Just one defect emerged in the Park City house over the winter. About half of the main roof drains onto the front awning and then onto the paver terrace. A lot of water hits that terrace, and much of it drains down through the terrace instead of running off the front edge. As a result, the pavers settled a lot over the winter. One of the architects had suggested the possibility of inserting a 12″ c-channel into the paver surface to serve as a gutter from the point where the water hits the terrace to the edge. I wasn’t wild about introducing a 2-3″ groove in the terrace, as I thought it would be a trip hazard. Instead I designed a nifty welded gutter assembly with a slightly sloped top surface which feeds a 3″ c-channel beneath it to drain off the terrace. Hard to explain, but hopefully the pictures are clear.
Archive for August, 2011
Warning: if you are not an extreme tree hugger and/or really don’t need a toilet without a septic system, you should skip this post.
I’ve spent a fair bit of time over the last two years researching composting toilet systems. I’ve discussed them with friends and have done some experiments at my cabin in Vermont. I’ve also had almost 10 years of experience with a commercial system (Envirolet) at my Vermont cabin.
Commercial composting systems are really set up for steady demand by a few people. Our use pattern is very different. We hit the system very hard for about four weeks a year and then it sits idle for the other 48 weeks.
Furthermore, most commercially available composting systems benefit substantially from electric heaters built into them. These use a fair bit of energy. My system in Vermont is not powered and it does not work very well, by which I mean the waste takes at least a year to decompose. I’ve concluded that we wouldn’t be happy with the performance of a conventional composting system at the Montana sleeping pavilion.
Instead, I’ve installed a “Lovable Loo” which I’m using in an unusual way…anaerobic composting instead of aerobic composting.
The Lovable Loo is basically a housing for a 5-gallon plastic bucket with a toilet seat on it. After each use, the user scoops a generous amount of saw dust or peat moss over the waste in the bucket. (We use peat moss because it’s easy to buy at the home center.) This essentially eliminates odors and provides a more attractive appearance than the alternative. When the bucket is full, the lid to the box is lifted, and the bucket lifted out and replaced with a new one. There are thousands of these systems in use and they are apparently used very successfully even in conditioned indoor spaces.
The Amenity Hut is really nice. It’s a 6′ x 12′ little structure with an enclosure for our composting toilet and for a shower. We mounted a sink on the outside wall. We have running water from the lake provided by a solar-powered pump and pressure tank.