Our butcher shop is designed to be a series of thermos bottles, nested one within the other like a Russian doll, in order to keep the cold where it should be. Sometimes we have places in the construction where there is a joint between the interior bottle and the next one out. Leaving the conductive concrete in contact between the two bottles would result in an energy bleed lowering the efficiency of our big machine and wasting resources. Thus we place thermal decouplers at these contact points.
Most of the time the thermal decoupler is simply insulation, typically Formula 250 pink foam as well as the recycled styrofoam I’ve been saving for decades. But that is only capable of carrying a load of 25 pounds per square inch. Sometimes we need a lot more strength and sacrifice a little insulation for greater psi.
Thus the thermo decoupler pictured above which is two layers of PVC (kitchen cutting board) with a 1/2″ layer of Formula 250 between them. The PVC has a strength of about 14,000 psi yet is not nearly as conductive as the concrete which has a 3,000 psi strength in most cases and 4,800 psi in the case of this coming pour.
Another trick I’ve used is changing the formula of the concrete by adding more air or sometimes styrofoam beads into the mix to make light weight concrete. This is better insulation than normal concrete and stronger than foam insulation.
The hole in the middle of the thermal decoupler is for the basalt rebar that keeps the pillar centered below the beam. Our upcoming concrete flat ceiling pour is a 36′ span. The main steel reinforced beam running East-West in the reefer coolth attic is designed to handle a 500 year snow storm. Beyond that the glacier will have mounded up high enough that the snow load will move toward self supporting.
Being that I’m of ever the paranoid engineer mindset I added two pillars in the middle of the room that will catch the beam should it deflect that 1/2″ down. Additionally there are steel reinforced concrete rib beams running perpendicular (North-South) to the beam which provide additional support.
I don’t want to read about my roof falling in from snow load. Note that this is actually the ceiling, not the roof, which will be another thermally isolated layer above. The goal being an energy efficient long lasting, strong, low maintenance building that is the shell of our grand machine. The final effect will be an insulation level in excess of R-100.
Outdoors: 33°F/15°F Spots of Sun and Snow, Mostly Overcast
Tiny Cottage: 57°F/54°F Still no heat – First fall fire coming soon
Daily Spark: The Armed Bear Dilemma: In Vermont there is no permit required to carry a concealed weapon. Just assume everyone is armed. The bears are… This raises an interesting logic delemma. Let’s call it the Armed Bear Dilemma. In some states it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon. Of course, committing a crime is also illegal. Ergo one must assume that anyone with an intent to commit a crime is also armed because if they’re already commiting crimes why bother worrying about other silly laws since they obviously intend not to get caught. Since we don’t know who is going to commit the crimes, otherwise they would be preventable, we must assume that everyone is carrying a concealed weapon since anyone might be a criminal. You could be a criminal and packing heat. So could I. This logic leads to the conclusion that bans on concealed weapons create more crimes since then the criminals in those states are better able to assume that their intended victims are less likely to be carrying a concealed weapon. Hey, if I was going to be a criminal carrying a concealed weapon to carry out my crimes you can bet your booties I would rather do it in NY where concealed weapons are banned than in Vermont where any of the citizens might be packing and do shoot back. Statistically, both per capita and in total numbers, Vermont is one of the safest places in the WORLD with the fewest gun deaths yet we have the highest rate of guns and concealed weapons with no bans. California and NY on the other hand have bans on guns yet gun crimes are coming out their wazoo. Funny that. The conclusion is that you can assume the bears are armed and they like to prey on unarmed sheep. Same goes for wolves and mountain lions. Better to be an armed bear than dinner.