The key player in that feat is the home’s many windows — which, unlike the windows used in so many green building projects, feature no low-e or any other type of coating (to let the full spectrum of sun light into the greenhouse and living domes). Bearup gives kudos to Andersen Windows for halting their normal production schedule to custom-make the windows for the project.
image via Hybrid Homes
“I know from past projects that the coating on glass does impede the solar gain in homes,” he said, “sometimes to as much as 4-6 degrees, depending on the coating. We were able to get tomato plants to produce for eight months inside the greenhouse before they were moved outside, and the glass in those windows are the reason.” He goes on to note that the project would not perform as it does without Anderson’s clear glass, non-coated windows.
The entire project (aside from the wall studs and windows) was constructed using re-used, reclaimed and recycled materials, including locally reclaimed barnwood.
The Northern Michigan earth shelter project operates as a training facility, a home and a functioning farm. The farm employs biodynamic agriculture (a form of organic agriculture) in its hay fields and grazing pastures, as well as sustainable strategies like grazing rotations for the farm’s livestock, which include Scottish Highlander cows, Guernsey milk cows, horses, chickens, turkeys, rabbits, sheep, and pigs.
A series of videos on the construction of the project is available online.
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