In response to Ed Paynter's Comment: "We are planning to build an earth-sheltered home with a living roof. It seems we should not count on the soil for much insulation, but should insulate much as if it were a regular roof. If the soil doesn't add much, I'll use about 6" of it and not have to engineer the roof for the weight of more soil depth than that. The biggest question remaining is what to build the roof with, metal or timbers. Of course it will have a watertight membrane and will be slightly slanted. Has anyone in the group built or worked on a living roof project? Greeneviewsprings.blogspot.com "
Sounds fantastic Ed. I don't have any experience with "living" roofs, though a construction engineer could quickly calculate the load and framing requirements for you. Others may recommend the "When in doubt, build it stout!" method that works well in rural areas. Given the constant moisture conditions on the roof, and the unique attic ventilation situation, steel truss and deck may be a really good idea.
I checked out your blog and the property is beautiful. Keep us posted on the progress and I will look forward to seeing pictures as the house goes up.
Thanks for the reply. I invite folks to visit to see what we're up to. We hope to use as many green features as make sense.
The biggest problem one faces in Indiana, in my opinion, is antiquated regulations that discourage new ideas. For example, try to get permission for a composting toilet. You may use one if you like, but you still must install an entire septic system, tank and all. Don't even think about a permit for using gray water. One must "just do it," and not tell anyone. Constructed wetlands are being promoted in northern Indiana but many counties will not even discuss them. Yet all across the state we are having problems dealing with sewage. Septic systems are failing. Rivers are polluted. Our state should be at the forefont of new technology in waste management. Instead, if one wants to use a system that hasn't been used for years, they must be willing to be the first homeowner to fight for it through multiple layers of bureaucracy. Small wonder that we're near the bottom of the environmental stack on almost every scale.
End of rant. :)
I'd still like to talk with folks who have experience with living roofs.