Chickee (aka chikee, chiki, chickee huts, stilt houses, or platform dwellings) the word for "house" in the languages of the Seminols and Miccosukees, is a shelter supported by posts, with a raised floor, a thatched roof and open sides. Historically, they were made with palmetto thatch over a bald cypress log frame. Each chickee had only one purpose (cooking or sleeping or eating) and they were organized within a camp-type community. Recently, these are most often used in backcountry areas of the Everglades or anywhere mangroves or large bodies of water prevent camping on dry land. Generally the house stands several feet above water. (Wikipedia)
Composting Toilet Systems Dry plumbing fixtures that contain and treat human waste via microbiological processes. These are recommended because they do not have any odor and, if set up properly, they are safe methods of returning nitrogen and humanure to the land. http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/greenbuilding/resources/greenbuildingglossary/default.asp
Cordwood building (aka cordwood masonry, stackwall construction or stackwood construction) is a term used for a natural building method in which "cordwood" or short pieces of debarked tree are laid up crosswise with masonry or cob mixtures to build a wall. (The common materials of masonry construction are brick, stone, marble, granite, travertine, limestone, cast stone, concrete block, glass block, stucco, and tile bound together by mortar.) Below, a section of a cordwood home:
Earth plaster a blend of clay, fine aggregate, and fiber. (Aggregate can be rock, sand, natural fiber, etc.) Other common additives include pigments, lime, casein, manure, etc. Earthen plaster is usually applied to masonry, cob or straw bale interiors or exteriors as a wall finish. It provides protection to the structural and insulating building components as well as texture and color.
Geothermal heating and cooling the use of the earth’s temperature (a constant 55 degrees less than 10 feet below the earth’s surface) to heat and cool your house. Humans have taken advantage of geothermal heat since the Paleolithic era. Today’s systems can be expensive to install (especially on an already existing house), but once in place there is a 30-70% reduction in utility bills for heating or cooling and no pollution or burning of fossil fuels. Often, the installation pays for itself within 3-5 years.
Grade beam a beam that rests on the ground.
Life cycle assessment (LCA) Assesses the environmental performance of a product or building over its life cycle. This includes raw material extraction, manufacturing, transportaion, use, recycling and disposal. Green Seal is a well known non-profit organization that utilizes life-cycle analysis to evaluate and certify products and services that have a lesser impact on the environment and human health. http://oikos.com/library/green_building_glossary.html
Living roof/green roof are roofing systems that allow plants to thrive on the surface of a rooftop, without access to groundwater, creating an ecosystem that relies on rainwater alone. Plants used are generally rock garden plants that thrive in your particular climate, and specifically often include succulents, like sedum plants. The two main benefits of planting your roof are absorption of rainwater (especially useful in urban and suburban areas) and a net cooling of the roof surface (to help keep your building cool in summer). Living roofs can also work in any climate, especially where a cooling roof will help keep you nice and cool in Summer. http://buildnaturally.blogspot.com/p/definitions.html
Load-bearing capable of supporting a weight or strain from parts of a structure above and to resist side pressure from wind and, in some cases, from stored material or objects within the building; as a load-bearing wall.
Orientation In a subtropical climate like Central FL, orient your house toward North and South, and place plants and trees on the west and east to avoid the heat of the sun. Put a shade house on the shade side of the house to bank cold. In a tropical climate build high ceilings and orient your house with regard to the wind - you want to create a breeze through the house.
Passive solar energy solar energy which uses thermal mass to cool and heat, rather than forced air
Mechanical systems A system which manages power to accomplish a task that involves forces and movement such as plumbing, heating and A/C, electrical, and all the blowers, compressors, water chillers, boilers, pumps, and generators that are part of them.
