| Sometimes you just need a challenge.
This is what motivated John Hunt to build his "castle". John says, "it was
sort of a challenge, cause generally when you think of castles, you think
of cold, dark, forbidding type places. So the idea of creating an energy
efficient, warm castle was an intriguing concept."
John designed the
"castle" himself, and with the help of Chip Tech Co. was able to incorporate
a wood chip burner. What is a wood chip burner? Well it uses augers to push
the chips from their bin into the furnace. Once in the furnace, the chips
are gassified. The interesting thing about this so-called "burner" is that
no fire is actually received. The wood chips are self- contained so there
is a minimal amount of ash produced. At the bottom of the wood chip bin
is moving floors, which push the chips into a shoot that sends
them to the augers.
"It’s totally automated,
all I have to do is stay warm." Says Mr. Hunt
His big job? Filling the wood chip bin
once a week and emptying the ashes once a week.
John loves his would
chip burner. It’s more effective than other types of heating methods. One
reason is the way it’s so inexpensive. " It costs me more to truck it up
here then it does to actually buy the chips themselves."
"When you go to a mill,
the first thing they do is debark a tree and then the first cut is a slab,
a rounded edge slab, and that’s a waste product to them, that’s useless
to them, so what they do is then chip up that waste product."
Along with the wood chip
burner, the heat is transferred throughout the house with radiant pipes,
which probably uses about a mile worth of piping. The piping is stored underneath
the floor and in the walls, the heat radiates through without any radiators
This "castle" is
also heavily insulated. There's a package thick of thermax, which is foam
insulation with an aluminum foil backing.
to create what we call a vapor barrier." says John.
barrier is like a wind breaker; not water proof, but cuts the ability for
wind or moisture to get inside. Even though the barrier may be thin, it's
What's interesting about it is that even though the "castle" appears
to be made all out of stone, it isn't. The way John went about getting the
stone effect is by using a two inch, white, insulation foam. This is the
kind of foam that would be found in radio or TV packaging. After the foam
was installed, John "routed" out rough edges to get the texture of stone.
When he was done with that he covered it with a cement coating, then a fiber
glass mesh coating, and then another coat of cement. The final materials
used almost resemble "latex pellets". This is the final touch to giving the
John Hunt lives
in Ringe, NH on five hundred acres of land, in the middle of the woods, on
his own lake. Lucky guy? I'd say so, but it's his intelligence that brought