Sunday, April 30, 2006

Latest Design - 4/28/06

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Meeting: ESW/Members of Ithaca Green Building Alliance (5-7:30p, 4.5.06)

In Attendance: James, Betsy, Tim, Erica, Avi

A few members of the ESW Eco-Hostel team went to Trumansburg to check out some green building alternatives for the Eco-Hostel. We met with EJ George, Aarron Dennis, and Sarah Highland from the Ithaca Green Building Alliance. EJ George and Aarron Dennis built and live in a timber framed house with straw bale walls. Also, their front yard has a small circular timber framed structure called a Yurt, which is where they maintain a wood shop. Pictures Below. Notes below by Betsy:

Clay/ earthen floor (can be purchased from Six mile creek and Cornell)
Oil on top took 1 yr to dry, yet more processed oil is available
Avoid placing in high traffic areas
Avoid exposure to moisture—wet shoes, kitchen, bathroom
Avoid “drop” impact—dented floor with heavy wood, yet easy to repair
Possibilities—living area, children play area
Benefits—local material, soft impact on feet (a lot more give than concrete)

Straw bale house:
14”-18” thick, doesn’t change R value much once its thick If densely packed, works very well
Timber frame on inside of straw bales helps avoid leaks

Problems associated with straw bale:
Moisture—Needs a high overhang, locate showers away from walls
IAQ—mechanical ventilation, noisy, expensive, but possible
Straw bale is not an option for the portion that is built into the ground
Bugs and fire aren’t major issues

Plastered on both sides—needs several coats
Lime stabilized clay plaster—coated with lime plaster and lime paint
Lime is for mold protection
Ideally, there would be time for drying during construction, so mold prevention would not be as necessary
Possibilities—we could use for part of the above ground part or use for interior wall

ICF—Insulating Concrete Forms:
Structurally sound—withstands storms, weather
Thick thermal mass moderates indoor temperature (warm in winter, cool in summer)
Major energy saver
Flexibility in design (more options than timber frame)
Reduces construction waste
If we use concrete (likely), this is a good type to use

We will need insulation underground—the earth is about 50 degrees
Options—fiberglass or double wall with cellulose
Both types have different issues
Both work best when avoiding moisture exposure

Need to consider staffing—24 hrs? does the device need to fed? Maintenance?
Need some type of central heating

Air circulation will be an issue tied in with heating
Recommended that we design oversized, so it extends to the corners of the building
Best to have it designed in, even if we don’t need to use it, unpredictable weather
Radiant heat is expensive, but can be done
A lot of parts involved—many things could break
With a wood stove and radiant heat together—they can “fight” with each other
Radiant is on a thermostat and stove is less regulated heat level
Still possible—needs to be researched more
Renovis Energy—Rob Jedi, in Ithaca, very busy but nice if available sometime

Living machines:
Very expensive and many health codes associated
Berea College—Berea, KY—will drink the water but its not health code certified
Penn State University
Possibilities—needs to be researched for practicality

Sod roof—Motherplants:
Ventilation becomes an issue
Double layer—foam (not a preferred material)
It gets really heavy with saturated soil and 50 lbs of snow
Needs very strong supports
Possibilities—maybe for one portion of roof, over suites as suggested

Timber Frame:
Available timber is 8 x 12 at biggest
Hard to get large oak beams—expensive
The span (likely to be 8 ft)—will dictate the design plans
8 feet bays between bents—we need to develop a grid for the design plans
Will determine what we can do with window size and location
Their house was white pine (stable) and larch (strong as oak, rot resistant, twisty)

Floor load:
We will need a commercial license—has triple the floor load of residential
100 lb/sq ft. floor load required

Codes and licensing:
Many, many, many—for everything
We will need to meet commercial codes—Ithaca
Needs to be considered when using different materials

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Preliminary Design and Goals

This two story preliminary design shows our current ideas. This design will be critiqued in the coming weeks by local green builders.

Also, some overall goals of the project:
Eco Hostel Idea
•Environmentally friendly eco-hostel
•Adult education (visitors, area residents, and college students)
•Affordable and welcoming retreat for visitors to the Ithaca area
• Informal and Scheduled learning (farming, permaculture, natural healing and sustainable living)

Hostel Requirements
•Sleeping accommodations for ~30 guests
•Small community kitchen
•Community area (acts as living room, class room, dining area, TV room, etc.)
•Men’s and Women’s bathrooms with showers
•Office space with towel/sheet laundry area
•Small greenhouse area for small citrus tree, seed starting area
•Living machine water filtration system

Suggested Goals
•LEED Silver or above rating
•3-4 Focus elements
-Living Machine
-Solar Hot Water Heater
-Green Roof (including sod overflow camping?)
-Reused materials (windows, wood, fixtures)

Other Related Components of Level Green
•Barn renovated for community activities
•Varna Café and additional Hostel locations
•Additional “Green Building Example” cabins on property
-First additional structure will be Erica Bush’s BArch ’06 Thesis Project

Friday, February 17, 2006

Meeting: Trip to Tompkins County SWCD (1:15 - 2:30, 2.13.06)

In attendance: John, Erica, Avi

We visited the Tompkins County soil and water conservation district to obtain additional site information. The maps and soil classificatios we obtained were the same that we found in Carpenter library and Olin map library.

