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Old 06-17-2014, 04:14 PM   #61
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For shelter that saves on HVAC energy, see also Passive Annual Heat Storage, where author John Hait indicates that insulating the soil out something like 20 fee from your underground home creates a large soil thermal storage area which can be utilized by buried air/water circulating tubes, with modest blower/pump power gaining access to a lot of stored thermal difference. An above ground home may need a lot of insulation to make up for the surrounding thermal storage of an underground home.
http://www.norishouse.com/PAHS/UmbrellaHouse.html
http://earthshelters.com/

Here in AZ older typical thick adobe walls provide thermal storage & due to slow heat transmission a thermal swing that helps. My bet though is that even these would gain significantly from some means to add/remove heat against the outside of the adobe, covered by significant insulation.
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Old 06-17-2014, 04:32 PM   #62
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I am not knowledgeable about different Earthship projects, but have seen some on TV or the Web.

Somewhat related was the Biosphere project near Tucson that was abandoned and turned into a public exhibit. We did take a tour of that more than 10 years back. I just remember about it now, and wonder what has become of that.
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Old 06-17-2014, 04:48 PM   #63
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Actually the high thermal mass for day to day variations has existed in Ca since Sutters Fort. I recall one time we got to Sacramento and it was very hot (100 or so) we went inside Sutters Fort and it was cool. Of course 2 foot thick adobe does help a lot there.
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Old 04-03-2015, 08:37 AM   #64
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We are in deep (and cake dried) doodoo.

Here we are, a year later and the drought persists. California's governor just announced some drastic measures to reduce water consumption. On the Web, one site says the drought in CA is the worse in 600 years, another says in 1200 years. The new drought map shows that the drought is lessened in other states, but gets worse in CA, and extends into Oregon. And it starts to show up in North and South Dakota, and other places.

Note that even though the drought is getting less severe in other places, it still means that the water supply continues to get strained, and does not get replenished. We need some wet years for that to happen. Here in the SW, it has been a dry and much warmer than normal winter. We are still in deep doodoo.

PS. Look at Hawaii and Alaska!

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Old 04-03-2015, 10:29 AM   #65
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I just noticed that on my last water bill, 50% of the bill was for water and the rest is for "Service." What service? No detail of the "service" was provided.

My home golf course is inside a vineyard. I expect more changes to either the vineyard or the course. Last year, they were told to cut water by 25%.

No sign of rain. It's not too late for a rain dance.
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Old 04-03-2015, 10:54 AM   #66
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One of the few people - forgot his name - who made billions out of predicting the CDO housing blowup subsequently predicted that water in the USA was going to be the next big blowup. That was a few years ago.

I hope he's wrong, it doesn't look so good though.
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Old 04-03-2015, 11:26 AM   #67
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Current drought aside, the entire southwest is generally arid, yet we grow lawns and veggies and golf courses...
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Old 04-03-2015, 11:33 AM   #68
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Current drought aside, the entire southwest is generally arid, yet we grow lawns and veggies and golf courses...
And rice, of all strange crops for an arid climate.

Oh well, nature has a way of putting an end to the most egregiously stupid human tricks.

Ha
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Old 04-03-2015, 11:43 AM   #69
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Here in Northern California the largest reservoir is 88% full. We've had below average rain but better then the previous years. On the other hand, the Sierra snow pack is terribly low. That won't affect our water supply here.

We just finished a landscape job in the back that removed the lawn. With my work in the front that completes the conversion to 100% drip irrigation. Shouldn't have too much problem reducing water consumption by 25% as California is mandating.

The neighbors put in a new pool this year. They have 2 teenage sons and I'm sure that was the motivation. Not sure if a pool with cover uses as much water as a lawn. According to the chart in this article, a covered pool is as good as a drought tolerant landscape:
Water agencies are learning pools aren't a big factor during drought - LA Times
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Old 04-03-2015, 11:44 AM   #70
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Current drought aside, the entire southwest is generally arid, yet we grow lawns and veggies and golf courses...
I like the Southwest, but if I was going to live in the desert, I'd want it to LOOK like the desert! Rocks, sand, cactuses, etc. Kind of stark, desolate, but beautiful in its own way. Once you import all those lush lawns and palm trees, you basically have Florida, with mountains in the background.

