Sun Tempered Superinsulated Bioshelter

Designing, building, living in a bioshelter.


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David Shah
Joined:Thu Jan 24, 2002 12:01 am
Location:santa rosa ,ca.usa
Sun Tempered Superinsulated Bioshelter

Post by David Shah » Thu Jan 31, 2002 1:34 pm

Ideally a scientifically designed human Abode
should be very tightly built so that infilt-
ration is nil,then the envelope is Superin-
sulated to R70 or so then fenestration on the
south side with good windows and enough MASS
to absorb the excess heat during the day and
radiate it back at night with the windows
covered with movable insultion.The Roof will
collect the rain and water would be used very
frugally by reusing greywater from sinks and

David Shah
Joined:Thu Jan 24, 2002 12:01 am
Location:santa rosa ,ca.usa

Post by David Shah » Thu Jan 31, 2002 1:46 pm

and laundry water for garden irrigation,since
the toilet is the greatest waste of water in
the home we would have a methane digester to
both render the resource safe for plantfood
and furnish Cooking Gas..Also because the
home is so tight,there is less than one air
change per hour so many houseplants are grown
to clean and refresh the air.Green Plants
scrub carbon dioxide buildup we don't need
and produce oxygen which we do need and feed

User avatar
Joined:Tue Jul 03, 2001 11:01 pm
Location:Willow, Alaska USA

Post by Bob » Sat Feb 02, 2002 12:47 pm

While, in general, I applaud your ideas and enthusiasm, I'd add qualifiers to a number of them--if we are talking about real-world feasibility. For example:
  • I'm not sure that zero infiltration is either an ideal or healthy goal, let alone achievable. Exchanging gases with Gaia is not a bad thing, and is site-specific. The desired amount of air exchange in California is considerably different from what may be optimum in Alaska.
  • Rather than recommend R-70 as a fixed goal, I'd calculate optimum insulation thickness based on climate, internal gains, and cost of fuel and insulation.
  • The optimum amount and orientation of fenestration also depends on latitude and a variety of climate factors (e.g. cloud cover), view, etc.
  • ditto for ideal amount of thermal mass. Which depends on amount of fenestration.
  • ditto the idea of windows covered with movable insultion. In my house, for example, I reduced the delta-T across the windows, rather than add the cost and complexity of movable insulation.
  • re frugal use of water, you describe a way to reuse it once before discarding it. In our house, we purify and reuse it continuously. Since it doesn't go anywhere, we can be just as 'wasteful' as we wish. No need to turn off the faucet while brushing teeth, for example. Just let it run. A closed system is functionally equivalent to a never ending supply. The water system in our house functions more like the circulatory system of a living organism.
  • a methane digester may or may not make sense, depending on what you have to throw into it, and what your alternatives are.
  • re lots of green plants purifying the air (and water) -- right on!
As is probably obvious, I tend to think that the most appropriate answer to most questions is "It depends. What are the specifics?". One of my goals is to put up on-line calculators to allow people to figure out for themselves what makes sense, given local site-specific conditions. Here, for example, is a design tool for calculating water storage tank size, depending on amount of rainfall, collection surface area available, and amount of reclamation & reuse.

David Shah
Joined:Thu Jan 24, 2002 12:01 am
Location:santa rosa ,ca.usa

Post by David Shah » Mon Feb 04, 2002 3:53 pm

Thanks Bob,the raincollection storage calculator thing is great,,,and about the rest,of course i was just throwing some numbers out there,ya know,alot of people don't realize the difference between up to code insulation and maximizing or optimizing insulation so i throw a big number out there because it gets their attention,i was giving someone some advice last week and they thought a little insulation was just as good as alot,and just wanted to get SOLARIZED with some nice fancy new equipment without reducing demand first,yet they want it as cheap as possible,free would be better..yet they don't think Superinsulation is sexxy enough somehow,i don't know,reducing my demands on the earth and reducing pollution is my first priority and i get a thrill from saving energy and money at the same time by using brains instead of brute force to accomplish the same amount of seems the whole concept and technique of SUPERINSULATION is falling away,but it is still as valid as ever..anyway thanks for the new toy,errr calculator...peace out..

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