Rethink Your Life!
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Kiko Denzer on Art
Cob: New to this list and the idea of cobdtebb dtebb at alternatives.com
Wed Dec 5 18:37:55 PST 2001
I live in Vancouver, British Columbia. The climate here may be considered moderate, not as cold as Minnesota. I have been talking with an energy engineer here who has "significant concerns" about cob as an insulator. This engineer was unwilling to endorse cob unless it was an un-heated building or used for interior walls. The r-values are just way too low and he is not convinced that in as cold a climate as we have here, that the thermal mass would work so well. We hardly get sun here in the winter, so forget solar gain. He talked at length about technical issues that i barely understood. He is also very intrigued by cob as low in embodied energy in terms of no manufacturing of the material, the abundance of the material, low cost and ability of almost anyone to learn this method. He did suggest that a type of foam insulating layer would be something worth researching or doing as they do with ramed earth.He would even support from a technical side the research. How this may affect breathability and thermal mass is not known but perhaps worth trying. Now, there are a number of cob structures here in B.C. now and those living in them report that they are comfortable. It would be very valuable information to know how much energy they are using per sq. ft. to heat. It is still possible that with good double or triple glazed windows, a well insulated ceiling and other energy design features together with a good thermal mass design, that minimizes loss in r-value. I came across some data in a building book I have that states that infiltration (flow of air in and out of the home through cracks) acounts for 55% of the heating load. Whether accurate or not, it is something very important to consider. So the question I have is how can we determine when and how the thermal mass cancels out the loss in r-value? Where is the balance between the two? How cold is too cold? How can we design for maximum thermal mass capability? Ian >Sharon, >I think this is a very intereting idea. If you had a >styrofoam wall, you could apply cob to both sides >giving you an insulated mass inside with finished >exterior. It may not be "green" and would probably >need some engineering, but the concept is great. Lets >do it. Know any engineers ?
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