Manataka American Indian Council

 

 

 

 

 

What is a smart home anyway?

By Lloyd Alter (@lloydalter) December 11, 2014

 

 

CC BY 2.0 Temagami Nativeweb

 

At a recent panel discussion on smart homes held at Toronto's Workshop, three of the four panelists had been on TreeHugger before: Janna Levitt, Paul Dowsett and Ted Kesik. Both Ted and Paul showed this image of what they considered to be a really smart house: a wigwam, as built by the Algonquin and Chippewa. And it is surprisingly* really sophisticated:

  • It has an inner structure lined with birchbark

  • It has six inches of swamp moss insulation

  • It has an outer frame covered in elm, cedar of basswood bark.

This is more sophisticated than about 99% of modern houses, where the insulation is between the studs which act as a thermal bridge. It is more like the staggered studs or double walls used in Passive houses.

Then there is the heating system:

  • It has piles of rocks with a clay cap for passive thermal storage after the fire goes out, which acts as a radiant floor.

  • It has a birch bark earth tube to provide combustion air for the fire.

This again is more sophisticated than many heating systems that don't have a provision for makeup air. It even has a fire suppression system: a long cedar pole for swatting out sparks on the roof.

 

 

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