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16324help for a nonprofit organization in Texas

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  • bird Haven
    Jan 11, 2014
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      I wrote a very extensive note and it got lost in in cyberspace. I will try again.


      My name is De. I’ve been lurking here for a while but decided to come forward and introduce myself and ask for some help. I am the executive director of a nonprofit Bird Rescue Facility in North Central Texas. We are hoping to find some people in Texas or fairly local that are knowledgeable in the ways of many different types of natural building methods.


      We recently purchased a metal building but it isn’t installed yet. We looked in to Cobb and Straw Bale but the few people that I found that would respond to my questions definitely vetoed us using that for the entire building. I am going to describe our ideas (hopes) below and ask if anyone knows of anyone that can help.


      First things first… the building is 25 x 30. We plan on dividing it into two rooms that are each approximately 15x25.


      First…. What we are wanting to do – if it works is to build the perimeter our of concrete and use an earthen type material both for the rest of the flooring and the walls. The question on this is whether it would hold up to the cleaning/disinfecting we would be doing. Our thoughts are to keep straw underneath the cages and change it out once a week. At that time we would hand wash the walls and the floor underneath and behind each cage. We would roll each cage to a corner area that is approximately 5 x 5 that is created as a type of shower where we can power wash the cages with waterproof material as the walls. This shower area would have a drainage system built in.


      We need to know if the earthen floor and walls would hold up to this much washing--- wiping them down on a weekly basis.


      Next…. What type of insulation and wall boards do you recommend behind the earthen material?


      Second question is what type of heating system we should use. Our desired temperature range would be no colder than 65 degrees and no warmer than about 75. We would really love to use something like a rocket mass heater but don’t know if it would be bird safe. (birds would all be in their own cages but we do occasionally have a Houdini that gets out. We would need to make the heater totally non-accessible by building a wire cage around it or something such as this .) Also, since our area seems to get its fair share of power outages by using this we could avoid problems with that.


      Third question is about what type of cooling system we should use. Being in North Central Texas we’ve read that using a swamp cooler isn’t a great idea, however the extra humidity is great for the birds. AC is not good because it dries the air out too much. Also concerned that again the walls would not be able to handle the high humidity. Is there a better option that could be effective in the Texas heat yet be affordable and even possibly run by solar?


      Our ideal situation would be to find someone we could hire to do workshops on our property and help us get this building completed with the help of volunteers that pay to come and learn. We have tried to find local people to no avail. Any suggestions that anyone can give us would be greatly appreciated.         





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