Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Sawdust Toilet and Radiant Barrier Insulation

Without our bathroom, the sawdust toilet is doing fabulously. I do have a few problems to report, there's not enough rain to keep the compost pile moist right now, so when I empty the bucket, I take a gallon of water with me. This also helps to rinse the bucket by the way. As was expected, smells are virtually non existent, and the water bill is on it's way down. Like many people, I just never realized how much water gets flushed down the toilet.

By doing some simple calculations (this was before the sawdust toilet) and not including the filling of the wading pool, I found that we have just over half of the national average per person water consumption. This was a result of a rainy first half of summer and modifying our bathroom behavior to flush less. After the sawdust toilet, I expect our consumption to go down an additional 20-30%, though I have had to start watering some of the plants so that may make a difference.

While recycling, er remodeling the bathroom, I decided to put some radiant barrier insulation in some important places. Our last house was absolutely horrible for the cold tile floors, and I am hoping that the radiant barrier in the floor will help at least some of that problem. I have also decided to put some up in the roof and wall sections that are being removed, and the rest of it will go in the attic, hopefully to cover the whole ceiling and reduce heating and cooling bills. I read one figure that claimed that 70% of our heat loss was due to radiant heat losses. Additionally, I will be adding some more insulation to the attic in the fall because there is only something like six inches of rock wool up there, barely worth even mentioning. The former owners claimed to use 600 gallons of propane per winter, and with the state I am finding things, I don't doubt that the central heating system ran constantly. I've also decided to install radiant barrier surrounding the shower. In my reading of technologies like the German Passivhaus, I discovered that a major source of heat can be the shower. Additionally, I like baths that stay warm, so I am interested to see where this will go.

After the move, I am still unable to find the mini-USB cable to get the pictures off the digital camera, but I have pics of both the toilet and the floor. I'll get them up as soon as I can.


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