Erica starts off talking about how different homes will get different ratios of heat, depending on insulation or design and how well their current systems (wood stoves etc,) have been working for them. She gives examples of ways people have used rocket mass heater technology in combination with other forms of heating.
The conversation moves onto Carbon dioxide emissions, and how to become carbon negative. Erica suggests by putting in optimized systems like growing your own coppice trees where you’d eventually outgrow your burn need you’d result in more carbon being put into the soil and less being put into the air. Erica makes the point that by doing this you become carbon negative and she feels this is not possible with some of the other systems (like natural gas).
Paul makes the point that harvesting sticks is much easier and more practical than trying to harvest natural gas or electricity. Ernie gives the example of how you can source wood for free from logging companies who normally burn the branches from the trees they cut down. Paul also says that if you live in the country and have 15-20 trees in your yard, you can collect the branches that fall off of the tree and you’d have enough to last quite a while.
Jocelyn tells the story of how at Matt Walker’s homestead he had some tree limbs/branches he had trimmed which he put in a pasture until he could figure out what to do with them. This lead to his sheep eating the bark off of the branches, helping the wood to dry out which he could then use for heating more efficiently.
They discuss Tim’s (Paul’s brother) rocket mass heater and the problems that occured with it. They also go through how different people use rocket mass heaters in different ways, giving the example of the rocket mass heater in the Tipi, and how Olenka uses it. Erica shares how Olenka only runs the rocket mass heater for cooking generally. Ernie expresses how the tipi is a prime example of what a rocket mass heater can do.
Since Ernie and Erica have to leave soon, they move on quickly to talk about the other 9 rocket mass heaters at wheaton labratories, as well as some of the dynamics at Wheaton labs and how they’ve improved. They go through the difficulties and challenges with starting up and living in an intentional community. They go over how people have different perceptions of Wheaton labs, and are often surprised when they get there. The same thing has applied with how people view Paul Wheaton himself as well. They discuss the various personalities intentional communities have, and the challenges that brings.
They break down some of these preconceived ideas that people have had, and Paul expresses what they are really trying to achieve at Wheaton Labs. They finish up talking a little more about what their standards are at Wheaton labs, the importance of diversity in an intentional community and the challenges of human nature.
Credit: Vida Norris
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