Johhny Electriglide wrote:
High thermal mass and super insulation work with any for of heat
The temperature need cycles are annual rather then daily which is the difference. If it uses passive solar then yes, you have a daily cycle as we try to store the day's heating for night use and high mass is the key. If you are not using passive solar due to a lack of an unshaded southern side (remember February sun up here only gets 15 degrees above the horizon... that's half a block of no buildings and trees to the south... not going to happen in a city), then you use upwards of R-50 for walls... that's a lot of straw (and tested R-value is a lot lower then they hype due to moisture levels rising in the cold straw). Several successful strawbale houses have achieved the better R-value by adding other forms of insulation on the outside to keep the straw parts above freezing
Johhny Electriglide wrote:
Plastic foam is also used for super insulation, but is a petro chemical product and not re-used/recycled like rammed earth tires or straw bales. I did use R-8 foam on the outside of my rammed earth tire walls to insulate against the 50*F ground temperature, straw bales were just too big (I could only over-dig a foot because of tree roots).
Some new forms of insulation are made from vegetable sources (soybeans specifically). PassivHaus suggests R-60 for under the basement or slab-on-grade floor... that kind of requires foam (although my plan is to have a crawl space under the basement floor and use regular fiber insulation like for the walls). I want to go further then PassivHaus and try for R-60 walls using 3 forms of insulation: outside and inside have a layer of mineral wool (Roxul brand sold here) because it does not melt in fire like glass, an unbroken layer of foam insulation over the inside of the outside framing for sealing (but it is expensive so less of it) and a thin "SIP" (Structural Insulated Panel) to eliminate bridging on the inside walls... they use a cheaper form of foam insulation with an inside gypsum layer and an outside layer of fiberglass material (one form of SIP I found). This is for retrofits using the original outside of the house untouched. The inside layer of mineral wool can be continuous sheets glued to the sprayed on foam and can include a layer of "house wrap" air barrier (not vapor barrier... that is in the SIP). I will likely build a few of my own buildings as well and they will likely be either earthbag construction for structural or strawbale... but still only for structural strength... then insulate the outside with other forms of insulation (likely a combination of spray on foam, mineral wool, and a outside SIP panel (finished outside siding) then build an inside wall of gypsum board for thermal storage and use air between the structural material (earthbag or straw bale) to heat the gypsum for a delayed delivery to the room (heated with solar or annually stored heat below the basement... but only in the coldest parts of the winter will any heating be needed).
oh, and I will use daily solar on the roof but only for PV (fans, lights, pumps) and thermal solar (heat for the fresh air from the heat recovery ventilation unit and for hot water)