This is the third winter for my studio space. It started out as a garage kind of out building thing, without heat or plumbing. In the interests of sustainability and keeping costs down, I invested in a Cink, recycling sink and water system, which has worked out well.
To be able to use the studio year round, I put in a compact AC unit initially, and this year added a couple milk house heaters to the mix. During the summer, our daily high temps can be high 90’s, even into the 100 range. AC is a must, and the unit works great for that. The AC/heat pump has a minimum heat setting of 58F. That’s kind of high when I go a couple days without spending any time in the studio in the winter. The milk house heaters automatically turn on around 40 and turn off around 45F. That keeps the space above freezing. That’s perfect most of the time. When I want to spend a day working in the studio, it’s easy enough to bring the temp up to a comfortable level. While this is working, I’d like a most sustainable, or less electrically supported solution.
I’ve looked into pulling in a gas line and installing a 2-3 brick heater, or something similar. There are lots of options and the cost isn’t too great. But it’s still not as green as I’d like. The studio has long outside wall facing nearly due south, and it’s relatively shielded from view, but not sunshine, so solar seems like a good option. I’ve seen a couple solar solutions that I can build, but have wondered if they work well enough. The first approach is a solar panel to heat water. The second approach is a solar air heater. The air heater looks the simplest. The water heater looks like it would bank more heat, and could possibly be part of a solution to warm the water used in the Cink, without actually mixing with it (but that’s a different project and story). Both are interesting. If you’ve had any experience with either solar approach, or similar systems, please speak up and let me know what you found out.
The ideal system would be simple, and more or less self-managing, and would be easy to neutralize in the hot summer months.
I’m interested in making the studio as green and environmentally friendly as possible, and in building as much of this myself as is practical. I’ll keep looking for good ideas and will post them here, when appropriate. Please feel free to comment and point out your successes and ideas for better studio spaces. Cheers!