Re: Questions about autonomous houses

Pat, you said:

> 	I've emailed Hubert van Hecke, who's page I reference, and even
> he, as an aerogel researcher, doesn't see much demand commercially. So
> far, they're mainly a scientific curiosity, and used in esoteric
> research, such as space projects. Current housing practices use stone
> and wood and foam as insulators

You really should check out ... some friends of mine at
the MIT house of the future project are thinking of using their panels
(either aerogel or fiberglass insulation) in a project. It looks like
the site only mentions fiberglass insulation, but last I heard they were
working on aerogel panels as well.

here's an example of a domed roof that they built

One concern my MIT friends have is that quasi-transparent panel systems
would let too much IR in and the house would get overheated... do you
see this as a problem? I guess passive heating is like that...?

And (re: your discussion on the RS site) one of the specs says that
panels should be faced with translucent fiberglass, as lexan etc. are
not acceptable because they burn too easily.

Anyway, I highly recommend you get in touch with the Kalwall folks as
they seem to know what they're doing.

     "Today, Robert Keller's original translucent sandwich panel
     invention has evolved into Kalwall's comprehensive 8 Building
     Systems which can be a part, or all, of the walls or roof of any
     structure, or be an entire building."

The only caveat is that they're a little picky about projects/people
they are willing to work with... the site mentions that, for whatever
reason, their products are not available to the general public or for
residential applications. So, I would just say, get in touch with them,
but proceed with caution lest ye get brushed off. I don't know if their
immediate reaction to your ideas would be "Hey, that's really cool!" or
"We hear from crazy people all the time, don't call us we'll call you."
which would suck.

Another (unrelated) question I had - if a person lives in a metal-framed
dome, what (if anything) do you do about lightning?


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