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Old 09-19-2005, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm just starting to look into off-the-grid living, and I have a question. My DH has asthma, so any woodburning in the house or a house made of straw bales is impossible. Are there ways to use natural resources that are very clean? Is solar and wind power strong enough to heat a house through a frigid Wisconsin winter?

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Old 09-19-2005, 07:39 PM
 
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Queen, one of my kids has asthma and can't tolerate wood burning in the house. That takes away the easiest heat source!

You can look into passive solar- minimizing your heating bills through energy efficiency and maybe use propane- but minimally.

There are ways to build thermal mass without using straw bales.

You can also look into a geothermal heat exchanger to give your house a reasonable start point for heating and cooling. I don't know a way to get through a WI winter without some supplemental heat.

(Note: I'm on the grid now, just interested in the subject)

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Old 10-06-2005, 08:14 PM
 
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Radient floor heat is dustless and wonderful heat at that, so I have heard and read.
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Old 10-07-2005, 01:12 PM
 
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I was also going to suggest radiant floor heating. It is supposed to be great and you can use solar power to heat the water. I'll let you know in a few months. DH and I are in the finishing stages of building an off-the-grid cottage which will have this type of heating. Granted, central mexico isn't going to be as challenging as Wisconsin would be but still, I'll report on it. Also, earthbag houses are supposed to be very effective for insulating. Maybe a combo of earthbag/passive solar/active solar would be what fits the bill.

I'm sure there are lots of engineers in Madison who would have ideas for the area that work.. I remember seeing a bunch of houses built into the ground near Black Earth WI that were reportedly very successful.

Good luck!

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Old 10-08-2005, 02:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Plady
I was also going to suggest radiant floor heating. It is supposed to be great and you can use solar power to heat the water. I'll let you know in a few months. DH and I are in the finishing stages of building an off-the-grid cottage which will have this type of heating.

Please, please keep us updated! I am curiuos as to solar heat the water for radiant floor heat.

Tell us about the floor, is it cement slab or wood?
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Old 10-08-2005, 04:22 PM
 
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One option is outdoor wood furnaces. They are located outdoors, and generally heat water that is piped into the house for radiant floor type systems. They are pricy, but you can burn green wood in addition to cured, and they generally have large fireboxes so you load them less often. We currently have two woodstoves and I dream of one of these wood furnaces.
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Old 10-12-2005, 09:15 PM
 
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From what I have read about those outdoor furnaces is they arent good as far as smoke polution. The chimney arent very high for them thus the smoke is close to the ground and your neighbors or self gets smoked.
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Old 12-27-2005, 10:28 PM
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please tell me how straw bale affects asthma! Thanks!

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Old 12-29-2005, 01:46 PM
 
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ds and I both have asthma and we heat with a woodstove. It was the one thing dh and I had a hard time giving up, even though the ideal would be for us to have radiant floor heating. We have an airtight stove and store the wood outside to minimize the dust, mould, etc. I vacuum and wash the floors frequently to keep the dust down and damp-wipe instead of dust otehr surfaces. No carpets anywhere in the house helps too.

Good luck!
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Old 01-10-2006, 06:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by momto l&a
From what I have read about those outdoor furnaces is they arent good as far as smoke polution. The chimney arent very high for them thus the smoke is close to the ground and your neighbors or self gets smoked.
We are taking delivery of an outdoor wood boiler this spring. Siting is a major issue that the dealer emphasized at our initial meeting. There was a formula we worked with that took into account; the size of the boiler, prevailing winds, and the heights of structures and trees in a radius around the site.

Our boiler will provide heat for the radiant floor, sidewalks, water heaters and barn. We live on a road where the closest neighbor is over a 1/4 mi away, I can see there would be many locations where this would not be a feasible solution.

Have you checked out Minnesota's renewable energy programs? I know they have a methane program, maybe WI does as well. Also, you might want to look into monolithic domes. They are tough, made of cement (we almost went w/ one of these due to dh's allergies), and energy efficient. Good Luck in your search
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