I used to have some friends that lived in Barstow, CA, and I visited them a few times. I loved it there! Don't know if I'd want to live there, but I had fun visiting. Their yard was pretty minimal, as I recall. But, the last time I was out there was 1992. I just did a Google street view, and it looks like all the houses on their old street have lawns now, although some are more brown than green.
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Old 04-03-2015, 01:01 PM   #71
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I like the Southwest, but if I was going to live in the desert, I'd want it to LOOK like the desert! Rocks, sand, cactuses, etc. Kind of stark, desolate, but beautiful in its own way. Once you import all those lush lawns and palm trees, you basically have Florida, with mountains in the background.
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Old 04-03-2015, 01:05 PM   #72
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Only if I can let it run free. My Mom has had horses for 25 years now, and the damned things are a lot of work!
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Old 04-03-2015, 01:08 PM   #73
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Read recently California is rationing water, and building a water park.

Dublin Residents Question Timing Of Building New $35 Million Water Park « CBS San Francisco



Dublin Residents Question Timing Of Building New $35 Million Water Park

by John Ramos April 2, 2015 7:29 PM
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Old 04-03-2015, 01:22 PM   #74
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As I was gazing over the vast expanse of the mighty Pacific Ocean last weekend, I noted the irony of our water problems here in California.
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Old 04-03-2015, 01:49 PM   #75
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And rice, of all strange crops for an arid climate.

Oh well, nature has a way of putting an end to the most egregiously stupid human tricks.

Ha
Tell people no more lawns and the water supply problem in many areas would be instantly fixed for the next 20 years.
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Old 04-03-2015, 01:52 PM   #76
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As I was gazing over the vast expanse of the mighty Pacific Ocean last weekend, I noted the irony of our water problems here in California.
Desalination is expensive, but it might be worth it to save our rivers/aquifers.
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Old 04-03-2015, 02:17 PM   #77
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Just back from a southwest trip. Here's a photo of the Glen Canyon dam on the Colorado River in Page, Az. The white area on the canyon sides used to be under water. The tour guide explained that the water is down about 109' from it's highest point. But it's not as low as in 2005. They expect the water to rise soon as the spring thaw in the mountains continues. But with rocky Mountain snowfall at 74% of normal, I can't see that the level will rise much.
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Old 04-03-2015, 02:26 PM   #78
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I just came back into the home from doing work outside. Earlier in the week, the weather forecast promised 84F for the weekend, now they say it's going to be 89F.

Up in my high-country home, we had little snow this year. It's going to be bleak.

Dunno about rice growing in the SW, but they do grow it in Sacramento supposedly, and I have not seen it in my travel. But veggies are grown in Yuma in the winter, and that area supplies 90% of winter veggie for the US. The water there comes from the Colorado river.

I got rid of my lawn long ago. However, my pool and veggie garden consume some water, and I do not know how much that is compared to a lawn. So, I am guilty there too.

Desalination takes a lot of electricity, I read. With solar power, perhaps it is more economical as it is one way to use up all that power during the day and it does not have to be stored. It may still be too expensive for agriculture though.
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Old 04-03-2015, 03:15 PM   #79
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Hang on. A double barreled storm will hit California next week.
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Old 04-03-2015, 03:23 PM   #80
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I tend to agree with the thought that CA (in particular) doesn't have a water supply problem, it has a water pricing problem. Water in California: Too Scarce, or Just Underpriced? - Hit & Run : Reason.com. Even worse is the fact that a lot of towns will fine you for not having a lawn, or for using your yard as a vegetable garden or something else instead. Definitely working at cross purposes.
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