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Allerton Abbey - The First Wofati

Allerton Abbey is the first ever wofati, built at Wheaton Labs. Wofatis are earth sheltered, passive buildings that store the heat of the summer to tide you over the winter. And, they keep the cool of winter stored in the earth so that the house stays comfortably cool in the winter. 

The term "wofati" is a term penned by Paul Wheaton, and it's an acronym standing for (source):


Woodland. The word "forest" suggests "forestry" which embraces a lot of things I don't care for. The word "woodland" reminds me of Ben Law's excellent books The Woodland Way: A Permaculture Approach to Sustainable Woodland Management and The Woodland Year. A forest is .... used. A woodland is .... something that you are part of. Well, the key to making this word the highest priority is that this whole design would be silly if not built on, or very near, a woodland.

Mike Oehler. 80% of my design is standing on the rather brilliant shoulders of Mike Oehler.

Freaky-cheap. There are lots of easy ways to design a house that is even more costly than Oehler's original design. In fact, Oehler is moving in that direction. He has been called on to design several houses and his designs have evolved into replacing some polyethylene with the more expensive EPDM (pond liner). He has also introduced the use of some commercial insulation. I, on the other hand, have come up with things that meet the same concerns that end up costing even less. I've run these ideas by Mike and he agrees that they are sound! (Yeah baby!)

Annualized Thermal Inertia. John Hait's book is called "Passive Annual Heat Storage" - but what the title leaves out is that this design also brings a great deal of cooling in the summer. I think the phrase "Annualized Thermal Inertia" is more accurate.

So .... W.O.F.A.T.I. .... but even though it is an acronym, I prefer "wofati". Ahhhhh .... the joys of making stuff up as you go ....

The planning for Allerton Abbey began 7 years ago, in 2013. You can find all sorts of progress pictures, planning, and updates about Allerton Abbey on this thread on permies. Jennifer Richardson has been living in and monitoring the thermal interia and performance of Allerton Abbey in her Bootcamp and Allerton Abbey Experience thread. The 

Allerton Abbey is home to a rocket cookstove. They chose to have a cookstove instead of a rocket mass heater because the thermal inertia from all the earth surrounding the home should do nearly all of the heating of the house. Here's a video of the rocket stove in action:

Allerton Abbey will soon have a way to recycle greywater AND extend the growing season. It will be home to the first wofati greenhouse.  You can find out more about the greenhouse on kickstarter, and also by watching this video!


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