hi, Andreea and Ronen,
generally, do not idealize theromanian countryside life in order not to get dissapointed . It is far different from what this means in germany or other western countries with concern to commodities and habits as well. surely you noticed also the positive aspects.You will have to consider trips to town at least once or twice in a month at least.
Internet/communications shoud be a priority from the beginning .
I would suggest to have in mind the following; due to centuries of agriculture, the most romanian subteran aquifers are heavily nitrogen (in form of nitrate/ nitrite) contaminated. Also life forms like E-coli and faecal streptococ might be found in there. This means you will need a RO filtering system or similar. First, bring your water to a test facility and get a report.
While being dependent of the underground water for daily needs, you will not wish to spoil it by means of water closet. In this respect , a dry , composting toilet , will be a good asset. If you desperately need a water toilet, whether for cultural reasons , or what so ever, you will have to face the challenges I also face; get rid of so much black water. there are ways to do this of course, but this costs too.
Planing from the beginning for separating grey water from black water would be a clever first step.
Also think that the romanian climate in the winter is not a friendly one. Regarding this you should insulate the house accordingly. A higher position in the lansdcape will provide for more sun during the cold winter months (above the fog level in Transilvania) , so you may wish to consider a top of the hill position rather than a valey, This works even in Mociu as I know.
Talking about your wish to work with hempcrete , straw,or similar , provide for large overhangs in order to avoid losing insulation due to wet walls. You also increase the lifetime of your house and the time between renovation of external walls this way.
As heating is a serious concern in our region, as you may observe living in Cluj, if a part of your acreage is woodland you will be in advantage if thinking about wood heating. Gas heating is also possible , reliable,comfortable, but, at its cost .
Generally speaking, many things will cost much more than expected in order to get the occidental comfort as a homesteader. I can withness this with my own experience.
make an indepth search on http://www.buiditsolar.com ( goes far beyond solar) and http://www.biorealis.com in order to sistematically approach the different tasks. Course from these inspiring sites you'll go far beyond but they are good start points.
also call me or mail me if I can help with any advice.
weird community around Cluj, will get enriched with you folks!
wish you succeed,
Thank you so much for this welcoming and generous message 🙂
We are not so much idealizing the existing countryside of Romania – but we do see huge potential in it and, as you said, by bringing new solutions to improve it in any way we can.
Thank you for the suggestion to test the water – we will do that. If you have more information on specific filters you mentioned – please do send us references.
As far as waste we are currently considering a solution called Aquatron ( http://www.aquatron.se/ ) – which may work great with the self-built composting system on the Biorealis website. For now we prefer living with a flushing water toilet … so we'll see about that.
As far as we can tell (at least theoretically) the hemp-lime construction is optimal for the Romanian climate. Not only does it offer superb insulation and thermal mass (which drastically reduces the amount of energy it takes to heat the house), but the walls breathe as well (which lets humidity escape improving air quality ). And yes we will be incorporating large overhangs to protect our walls – also a great excuse for lovely balconies 🙂
Energy wise we are planning on gas only as a backup to primary wood biomass burning.
There was an error in the BuildItSolar link you left – though we did find the correct link ( http://www.builditsolar.com/ ) and will be looking into it extensively 🙂
If you haven't seen it – this is the land we have fallen in love with: http://bhudeva.org/blog/2011/02/22/our-home-land/
Andreea tells me she has your phone number – so we look forward to meeting soon 🙂
All Things Good
I admire your project, it's funny, my wife and i came to Romania to achieve the same level of sustainability. so far we've secured, the land, built the home, planned the garden (which will be more of a chinese water garden than a forest garden however it will house about 140 different edible plants. we've put up one of the wind turbines (5kw) we've ordered all of the parts for 20kw worth of solar panels, the inverter, no extra batteries until next year though. Our water comes from nearby mountain stream and is filtered 3 times prior to reaching the house and once through reverse osmosis prior to drinking or cooking. We have the GE whole house filtration indoors, but we plan to use the water garden as our main water filter in within the next 3 years.
would love to see what you're building, would love to check out what you've done sometime, we're just 2 hours from Cluj near Zalau in Salaj
Keep us posted
Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. It would be great to meet face to face sometime )
All Things Good