an Industrial Scale
STRUCTURAL INSULATED PANELS. The walls are made of Structural Insulated Panels or SIPs. SIPS are constructed from 12 inches of foam insulation with plywood on both sides. The panels are effectively a very strong box beam, so there is no need for a traditional housing frame. SIP walls have an R-value of 50, while the blown cellulose insulation under the roof is R-100.
LIVING ROOF. A prairie-like roof makes for a pleasant place to have lunch and get away from the shop for a few moments. A tiny home sits on the roof offering occupants lots of privacy. Living roofs make good sense, especially in urban areas; capturing rain water, protecting the roof materials from wear and tear, as well as sun, wind, and temperature extremes. Mostly, we just like it. A living roof makes a lot of sense for some urban areas. It can add yard space or garden space in an area where land costs are very high. The roof cleans the air and cools the building at the same time.
Short for Manifesting Shop, this building is our work space for research, metal fabrication, design and engineering. The shop was so named because it helps us take ideas and manifest them in the real world.
HOT AIR SOLAR PANELS. Our 76 hot air solar panels were manufactured by RREAL (Rural Renewable Energy Alliance) in nearby Backus. The panels heat the air to 140 degrees before circulating it under the floor to be stored in the thermal mass. When that’s not adequate, the backup plan is hot-water in-floor heat, powered by a heat pump. This is fairly conventional, using about a mile and a half of PEX hot water pipes imbedded in the concrete floor. Heat pumps run about 400 percent efficient compared to electric heat.
Super-Insulated, Underground Heat Storage, In-Floor Backup
WALKING THROUGH A SOLAR PANEL. When touring through the solarium, you are essentially walking inside an active solar panel. On a sunny day, you can feel it. The radiant heat is pulled through air filters in the ceiling, up into solar panels. It leaves the solar panels at 140 degrees F and goes through duct work leading under the building. The heat is stored in the sand under the building. The now cooled air returns to the greenhouse and is heated again.
STORING THE SUN'S ENERGY. Contractors had to dig a 6-ft deep hole to lay the foundation pillars for the industrial building. We took advantage of that to put in layers of piping in the sand to store solar heat under the building. That much sand represents a huge thermal mass. Once heated up, it takes months for the sand to cool back down - all that time heating the building. But when that’s not adequate, the backup plan is hot-water in-floor heat, powered by a heat pump. This is fairly conventional, using about a mile and a half of PEX hot water pipes tied to the reinforcing steel before the concrete floor is poured. Heat pumps run about 400 percent efficient compared to electric heat.