Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Quickening

Great Things happening this week.

The quickening is how our neighbor in-laws refer to springtime. The snow and ice are thawing, roads turn to mush for a few weeks (the mudholes creep up the mountain, with lower roads re-graded as soon as they're dry).
Raised garden bed inspired by Paul's article
We had a visit yesterday from our friend Paul Wheaton, who introduced us to some new friends and got us all excited about some next steps for rocket mass heater development.  Prototyping again this month and next, and look for an announcement soon about that.
Paul's Kickstarter for the video from our October 2013 Montana workshop is doing tremendously well. He's announcing a stretch goal of bringing in $100,000, which would not only pay for us to attend a 'premier' / Missoula reunion and document those projects more thoroughly, but will also mean that for the first time Paul is actually making something from our work together that's almost comparable to the value he provides by promoting sustainable technology.  There are about 3 days left, so please join the excitement!
Wood-burning-stoves-2.0: The DVDs
We did the voiceover work for Calen Kennett's video last week, and it's looking gorgeous as well.  Great documentation of the cob bench style of rocket mass heaters, showing the building of one of our best examples to date: the Bonny 8" Convection Bench, a raised heater that cut fuel usage to 1/4 of previous winters for a 3-story, multi-family house. Video preview (funding closed)
Photos by Adi Segal, www.adi-segal.com
We also received some lovely pictures and videos today from recent students.

Our eager assistant from the Montana workshop, Adiel from Israel, is on his 4th or 5th rocket mass heater.
(We've heard about all of them, including some teething problems related to test-firing cold, wet stoves during 75-degree outdoor temperatures).
He had a friend do the plaster and mosaic on the latest one: it is GORGEOUS.

We also got a copy of a video by a visitor to one of our workshop sites - a lovely summary of one woman's relationship with her rocket mass heater and sustainable living in general. In upstate New York. With icicles.


AND I just submitted a grant proposal today, on time down to the minute. This is an opportunity through my alma mater, Hampshire College and the Roddenberry Big Impact grant program, hopefully to fund some testing equipment and/or EPA lab fees for quantifiable data. The procedure, apparently, really is to take a stove that's exempt by weight to a certified testing lab in order to obtain a letter of exemption. We should be able to get emissions testing as well as letting them weigh the demonstration prototype.
Hopefully that will happen this summer on one of our visits to Portland. If you know any other folks who might be interested in sponsoring this kind of work, we will also need some private contributions or 'crowdfunding,' and we have some fun ideas about how to make that happen. Especially if you know a university with quantitative data analysis tools for emissions and temperatures over 3000 F, we'd love to get some help with preliminary analysis.
Plus, Ernie and I have a dinner date with a new friend in town. She already introduced me to her local art club, and might know someone who can help with reception as we get busier and travel more.

Very exciting week!

Keep an eye on our schedule for workshops - I firmly believe we'll have firm dates soon.

Warmly yours,
Erica W

p.s. Edit: 4/8/13: We just had another 2" of snow.... but it was warm snow!