Office Block is up, Solar Pad and Solar Array Calculation, Block VS Slab Foundation

Welcome to the living off grid section where we share pictures and videos of the updates we discuss in the Sow Edible Permaculture Podcast.  Todays update is from episode 003, where we compare block vs slab foundation; our decision to go with block; solar array calculation, and pictures of our new solar pad.

We have a completed block foundation and it looks amazing!  So nice to start to see the office take shape!  We went 3 ft up to accommodate our hot water heater.  Check out the pictures!



Block VS Slab Foundation:

There are Pros and Cons to using either one.   Here is a quick run down on things to consider about each in order to make a decision on what you want to use.  The climate in which you live will be a huge determining factor.

Slab  Foundation:

Pros– Can use Radiant Heating in your flooring to heat your house.  Having the concrete floor is an excellent Thermal Mass in your house.  This means that it will help hold in the hot or cold for a longer time, therefore making your floors very energy efficient.

Cons– All pipes and lines (water, radiant Heating, ect)  is permanently set inside the concrete below your floor.  If you have a blockage, a leak, or any other problem with them you would have to tear out the entire floor to get to it.  It is also lower to the ground which makes you  more susceptible to flooding, moisture, and water damage.

Block Foundation:

Pros: Raises your house off the ground giving you protection from moisture and water damage.  Gives you access to all pipes and tubing under the house in a crawl space.

Cons:  Not as energy efficient because it does not act as a heat sink.

So Why did we Choose Block?

After lots of research and consulting with some experts in our area for off grid living we found that while we would be loosing some energy efficiency in the block foundation, the impact would be very little.  This is mainly due to the climate we live in where our winters are not as severe.  The consensus was that as long as we went heavy on the insulation in the walls, that we would be fine for both heating and cooling.  Then there is the issue of the slab floor encasing all the piping.  We couldn’t get past the thought of having to rip out sections of our flooring if there ever were an issue.  Being home owners in the past… we know the chances are against us!  🙂


Solar Pad is Poured!


The solar pad is here!  Wow.  It may not look like much, but that big guy has taken a long time to get here.  Since our Solar pads will be permanently secured to it, we had to make absolutely sure that it was facing the right direction, the trees around were cleared or cut to maximize the sun.  We checked, double checked, triple checked, had the solar installer check… so here it is.  I am so excited to see the Solar Array (Which is scheduled for next week!!!)




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