Sunday, March 17, 2013

Saving Heat

Old Farm’s heating system has three zones which is lucky for a house of 1100 sq. ft. The master bedroom is one; the kitchen, living room and bathroom are another; and the upstairs is the third; which we have not set-up yet. It also has three fireplaces downstairs with a wood stove in the kitchen hearth - which heats all of the areas with plumbing as well as the colder northern side of the house. This wood stove can heat the second zone easily if only one of us is here and sleeping on the couch. With ceilings as low as 7 ½’, it is easier to keep warm here in cold weather.

In Scandinavia, bedrooms aren't heated much in conservative homes - which is a great way to be greener at Old Farm. A thick feather blanket and your own body are the main sources of heat. (I plan to store extra down bedding on the shelf in our new foyer closet.)

Old Farm was built directly in line with the North Star behind it, which means the front of the house faces south, is sun-lit and warmed all day long. Above is the master bedroom in late afternoon; still warmed enough to go without additional heat most times. Early Cape homes were situated like this because of the solar heat and light advantage, although many have been moved to new sites. The previous owner of Old Farm believed it is the oldest remaining private home on the Cape which has not been moved, added on to or made into a public place.

The front door of Old Farm's two small windows also face south and add a bit of light and warmth to the foyer. We plan to install a large, opening skylight in the southern roof above this door to add much sunlight and ventilation to the upstairs loft area. The earliest glass windows used by colonists were made of diamond-shaped leaded panes, however, many were painted over to avoid paying the English tax on sunlight in their homes! 

Here is our main source of split wood at home in Hopewell which fills the old barn foundation. Most of this wood is Osage Orange; the hardest of wood types, and was cut down alongside a neighboring road being widened. We made over twenty trips to haul the large and heavy logs here to be split. The logs are so dense that they will not float in water and create very hot fires. Small batches will go to Old Farm.

If this wood was not collected to be burned, it would rot and release just as much CO2 into the atmosphere. I stake sighted strings which help keep the stacks stable, dry and wheelbarrow distance apart.

Kubbestool - Log Carved Chair

This chair was made by our good friend Benny Granskog, who comes from a family of Finnish carpenters. The log is hollowed, shaped and then seasoned. It sits on our side porch in Hopewell between wood stacks for our stoves. We like to store large pots of winter soup on it instead of using the refrigerator's energy, and put our boots on to collect more wood.

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