Greenhouse Construction is Underway!
Last summer we began construction of the first building on our property, a passive solar greenhouse. While we are anxious to begin building our home, we thought it best to undertake a smaller project first in order to get a better understanding of the steps involved in DIY home construction. We also chose to build our greenhouse first in order to experiment with passive heating and cooling techniques before finalizing the design of our passive solar home.
- DIY Concrete Foundation
- The first step in constructing the greenhouse was to create the foundation. We chose a concrete foundation in order to increase the building's thermal mass and to reduce our heating needs. We are lucky to have friends and family with concrete experience who were here to help us with this project. This article has photos that were taken while the concrete foundation was being poured, along with an overview of our experience.
- Greenhouse Progress
- Once the foundation was in place we attached the frame directly to the concrete pad and then framed out the structure primarily with 2" x 4" and 2" x 6" lumber. On the exterior we attached rigid foam insulation, covered by craft paper and then stucco lathe. We've installed all the windows and doors and finished the roof with rolled roofing.
- Before installing the drywall we ran electric and phone lines into the structure, as well as water and septic lines. Then we installed blown cellulose insulation in all the walls and ceiling to give the structure maximum insulating value. As last year came to a close and winter weather was quickly setting in we successfully hooked up a wood stove and toilet in the greenhouse.
We are currently working on drywall finishing and painting, as well as putting in a canning kitchen. We've made progress on the porch which is now attached to the North side of the greenhouse and also began applying the scratch coat of the stucco.
There is no doubt that the construction of our greenhouse has kept us really busy! We hope to have the chance soon to post more details on the progress we've made since last summer.
- What is Passive Solar?
- Our experimental greenhouse is designed to heat and cool passively and should require little energy to heat in the winter and will likely maintain its cool in the summer. To read more about how our passive solar design works, click here.