Owner/Builder Forum?

GrinninGrinnin Solar Expert Posts: 39
Does anyone have a favorite owner/builder forum? I haven't found any that seems active.

Many of the decisions I'm making now while working on the foundation will affect the efficiency and energy use of the completed house. While there are a few threads here about building features, I'm looking for an active forum for more info.

I'd be willing to look at "green" construction (whatever that means to someone) but it looks to me like any construction uses resources and getting a solid building may be the most important goal in the long run (or life-cycle analysis). I am certainly focused on energy efficiency.

So: any favorite builder forums?

Thanks.

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,216 admin
    Re: Owner/Builder Forum?

    Not specifically builder forums, but some good information on building an efficient home:

    Home Power Magazine:
    (if you subscribe, they have a large online archive)
    BuildItSolar: (lots of DIY conservation/energy systems)

    A warning on extreme conservation measures--Over the centuries, our homes and buildings have always had a certain amount of air leakage which was a big help in providing a safe and liveable environment. Many of the new conservation techniques these days include thermal masses and sealing up the structure. This can cause condensation/mold/poor air quality in the structure (people breathing/cooking/etc.).

    So--Adding a heat recovery ventilator/system is probably going to be high up on your list of needed devices (which also consumes power).

    And for my in-law's home, they have problems with moisture under their home, so a sump pump and addressing drainage around the foundation is important too at times (again, poor air circulation, humidity brought in from crawl space/basement areas.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • GrinninGrinnin Solar Expert Posts: 39
    Re: Owner/Builder Forum?
    BB. wrote: »
    Over the centuries, our homes and buildings have always had a certain amount of air leakage . . .

    Thanks for pointing to Home Power and Buildit Solar. I subscribed for years when HP was more DIY-oriented and wrote one article for them. After enough years the articles seemed to repeat (although with a changing array of products for their comparisons) and they were leaning away from DIY and writing more about huge professional installations. They say that's where the watts are, but it's not my interest.

    You nailed one my current questions. The basement drain is in. It was originally going to double as a 100-ft earth-tempered cold-air intake. As I learned more about radon in my area I added a trap under the basement slab to prevent air from flowing up through the drain system. I now need to replace what would have been a passive, convective air exchange. The commercial heat exchangers seem to have high-watt fans.

    I'm still working on the basement, but I'm certain it will be dry and warm. Not a lot of daylight, but small windows on all sides plus LEDs over the work areas.
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,462 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Owner/Builder Forum?
    Grinnin wrote: »
    .... As I learned more about radon in my area I added a trap under the basement slab to prevent air from flowing......
    perhaps vent it for a week, and then use a test kit, your area may have radon issues, but your SITE may not. Saves many watts with no fan.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
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  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,741 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Owner/Builder Forum?
    BB. wrote: »
    A warning on extreme conservation measures--Over the centuries, our homes and buildings have always had a certain amount of air leakage which was a big help in providing a safe and liveable environment. Many of the new conservation techniques these days include thermal masses and sealing up the structure. This can cause condensation/mold/poor air quality in the structure (people breathing/cooking/etc.).

    Definitely! If you're off-grid, I presume that you're planning to cook with propane. Give some thought to what's in the exhaust and where it's going. Stove top burners tend to use 7,000-10,000 BTU per hour, and the ovens run from 25,000 - 40,000 BTU per hour. That's a lot of exhaust.

    --vtMap
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • GrinninGrinnin Solar Expert Posts: 39
    Re: Owner/Builder Forum?
    mike95490 wrote: »
    perhaps vent it for a week, and then use a test kit, your area may have radon issues, but your SITE may not. Saves many watts with no fan.
    Thanks. I put in a passive radon vent. If the basement has a radon problem I'll add the fan. This is the recommendation of both the state health alarmists and the state university scientists.

    But the radon vent is not the issue. House venting is the issue.
  • GrinninGrinnin Solar Expert Posts: 39
    Re: Owner/Builder Forum?
    vtmaps wrote: »
    If you're off-grid, I presume that you're planning to cook with propane.
    I cook and heat with wood and solar. I haven't had propane here and I don't plan on adding it. Wood probably needs more replacement air than propane. I also plan to generously vent the bathroom.

    But it's not BTUs that I want to vent, it's moisture and "stale air" with higher CO2 levels.

    I've added ventilation to past houses I've bought that didn't have enough originally. I' sure it's easier as the walls and roof go on instead of adding them later.
  • karrakkarrak Solar Expert Posts: 326 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Owner/Builder Forum?
    Grinnin wrote: »
    I cook and heat with wood and solar. I haven't had propane here and I don't plan on adding it. Wood probably needs more replacement air than propane. I also plan to generously vent the bathroom.

    But it's not BTUs that I want to vent, it's moisture and "stale air" with higher CO2 levels.

    I've added ventilation to past houses I've bought that didn't have enough originally. I' sure it's easier as the walls and roof go on instead of adding them later.

    We don't use propane either.

    Semipermeable walls make a big difference to condensation. Our 'light earth' (mix of straw and mud) work very well, have good thermal mass and insulation properties as well.

    Simon
    Off-Grid with LFP (LiFePO4) battery, battery Installed April 2013
    32x90Ah Winston cells 2p16s (48V), MPP Solar PIP5048MS 5kW Inverter/80A MPPT controller/60A charger, 1900W of Solar Panels
    modified BMS based on TI bq769x0 cell monitors.
    Homemade overall system monitoring and power management  https://github.com/simat/BatteryMonitor
     

  • Mountain DonMountain Don Solar Expert Posts: 494 ✭✭✭
    Re: Owner/Builder Forum?

    Country Plans Forum
    Northern NM, 624 watts PV, The Kid CC, GC-2 batteries @ 24 VDC, Outback VFX3524M
  • GrinninGrinnin Solar Expert Posts: 39
    Re: Owner/Builder Forum?
    Ah! Thanks!

    I probably wouldn't have found that since my project is nearly 1,000 sf.
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