to keeping your home comfortable for no extra cost in money or energy.
The diagram below illustrates what I am talking about about the soil maintaining a steady temperature. Not only do you get the climate control benefits but having a earth sheltered house can protect your home from storms and other forces that nature can throw at you. You home will also be quieter and burying your home in the earth could be a great way to escape city noise.
With properly designed house right from the start it is conceivable to get most if not all your heating needs from the sun. This of course is very dependent on your climate and requires solar design from the ground up. Most of us do not have the luxury of building a passive solar house from the ground up so we have to suffice with adding on solar heat to our house.
A masonry heater as defined by the the Masonry Heater Association of North America is
“... a site-built or site-assembled, solid-fueled heating device constructed mainly of masonry materials in which the heat from intermittent fires burned rapidly in its firebox is stored in its massive structure for slow release to the building. It has an interior construction consisting of a firebox and heat exchange channels built from refractory components.”
To put that in plainer english you could call a masonry heater a big wood stove made out of brick or similar materials that is capable of capturing heat from a burning fuel source and slowly releasing that heat into a space. There are many features that make a masonry a great choice for you home heating needs and I will touch on just a few of them with this article. But to keep things fair I will also go into a few of the cons because you can’t really understand something until you know both sides of it.
Hello my name is Josh Larson and I am the creator of the Green Living Library. Here on the blog you will find updates to content found in the Green Living Library as well as stories from those living the sustainable life already.