Having now cut down 27 trees (with 8 to go…) we have a clear idea of where the house will fit on our new block. Sid and his tractor are on holidays until the 8th of January, so Glenda, Alex and I cut the two remaining tree crowns in the way of clearing the site in pieces, and we then moved all debris/firewood away (mostly uphill!) by hand. On a warmish Tasmanian Summer’s day to boot, something we all agreed would never have happened in Queensland.
At nearly 32m long, the double glazed frontage facing the dam is long. But as it will be our heater, we’ll need as much glass facing North as possible, and after all, there are no other windows whatsoever, something a lot of people don’t get, but will soon enough understand once it’s built.
The photo at right distorts the shape of the footprint quite considerably due to the wide-ish focal length used, but you get the idea. As the front of the house is exactly parallel to the edge of the picture, we must be looking due East, ironically straight at the block of land I was dead keen on some two years ago before this one came on the market! No regrets though, this block is way better.
Also clearly visible is the shadow of a willow tree obscuring the front, in Summer. No prizes for guessing it too is going. You can also see how nothing grew under the trees such was the depth of the shading before they were felled.
Alex and I did some sunpath studies to establish how many more trees need to go to ensure we have the solar gain needed to achieve the 10 star energy rating I’m so keen on. It’s doubly interesting for him, because he’s working on a camera project that involves creating 360 degree views of the sky, and then superimposing the solar path for that position to establish what shading problems occur for a more accurate positioning of solar collectors. We did it the old fashioned way…..
I downloaded this particular diagram (click on it for a better view) from the University of Oregon site. Just enter your latitude and longitude, and presto, you get a computer generated sunpath diagram for where you live! Isn’t technology great, when it’s used properly? Because Oregon’s in the Northern hemisphere, they generate the diagram upside down, at least that’s the way I read it.
Turn the drawing around so it faces North, and you can see where the sun rises and sets all year long.
Before leaving Queensland, I also bought a ‘digital angle level’ from Aldi. It’s a bit of a clever device I thought would come in handy when roofing the house and adjusting the tilt on solar panels, or, as we did here, use it as an inclinometer…… because you can also read (but not see) the altitude of the sun at different times of the day and year from the diagram. The level needs a battery, but it gives you a digital readout of the angle set between the level itself (with the leveling bubbles) and the rotating arm. The diagram told us that at 8:30am on May 21 the sun barely rises to 15 degrees above the horizon. You can’t see the horizon from our house site but, it is defined by holding the gadget level with the help of the bubble. Then, by looking up the slanted arm set to 15 degrees via the digital readout, and pointing in the direction set by the diagram, you can then see where the sun would be at that time and date. Clearly, the sun would be behind those pesky trees (at right in the second photo above), and they have to go.
None will be wasted, all turned into building material, firewood, or biochar. Over the coming years it’s my intention to replace them many times over anyway…… we’re not lacking space to plant trees!!
Next week, we’re meeting the structural engineer. I’ve ordered our Nickel iron batteries, the inverter and charger, cork floor tiles for the kitchen, and next week will be ordering the concrete blocks we need to build the retaining wall with. It’s all happening…. and boy am I feeling pressured after reading Raul Illargi’s article over at the Automatic Earth….
2016 is going to be a big year for us, possibly even bigger than 2015 was notwithstanding selling Mon Abri. Exciting times indeed…….
I’ve been asked what the house will look like, so here is Carlo’s perspective view of it…….