The Sanborn Sun February - May 2000
The Hunt Castle
Article & Web Site By Leanne M.
     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." Hunt Castle

     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 or noises.

     This "castle" is also heavily insulated. There's a package thick of thermax, which is foam insulation with an aluminum foil backing. 

      "This helps to create what we call a vapor barrier." says John.

       The vapor 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 highly effective.

         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 stone appearance.

      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 him there.