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re: what would be the most energy efficient, safe, low maintenance house  available today?
20 dec 1999
robert w. tom  wrote:
>i was foolish enough to read your last couple of postings... 

oh, you're just pissed off that i said you were full of shit.
more so than mr. althouse, it seems. nobody likes being debunked.
disraeli said it best: "when a man is wrong and he will not admit it, 
he almost always becomes angry."

> have the gall to label mr. althouse's statementst as being bs...

sure. i can spell, too :-) this field is full of confused people,
ranging from self-deluded to charlatanistic. sometimes we hear that
solar house heating won't work at all, and other times we hear wild
performance exaggerations for stupid house heating systems.

bs is bs, and so is truth. our local paper, the collegeville independent
(est. 1875) says, "accept & defend the truth... whatever the source."
they sometimes contradict untruths too, even impolitely, when meeting
unfortunate combinations of ignorance and arrogance. 

>...your ability to pack so much misinformation into so few postings
>(well, not exactly just a "few" either) never ceases to amaze me.

how nice. what are you talking about? perhaps you belong to the higher
order of heavy drapers, without understanding ohm's law for heatflow...

>while i don't agree with many (most) of the statements that
>mr. althouse has offered, i do recognise that he speaks from
>experience, having done the things that he is talking about.

me too. since about 1966. and i can recognize others' mistakes
as well as my own (once in a while :-)

>...oftentimes, the best solutions to a problem are inadvertantly
>stumbled upon while trying to accomplish in the field what one
>was theorising about on paper...

stumbling as a design methodology? sure. i've often been outstanding
in my field, eg in the rain, on a 40 f day, building a shallow pond
in front of a sunspace, or shoveling mud and moving stone to make
drainage ditches... 

>in the real world, plastics suffer from uv degradation over time
>eventually reducing their transmittance.

doh. replex polycarbonate costs 5x less than the cheapest glass, with
better solar transmission and ir blocking, 200x more impact resistance
to children with baseball bats, a 10-year light transmission guarantee
and a 20 year expected mechanical lifetime. my 600 ft^2 steep south
polycarbonate roof has been through high winds, heavy snow and ice,
golf-ball sized hail and 140 f attic temperatures. what more could
you ask of a house roof with no shingles or tarpaper or sheathing?

>in the real world, plastics catch fire, burn and release toxins
>so that if the smoke doesn't kill the occupants, the hot dripping
>plastic & toxin will. 

that's what toxicity and flame spread tests and smoke detectors and
sprinker systems are for. living involves risks. a personal choice.

>...tempered glass from patio door igu... separated, cleaned and
>re-configured, is an excellent, inexpensive, durable material...

sure, if you value your dumpster-diving and scrounging and scraping time
at $0.00 (cd) per hour, a la mother earth news, and don't mind building
more serious support structures than needed for 40' wide by 150' long
sheets of recyclable 4 year 5 cent/ft^2 plastic film. glass greenhouses
have almost completely disappeared in the us for such economic reasons.
if growers had to use expensive, heavy, breakable glass and sunspaces
costing $100/ft^2, they'd be out of business in no time.


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