Tuesday, November 4, 2008

hawt n cold - sauna

A grindbygg is the acme of innovative large timber construction methods, in my opinion. It is an art form. But it has few if any advantages over light frame construction when it comes to its capacity to provide for efficient insulation. The ease of basic stud framing techniques make it the preferred choice.

I love my house, however the survivalist/appropriate technology enthusiast in me wants an emergency shelter that depends on little more than my sweat to keep it operational. A sauna, with an attached changing room, greenhouse, and watertank room would be ideal. As a tribute to the form, the building itself would adhere to classic grindbygg proportions with a 1:1.5 (34 degrees) slope gable roof. A dry/wet sauna with wood heater would form the engine of the building, with wall construction accordingly to allow high humidity levels. Next to it would be a windowless rainwater tank building, adjacent though separate from the sauna. One of its main functions would be to recover the heat energy left in the sauna after its use by means of a radiator/heat pump device. Next to this would be a greenhouse, used to start garden plants to extend the short growing season and house various tanks for a small aquaculture/aquaponics hobby. Perhaps space for a well-fed compost heap could be incorporated somewhere into the design as well. The changing room would be exceptionally well insulated, thus serving as an emergency shelter.

[Editor's note: Realizing that I may not be reaching enough people with standard English alone, I have decided to translate the following portion into lolcat for your reading pleasure.]

in sauna u git hawt. but coolin down iz an equally important part ov teh sauna cycle - cold watr immershun, rollin around in da snow nakd, or exposure 2 cold fresh air. once u begin 2 shivr, thaz teh signal 2 go bak 2 teh sauna. dis cylce has been shown 2 reduce stres hormonez, lowr blood presure an improoov cardiovascular condishuns. perhaps 4 dis reason, historically saunas has been teh most sacrd placez aftr teh church, an most haus which cud afford 2 build sauna had wan. it wuz often sed "if booze, tar, or teh sauna wont halp, teh illnes iz fatal."

- edited 6 November 2008

I thought a wood yurt of the sort that Bill Coperthwaite makes might be a reasonable way to make a sauna or banya (the Russian term), as many have. Plans are available at just $25 dollars. But I am having second thoughts, as it is a departure from the simplicity of basic grindbygg design. Yurts are designed to be made using small strips of wood, not larger sticks and beams.

- last edited 19 November 2008

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