Saturday, June 09, 2007

Lazy Scavenger Results

At long last, the results of the Lazy Scavenger Challenge.

In a sec...

First, thanks to everyone who participated. There were a ton of creative ideas, and I wish I could use them all. Many of these led me to do additional research on a variety of interesting topics, which is always fun.

It was very tough selecting a winner. I even thought about awarding second and third prizes, but it was hard enough picking out one, much less three.

My favorite idea was one that will require a few additional materials. But I really like it, and it's my contest, so I'm bending the rules. I think the payback will be worth it.

Thanks to M.I. for sending me (among other things), a link to the diagram below from the Maine Solar Energy Association:
It's a bit hard to see, especially if you don't click to enlarge, but it's essentially a low-tech solar space heater. Or should I say "thermosiphon" space heater. This will make good use of the big black sheet metal. I may even be able to build more than one. I'll need to track down some glass or other glazing material, and some foam insulation board. But apparently on a sunny winter day, this type of design can draw air out of your room, add 20+ degrees to it, and send it back into the room without a single watt of electricity or other fuel being used.

I ran across a variety of similar designs - one even used beer cans painted black. What I like about this particular design though is that it can be placed in an existing window without blocking it or anything. Some thermosiphon designs block the window, and some involve cutting holes in the wall, neither of which are desirable for a project made out of scrap materials by an amateur with no certainty of its actual effectiveness.

M.I. has selected an assortment of heirloom seeds for her winning entry.

So thanks again to all of you for the great ideas. I guess now I have to build it, and then we'll have to wait until winter to see how well it actually works.

And for everybody else, I'll make you a deal: If I get around to using any of the other ideas, I'll send out more prizes.

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At 6/10/2007 8:43 AM, Blogger fatguyonalittlebike said...

I believe Mother Earth news also had a published story about building something like that. You may want to check there if you need more info and schematics.

At 6/13/2007 4:36 AM, Anonymous kate said...

This looks great. I'd seen the black beer can one too, but I like this better.

Good luck, and let us know how it turns out.

At 6/13/2007 1:11 PM, Blogger Amy said...

i love this idea, especially that it can go into an existing window!

i just found your site thru a simple living site and been reading you older posts. Having been an organic farmer for the past 7 years or so, i thought i'd pass along 2 thoughts:

1- never did like the soil blocks. If everything is done perectly, they're great, if not.... They crust over or fall apart.

2- chickens are rarely compatible with a garden, unless all plants are really mature and tall. Like okra, corn,. otherwise,expect to see chicken pecks and scratching damage everywhere. Especially tomatoes. they're wonderful to clean up after harvest though. Premier fencing sells a 'poultry net' temporary electrified fence that is fabulous for moving birdsaround where you need them. Udually willkeep chickens in/out without electricity--elect. to keep predators out.


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