Author Topic: Tiny Homes and Living Spaces  (Read 724 times)

Offline sparky961

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Tiny Homes and Living Spaces
« on: October 21, 2017, 11:58:04 AM »
If you haven't heard of a tiny home, you've probably been living under a rock the past few years...which, to some creatures is a tiny home, so forget that idea.  But I digress, as usual. I've been thinking more and more about the engineering requirements of such a building to sustain comfortable living in a Canadian winter.

Among my considerations are to maintain the following environmental factors:
- Atmospheric gases to safe and healthy levels (O2, CO2, CO, etc)
- Humidity in perfect balance for comfort, minimize fungal growth and insect habitat, keep skin and building materials from drying out
- Temperature maintained within a wide but reasonable level for personal comfort and safety, and with maximum efficiency

Some of the requirements are in conflict.  For example, if making a small space air tight and well insulated, there will be problems with air quality and water vapour.

What am I not yet considering?  I'd love an extremely simple solution that takes care of everything passively.... oh, to dream.

Offline mattinker

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Re: Tiny Homes and Living Spaces
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2017, 12:02:56 PM »
Heat exchanger to warm incoming air for ventilation!

Offline sparky961

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Re: Tiny Homes and Living Spaces
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2017, 05:55:08 PM »
Yes, that does seem to be the common solution.  But in terms if simplicity, do you think there would be a way to integrate it into the building itself? What about doing away with fans and controllers and making something passive?

Offline mattinker

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Re: Tiny Homes and Living Spaces
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2017, 03:13:17 AM »
I may be wrong but I suspect that you would have to move the air with an outside source of energy as heating the incoming air will probably cancel out the thermo-syphon effect. It would only take a very small amount of energy to move the air through.

Offline PekkaNF

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Re: Tiny Homes and Living Spaces
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2017, 04:41:30 AM »
How that works depends strongly least on following factors:

Climate/location: Do you need insulation for heating, cooling or both? When cooled or heated, does moisture condensates on the structure? Does building code dictae certain structures or energy efficiency that pretty much dictate forced air exhange vs. free/gravitation?

What materials you can use? Solid log or brick buildings tend to be more straight forward to build and they work pretty good, but multilayer structures with membranes, insulations, building boards, palstic covered tapestries etc. can conspire against you.

What is your life style? Old log cabin style dwellng works fine - until you bring dishwasher, shower and lanundry inside. If you have wood fired firepalce, use it every dayi n the winter and open windows for 20 mins, you can cope well without any other technology. But if you build "passive" house, there is no way you can keep the moisture out of the house, insulation without some sort of active energy/control system.

There has been very much recearch on that topic and much politics and even more building codes, but very little awareness where it all leads.

Pekka

Offline tom osselton

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Re: Tiny Homes and Living Spaces
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2017, 07:32:29 PM »
Just thinking out loud. Could you hack a co2 detector to set off a alarm or turn on a fan venting to the outside?

Offline sparky961

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Re: Tiny Homes and Living Spaces
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2017, 07:44:48 PM »
Thanks for your great input.  It's given me some things to think about.

I like the idea of a log cabin, but I neglected to mention that my actual goal is toward something on wheels, something mobile.  This rules out heavy construction.

The idea of having "smart" environmental controls appeals to me, and I'll likely do something along these lines for comfort.  However, relying on such things without a plan B and C for my own safety doesn't seem very smart.

I think some experimentation might be in order, with myself as the test subject - though without putting myself in harm's way. :)

Offline chipenter

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Re: Tiny Homes and Living Spaces
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2017, 03:36:13 AM »
A tromb wall will help with ventilation and heating .
Jeff

Offline awemawson

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Re: Tiny Homes and Living Spaces
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2017, 05:30:07 AM »
This is a new concept to me and very interesting but not new as such as originating from 1881 ! - Wikipedia has a wealth of information about Trombe walls :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trombe_wall
Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline PekkaNF

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Re: Tiny Homes and Living Spaces
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2017, 05:51:36 AM »
Perspired air type solar panels can be used to warm up and dry spaces, but they have limitations. You tend to get least heat when you need it most. Also it needs some control system to kick in when heating/drying is possible and needed bit it should not overheat - and it needs anticipation.

Passive systems needs active tending. I would trust more in separate maybe even redundant easy to control/understand systems than very complicated system that needs AI tools to sort out toilet visit.

I would need a stand-by system that allows considerable under/over comfortable temperature to keep the dwelling well when I'm not attending it and then more comfortable/energy hungry operating mode when I'm home.

We are grazy for cabins and tend to have electric (or oil) low output stand-by-heating to keep the cabins dry and prevent them freezing while we are not in. And dial "up" with SMS day before arrival and then use wood stove to bring up temperature to comfortable level fast.

Portable/light weight home will need some consideration on structure. Maybe glued skins over a least somewhat fire resistant insulation foam is a way to go. Loose (screwed etc.) panels over insulation would need a separate mebarane to wick condensate out and some space to allow draining/ventilation etc. for structural condensation. Bug screens, cleaning, structures to overcome dirt/frost/muck.....sounds much harder than on houses.

Then again. Think of camper van and simple solutions.
http://www.buildagreenrv.com/design-and-build-information-for-camper-vans/installing-a-camper-van-heater/

Maybe passive overheating could be solved with "automatic" wax filled greenhouse vent type thingys:
https://www.gabrielash.com/gardeners-corner/how-do-automatic-greenhouse-vents-work/

Pekka


Offline efrench

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Re: Tiny Homes and Living Spaces
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2017, 02:31:34 AM »
Thanks for your great input.  It's given me some things to think about.

I like the idea of a log cabin, but I neglected to mention that my actual goal is toward something on wheels, something mobile.  This rules out heavy construction.

The idea of having "smart" environmental controls appeals to me, and I'll likely do something along these lines for comfort.  However, relying on such things without a plan B and C for my own safety doesn't seem very smart.

I think some experimentation might be in order, with myself as the test subject - though without putting myself in harm's way. :)

Have you considered a travel trailer?  All of these issues have been worked out years ago.  One of my favorites was in Harrah's car collection in Reno.  It was a 5th wheeler built sometime in the early 30s of the last century.

Offline sparky961

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Re: Tiny Homes and Living Spaces
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2017, 03:58:33 PM »
I've considered one, yes. Main problem I see is lack of insulation for a cold Canadian winter. They're designed to spend maybe a week or two using it as a base while keeping busy with other things through the day. Also, I don't know why they all have to look so obviously "travel trailer", not to mention ugly.

Offline Pete.

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Re: Tiny Homes and Living Spaces
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2017, 04:07:30 PM »
Drill down far enough and no matter how cold it is on the surface you'll be able to pull enough heat out of the ground to keep yourself comfy.