Low-carbon Solar Mass

I was relieved to see the the house at 9805 - 84th Avenue get torn down a couple of weeks ago. Once it was gone, I figured, I wouldn't be obsessively compelled to recycle it anymore.

The day before the tear down, though, Peter Amerongen started talking about reusing the foundation bricks as a mass wall inside the Mill Creek NetZero Home (MCNZH). I had raised the idea a few times previously, and he hadn't seemed all that enthusiastic, so I was going to let it go. He's the expert at reusing old material, after all.

The night of the demolition, this is what the site looked like:

We had asked the track hoe operator to leave as many foundation bricks as possible, and he obliged:

So I took out the wheel barrow and got to work. The grey clay bricks from the foundation are in great shape. When first inspecting bricks in the home for reusability, I was disappointed because the chimney bricks were really crumbly. However, Peter has since explained that I was pulling the worst-quality bricks from the home - the bricks in the chimney (the exterior portion, anyway) are constantly being subjected to big temperature swings.

Hauling grey clay bricks by wheelbarrow.

The mass wall will be bathed in sunshine during the heating season, right behind the MCNZH's wood burning stove. With Peter's help, I saved 4000-5000 pounds of bricks from the old house. It's significant because the mass in solar houses can be extremely energy intensive. Most of ours comes from concrete, which is a huge contributor to climate change.

So I feel good about these bricks. We saved diesel fuel not hauling them to the landfill, and they will act as batteries for solar and wood energy for years and years to come.

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