It is really hard to tell from this angle. All of the stationary windows are in place in the front green house and in the east sunroom.
I want to remind everyone that we did not purchase glass for these windows. We are reusing reclaimed glass from scrapped out Coca-Cola coolers. This glass is 3/4 inch think with tempered window on the outside and insulated.
One challenge that we have found with using reclaimed glass. Even if the door size is exactly the same does not mean that the window pane that is within the door frame is the same size from window to window. We have found two different sizes of window in the same size door frame. We were not aware of this when we picked up the windows. With all of our framing now put up we are in a bit of a struggle to find enough that are the same size that will fit in our framing.
If you are able to use reclaimed glass from Coca-Cola coolers and the glass is free pick up double what you need. Just in case you run into the same problem with different sized glass. Because of the glass being dirty we found many after they were cleaned up that the seal had broken. So this is another reason to pick up more than you need.
FYI: We were not able to take the door frames off until we were ready to put them into the framing. Once out of the frame the windows are easily able to break. With the door intact they are incredibly strong. Because we did not have space in our pole barn we stored the windows out side with the tempered glass facing outward.
This photo shows the door within the frame and then when it is taken out. We have 4 windows that are in the greenhouse and 2 windows in the sunroom that will be opening windows. Allen hasn't had time yet to figure out how he is going to construct these windows. So at the moment they are sitting in the door frame in the spot where they will be going. This is why you see a window in a black door frame in with all the other windows that are in place. If you look in the above photo it is right in the middle.
Getting Bottle Bricks Ready
We set up the east sunroom as our bottle cutting station. We are using a wet tile saw to cut the bottles with. The water that is used with the saw keeps the glass cool as it is being cut. The glass does chip at the edges. But when two ends of the bottles are put together and taped it doesn't matter if the edges are chipped.
These are what glass bottle bricks look like. We put a lighter bottle with the brown and blue bottles because of how dark they are. This allows more light to come through the darker colors.
Allen made up a frame that is the same size as the framed in window. This allows us to create different designs with the bottles in the space that it will be going into. This step helps us to pre-determine what the window is going to look like and the pattern for each row of bottle bricks.
We have decided on this pattern with the diamond in the middle. This design will carry the pattern through each of the 7 windows that it will be going into. We are going to have two windows that will be blue, brown and green with one window that will have a clear diamond with a colored background. The windows with the same color will be exactly opposite of each other with the clear design in the middle.
The open spaces above the tall windows is where the diamond bottle windows will be placed. We will be starting this As Soon As Possible. We are in the process of collecting the bottles and putting them together.
We are in need of blue, green and clear beer or soda bottles. We will be using 544 clear bottles, 232 of each green, brown and blue color. This will be a total of 1240 bottles for just the two sunrooms. This will be for 14 windows.
We have yet to figure out the two entry way's where bottles will go around each exterior door.
If you live in the West Plains area and have bottles that you are willing to donate, please give Allen or Mary Severin a call to arrange for a meeting or a visit out to the Earthship. 417-274-9885
A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone that has brought us bottles.
The bottom of the greenhouse windows are all in place. There are 4 windows that will open. We have yet to design these windows. So they are just sitting in place for the time being.
The greenhouse is 10 feet wide and 53 feet long. There will be 3 planters located on each side of the front room door and all along the exterior windows. This will allow us to have a 4 foot walk way in the middle.
This is a view of the greenhouse and the interior part of the house. The door going into the house will be a sliding door and the other door going into the greenhouse will be a glass door. the open space between the two doors will be a glass bottle window.
Allen and Arron finishing up the main part of the roof of the west side sunroom.
Each sunroom has a small skylight . That is what the silver thing sticking out of the roof is for.
This is the east sunroom that has the roof on it and 5 lower windows in. There are two windows yet to put in. We just have them temporarily setting in place. These windows will open from the inside. Allen has yet to design this and make it work.
The upper spaces will be for glass bottle windows. We are planning on having a diamond design in different colors for those windows.
This is the west side of the earthship with metal on it. We will cover the EPDM rubber with more dirt that will go up to the bottom of the metal.
Our neighbor, Robert Jones has been a blessing. Robert is on the ladder helping Allen finish that corner of the green house. The 3 silver boxes that are on top of the main green house are the 3 skylight boxes that will open and allow the green house to vent out the air and humidity. The sun room sky lights will operate the same way.
Solar system is now fully functioning. Each solar panel is 300 watts for a total of 1200 watts. The windmill can generate up to 1600 watts on a really windy day. This system will power a home using 2400 watts of power per day. This system is located behind our Earthship.
Before we left Wisconsin we estimated that we would use 2400 watts of power with the lifestyle we were living. We had cut back on our lifestyle tremendously before we moved. We didn't use a microwave, dishwasher or dryer. To get the amount we estimated we used a meter that read the amount of energy that the device used in the time it was used for.
Our Earthship will use only LED lighting. We will not use anything that has a heating element so no toaster, coffee pot, electric blankets, clothes dryer, etc. Heating elements draw energy out of the batteries extremely fast. It isn't worth the convince. I would rather hang my clothes out to dry on a clothes line and have the energy to watch a movie with my family.
When figuring out your power usage my question to you is. Are you willing to go without a few things and adjust your lifestyle? If the answer is no then switching to solar will cost a bit more than you may want to pay for. Solar is like buying your power in advance. The better you take care of your system the longer your system will last. If you are willing to adjust your lifestyle. Then you can probably get away with a system that won't cost you $20,000 to $30,000. Instead it could cost around $10,000 just like ours did.
This is our solar system components located in the back hallway of our Earthship. This also includes the components for the windmill as well. A word of wisdom. If you have not gone to school or have not studied how to put together a solar system together you may want to hire it done. We had no clue how to put this system together. Check on credentials if you do decide to hire someone to put your system together for you.
This is our battery box that stores 8 Trojan batteries. This is also located in our systems room. Most Earthships will put them on the roof in an insulated box. We had given this a lot of thought. We came to the understanding that batteries are sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. We were told if we can have them inside our home then we are better off for doing that. The batteries will last longer. It will not add thousands of pounds to the roof. And it makes it more convenient for checking on the batteries every month for water. They are there which will remind us to check them every now and then.
The white pipe going up has a fan attached to it. This fan is to move any gasses inside the battery box up and out to an outside vent.
Having the batteries towards the back of the Earthship is the closest place we can put them to our solar panels and windmill. The shorter the run for cable the more power that you will have.
Mary Severin writes about her families embarkment on a learning adventure to build an Upcycled Home using Earthship Principals. To find out what these Principals are click on the Earthship Principals link above.