Quincha Mejorada Quincha is Spanish for wall or roof, etc., made of rushes and mud. Traditionally, a quincha house would have a round pole set directly in the ground, infilled with smaller wooden poles and interwoven to form a matrix, which is then plastered with one or more layers of earth, resulting in a flexible structure with an inherent earthquake resistance. It has been used in parts of Peru for many centuries. Mejorada is Spanish for “enhanced”. Currently, there are natural builders using what they call “quincha mejorada”, enhanced quincha-style building, using a timber and lattice frame design with an earth infill. http://practicalaction.org/earthquake_resistant_housing
Rammed earth building uses a mixture of clay and sand tamped into formwork (aka a monolithic wall system). The compression of the tamping mimics natural geologic forces that form sedimentary rock, so rammed earth construction resembles hand-formed sedimentary stone. Rammed earth is denser than adobe or cob, so is stronger and has higher thermal mass per volume of material. Tamping is traditionally done by hand, though modern rammed earth often uses pneumatic machines. It takes surprisingly little effort to hand tamp! Because the stickiness of the clay platelets is achieved through force, the mixture is not wet, as cob or adobe are; the mixture is more damp and crumbly. http://buildnaturally.blogspot.com/p/definitions.html
Rubble trench footer is simply a continuous trench footer around the structural perimeter, dug as deeply as the ground freezing point in winter. The trench is lined with filter fabric and filled with stone. A structural (usually concrete) grade beam (a beam that rests on the ground) is poured on top of the stone-filled trench, and distributes the structural loads of the building across the surface area of the trench below. This type of foundation uniquely provides both structural bearing as well as water drainage in a single foundation system. Drainage is important with most foundation systems, since water is the single largest culprit for foundation failure. Liquid water can erode the ground bearing around a foundation footer, and frozen water expands when it freezes, which causes the ground around your foundation to also expand and contract with freeze-thaw seasonal cycles. When installed correctly, a rubble trench results in a resource-efficient, high-performing, eco-friendly, and low-cost foundation footer. http://buildnaturally.blogspot.com/p/definitions.html
Shade house In warm zones like Florida, a shade house is positioned on the shade side of the house, so that cold air can drop into the house.
Straw bale building http://buildnaturally.blogspot.com/p/definitions.html
Super-Adobe building Super-Adobe is a form of earthbag construction that was developed by Iranian architect Nader Khalili. The technique uses layered long fabric tubes or bags filled with adobe. The resulting beehive shaped structures employ arches, domes, and vaults to create single and double-curved shells that are strong and aesthetically pleasing. Earth bag shelters have been used for decades. Some projects have been done using bags as low-tech foundations for straw-bale construction. They can be covering them in a waterproof membrane to keep the straw dry. The Super-Adobe method has been put to use in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Belize, Costa Rica, Chile, Iran, India, Siberia, Mali, and Thailand, as well as in the U.S.
Thatch Thatching is the craft of building a roof with dry vegetation such as straw, water reeds, rushes, or heather, layering the vegetation so as to shed water away from the inner roof. It’s a very old roofing method used in both tropical and temperate climates. Thatch is still employed by builders in developing countries, usually with low-cost, local vegetation. In some developed countries, it is now the choice of affluent people who desire a rustic look for their home, would like a more ecologically friendly roof, or who have purchased an originally thatched abode.
Thermal chimney (aka solar chimney): a thermal chimney has the purpose of improving air circulation in a building which prevents the air quality from becoming stale and acts to cool the building. The reason this works is that hot air rises, cold air sinks. A chimney sticks up above the roof and is heated by the sun, which causes the air in that chimney to rise and exhaust from the structure. This creates a flow of air and a natural loop occurs as cooler air is drawn into the builing (usually through a cool underground duct) to replace the exhausted hot air. A chimney can be constructed as a long piece of metal, too. Using a fan in the highest window or exhaust vent with open windows on the cool side of the house can also create a solar chimney effect.
Thermal mass a solid that absorbs heat from the sun during the day and slowly radiates the heat at night. It may take the form of a thick wall or floor slab, made of either stone, concrete, clay, adobe, brick, rammed earth, or even a volume of water. A thermal mass offers a much more energy efficient alternative to using a standard, forced-air heating system. However, this process is only effective for cooling if the building includes a ventilation system used to carry away the heat from the thermal mass. A great ventilation system to use is a thermal chimney, aka solar chimney.
wattle and daub http://buildnaturally.blogspot.com/p/definitions.html
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License ~ Shared from Florida Permaculture Guild/Grow Permaculture/Koreen Brennan