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Sustainable Living


This page has some nice formulas for figuring out how to make the most of sunny windows for heating and cooling.

Outdoor Water Features

To build a pond that you mean to fill with aquatic plants, choose a location that receives at least 4-6 hours per day of sunlight but not a site that gets a full day of sun. Use natural slopes in your yard if possible, and avoid trees that would have root systems in your way or drop leaves into your pond. make sure you can reach a water hose to keep the pond full, and that you can reach an electrical outlet to keep a pump and any extra features (like special lighting) running.

I think it would be interesting to make a large symbol or simple picture and have it at the base of a pool of water or pond, so that maybe you'd notice it in a glance or maybe not. It seems to me that something like that would make you want to look in.

Building a pond:

Building a raised pond:

Nice pond:

Pond plants:

Home owner builds pond:

Koi Pond:

Construction of large pond:

Installing Wood Floors

One important thing to remember when choosing a wood floor is that the floor should be chosen on the basis of the sub-floor in order to prevent problems. If the sub-floor is uneven, it must be evened out with a lining that will absorb impact so that the floor can move as a whole and prevent buckling. Wood floors are often nailed into place, but if you are installing them over concrete they can be glued with an adhesive. If they are not being installed over concrete, they need a plywood sub-floor so that they can be nailed into place.

Other tips: Always determine the primary light source in a room and have the seams run parallel to the that source in order to avoid highlighting long seams. Always leave a 1/4 inch expansion gap so that the floors can expand and contract with the seasons.

Laminate floors come with AC ratings that inform you about the durability and the ability to withstand bumps and scratches. It is often a good idea to use glue even though the boards are designed to click together because it helps with moisture resistance.

DIY Home Basic:

Installing Wood Over Concrete:

Installing a Floating Floor:

Outdoor Fireplaces/Firepits

For a DIY project that would increase the value of a property, I think it might be a good idea to have one of these. My current thought is that the details are what will change a property from average to incredible, so a person with an eye for design should be able to build a valuable property, by adding elements like these.

Youtube videos:

Raised outdoor fireplace

Outdoor fireplaces:

Indoor Fireplaces with Metal Doors

I've decided to use this journal to keep up with some of the research I've been doing lately. A portion of that research has to do with grants and graduate schools, but I may not post on that subject at all. Primarily I have in mind to use this space to keep track of my research into sustainable home building and other aspects of residential construction, such as gardening and landscaping.

I wanted to break down some of my research into different subjects, so that I could easily come back and look at all the resources I've found for tools, techniques, supplies, et cetera. That seems quite handy. I also thought it would be interesting to be able to look back someday and compare my initial understanding of such a project and what it would entail to the real thing presuming that someday I am able to achieve that dream and build a home.

Right now I am most interested in building stone walls- retaining walls, flower beds, and stone masonry in general. I am also very interested in concrete and paving, flagstone walkways, and cobbled driveways. I've also been pondering the use of wood as a convenient, versatile, and attractive material, but I am concerned with fire-proofing and I don't know how best to resolve that yet.

But as I am a young person starting out in the working world, the biggest factor for me would be cost, and I will also have to look into the costs of buying land, building permits, hooking up electricity, water lines, sewer, internet, et cetera and determine how much of the electrical and plumbing labor an unskilled person is allowed to do and could reasonably learn to do in a year or two.

It's a lot to think about, hence the need for a journal to organize and follow progress.

Latest Month

April 2008


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