But this ain’t just any old heater. It’s one designed according to permaculture standards.
The design of our heater follows the model of the ‘rocket stove’, which was suggested to us by two volunteers from Argentina that stayed with us this past March, Francisco and Florencia.
Contrary to what some may think, permaculture is not just about gardening. Being a permaculturist means thinking about all aspects of sustainable living—both agriculturally, socially, and structurally.
This includes finding solutions to heating that conserve resources like wood, coal and gas, because conservation of energy is one of the greatest ecological concerns today.
According to permaculture design, solutions should get these results using natural materials and processes. This is why ARK’s newly constructed heater is made of biodegradable and re-usable materials. We created the exterior entirely out of clay and straw and the inner skeleton is an old stove we have repurposed. This means that in 50 years, if we decide we no longer want this heater, we can literally just smash it to pieces and put it in our garden and it will biodegrade. Even the steel from the oven can be used in the environment (because did you know that placing steel near apple trees produces better apples?).
To do this, we first created a layer of insulation out of a clay and straw mixture on the interior of the first chamber. Then, we had to find a way to keep these gases inside the oven as long as possible. That’s why we created a serpentine route, or labyrinthe, if you will, so that gases will not escape directly and on their way out, wthey will give their energy to the whole structure.