[permaculture] Alternatives to electricity, LP gas and wood fuel for heating one's living space.

Lawrence F. London, Jr. venaurafarm at bellsouth.net
Tue Mar 16 02:32:57 EDT 2010

yarrow at sfo.com wrote:
> For a superinsulated 300 sf space, do you need supplemental heat? On 
> another list, a person in Oregon's Willamette Valley uses 
> incandescent light bulbs as the only heat source in a small house. To 
> maintain a temp around 60-64F, he uses 7 hanging lights (at eye level 
> or lower) -- on a rheostat, to provide less heat in spring and fall 
> -- and 2 table lamps. The light over the computer is changed to a CFL 
> in summer.

Now I am encouraged to do exactly that.

> I'd try solar with architectural direct gain (masonry where the sun 
> shines on it), plus nighttime window insulation.

I have a masonry room, South facing with very tall, glazed South wall.

I had forgotten about nighttime window insulation. What are good 
materials to use for this, insulated curtains maybe. Options:
nontoxic rigid panels put in place each night (not a bad way to go)
or the foil backed flexible, folding insulation panels or rolls.

> A couple dogs can help, too.

I just have two cats, one is going a little feral, the other dropped two 
successive loads of wolfbait on my bed, right in the middle, wet reeking 
pile and sticky sausages, a thoughtful gift, bansihed from the house 

> I've read about some version of a homemade window-mounted heat pump 
> somewhere -- basically some baffles that speed up the flow of warm 
> air, which is vented to the room, and cooler room air enters at the 
> bottom.

That is an option too. I have a roll of sheet copper 4' X 8' plus a 
number of 5' X 8' sheets of clear polycarbonate, perfect for glazing 
over a box containing the black-painted copper sheet, mounted with 
standoffs from the back for house cold air return flow with hot air 
moving over the face of the copper into the window; mount it outdoors 
against a windowsill, in the window opening. I will mount this in a 
masonry room (insulated masonry walls and insulated concrete floor) with 
lots of South glazing.

I found a window-mounted air conditioner/heat pump by Amana with a SEER 
rating of 10 for $430 - heat pump with resistance heat backup 4 amps
920 watts 8400 BTU heat. This might heat the whole place.

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