Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Over the past few weekends I have been working on the large sunroom that runs along the south side of the cabin. The southern exposure is sheltered from the wind by hills and trees but still gets excellent direct sunlight. It can be forty degrees out and you will get hot working along that side of the house in shorts and a teeshirt. The plan is to utilize this natural heat gain to grow plants and provide daytime heating for the cabin.

The south wall is 36 feet long, the big sunroom only occupies 16 feet of that, it is 8 feet wide. The other 20 feet of wall space will be dedicated to a greenhouse made of polycarbonate panels it will be 20 by 8 feet.

For the sunroom I picked up four 6 x 5 foot insulated windows at Lowes for $21 bucks apiece (listed for $489 each). They had been returned and were in a holding bin at the end of one of the isles on clearance. I grabbed them up right there. The glass is slightly tinted so they will be traded out for the four 6 x 5 foot picture windows in the front room, they have no tinting. I also found a 5 foot wide sliding glass door for the sunroom at the Habitat for Humanities ReStore (great place).

The outcome is a wonderful hot house wrapped in glass, warm and bright. I will also be taking out about 8 foot of wall between the sunroom and the cabin. That will allow the daylight warmth to flood the house. A large sliding "barn door" is rolled into place at night. Black 55 gallon drums filled with water and placed in the sun will act as heatsinks radiating heat back into the room at night.

The greenhouse should be great for growing lettuce, cabbage, radishes and other cool weather plants. Plus it gives the dogs a nice place to play that isn't freezing. The hot sunroom should be great for growing tomatoes, peppers and beans.

I will get some pictures up as soon as I finish up.


Staying Alive said...

You paid less than 5 cents on the dollar for those windows! Most excellent shopping skills! And it looks like it could really pay of for you. All that Southern exposure and warmth coming in to your place will really make you a bundle of food and comfort this Winter. Well done, m'man.


BigBear said...

The old boy at Lowes said those windows had sat there for 4 months. I guess the housing bust does have an up side.

SurvivalTopics.com said...

The housing bust will lead to many an excellent bargain.

Drums full of water to hold heat works very well in this kind of setup. The library of the college I went to has this sort of setup, very efficient.

caleb said...

a solar shower &/or bathtub in the greenhouse would be a great way to easily get water/humidity into there (it's on my list for our someday house).

it sounds wonderful.

tansy said...

sorry, that should have been me, not my son!

The Scavenger said...

Can't wait to see the finished project. We have a sliding door on the south side of our house and we get a lot of heat from the sun during the summer and winter. We use blinds during the summer to keep the heat out. Man you got some great deals. Way to go Big Bear. When is the permanent move planned?


riverwalker said...

Looks like a great start on a fine project.You made out like a bandit on those windows. Probably going to be alot more bargains out there real soon!