Meeting: ESW (3:15 - 5:00, 2.10.06, Duffield)

In attendance: John, Avi, Erica, Li Ling, Julia, Katie

Discussed Eco Hostel research areas and assigned tasks:

-Site Layout
Soil survey: AVI&JAMES&ERICA going to office Monday at 115
Parking lot with respect to LEED: AVI
Bike parking(RIBs connection): AVI

-Building Design
4 Designs (two ramped, one elevator, one manual elevator): ERICA,
ADA compliance: ERICA
How big for rooms: ERICA
How big for kitchen/common areas: ERICA
Movable Partitions: CATHERINE
Courtyard Scheme:?

-Building Materials:
Insulation: JULIA
Timber Framing:JAMES
Cordwood Masonry:JAMES
Moisture Control: AVI

Tax Benefits: JAMES
Scorecard for Charrete: JAMES

How much water is needed:KATIE
How much hot water is needed: KATIE
Fire protection system:?
Living Machine: KATIE
Rainwater catchment: LILING&KATIE
Drainwater Heat Recovery: LILING&KATIE

What is heating load in Ithaca: JULIA
AC or Not:?
Exhaust Fans: DOUG
Controllability in rooms: DOUG
Effect of partitions: DOUG
ZED homes pipes out of roof: JAMES
Heating Underneath Floor:?

Solar Insolation Values: JULIA
Heating Degree Days, Cooling DDs: JULIA
Appliances (Laundry, Effect of Kitchen size):JULIA
What is normal/baseline according to LEED: JULIA
Solar Photovoltaic: JULIA
Solar Hot Water Heater: JULIA
Wind turbine: JULIA

Meeting: ESW/ Dean (3:15 - 5, 2.3.06, Duffield)

In attendance: Doug, John, Avi, Dean, Li Ling, Julia

Monday, February 06, 2006

Meeting: Level Green/ ESW/ Nick Rajkovich (2-3p, 11.9.05, Duffield)

In Attendance: Avi, James, Nick, Patricia

Comments/thoughts from Nick Rajkovich, faculty, Dept of Architecture
- recommends finding one FACULTY ADVISOR for the project, perhaps in Engineering

- any construction will need a stamped architectural design, most likely under the commercial building code, which is stricter than residential

- it's important to find an architect who's interested in green building to work with the project throughout the process; he can recommend some from the local area

- was one of the advisors for the Solar Decathalon, which may have broken ground for the Town of Ithaca's consideration of green building permits

- NYS building codes do NOT allow for grey water

- Having architecture and engineering firms involved in the process will expand funding opportunities as well as provide experience, expertise and professional grounding - he will contact CHRISTIAN NIELSEN at Thomas Assos in Ithaca, which has both architects and engineers and is already involved with Sustainable Tompkins

- recommends a late January Charette to bring all stakeholders to the table to define needed research, a design and action agenda, and timeline. Perhaps a Saturday meeting at Thomas Associates.

- will consider anchoring an independent study for Spring semester. Given Architecture requirements for its majors, this would have to be an elective rather than a studio.

- something to keep in mind: architecture and engineering students have different language and different ways of working

- LEED is important as a bottom-line certification standard, despite its limitations

- earth-sheltered designs require more attention to foundations and therefore may cost more

- used to work with NYSERDA. Important not to contact them too early because they may lose interest along the longer path, given all they have on their plates. Project should be proposed around the time we are going to the Town of Ithaca for zoning etc

James Smithmeyer
- has spoken with Steve in Facilities, at the Sustainability Summit

- will explore GIS resources

Patricia will
- look into the process for proposing a Cornell Alumni Club presentation

- will ask Engineering Alumni Affairs staff about alumni who might be interested in such a project

- will email Professor Ingraffea about the project

- will create a timeline and participant roster, which can be put up on the blog

- will contact the Cornell Participatory action Research Network and the Public Service Center

- Professor Stipanuk is interested in inviting his Spring '06 Tourism (Hotel) students to be involved with the project; would like our help alerting students across campus to his course

Monday, November 07, 2005

Site Investigation

Preliminary Site Investigation:

Shown below are maps of Level Green, they include a road map, property map, aerial photo, surficial geology map, and bedrock geology map. The geological maps were obtained from Olin Library Map room. Other maps were found online from Tompkins County GIS and The New York State Interactive Mapping Gateway.

The proposed Eco-Hostel will be built on property owned by Level Green, located at 1519 Slaterville Rd (Rt. 79). Slaterville road boarders the proposed Eco Hostel to the north. The property map shown below shows Level Green's property lines labeled as "1". The property gently slopes (< 8% grade) to the south and is heavily vegated by grasses and shrubs. The surficial geology is mainly till, which has variable texture (e.g. clay, silt-clay, boulder clay) and has a potential for land instability on steep slopes. Varved clays are likely to appear. Thicknesses to bedrock range from 1 - 50 meters. This site rests on part of the Ithaca Formation bedrock (West River Shale, Genundewa Limestone, Penn Yan, Geneseo Shales, and Sherbune Siltstone).

Road Map, New York State Interactive Mapping Gateway

Property Map, Tompkins County GIS

Aerial Photo, New York State Interactive Mapping Gateway

Surficial Geology Map, Robert H. Fakundiny, State Geologist

Bedrock Geology Map, James F. Davis, State Geologyis, Geological Survey

Friday, November 04, 2005

Meeting: Level Green/ ESW (2-3p, 11.4.05, Duffield)

In attendance: Avi, James, Catherine, Patricia

- Patricia handed out an updated contact list (see below in contact section)

- We also went over the ECO-Hostel Project Objectives/Activities/Timeline

- Decided upon a new meeting time in order to allow an Architecture Professor Nick Rajkovich, meet with us.