Here is some information about the progress we are making with our outdoor shower house projects. With campers coming to our Stelle (Il) and Bending Oak (Youngstown, OH) projects this summer we want to have a way that they can take a warm shower using current sunlight (scrap wood) to heat the water. (More on solar vs. wood burning hot shower water systems below.)
The goals for our shower houses are 5-fold;
1. Non-permanent and portable
2. Knock-down for winter storage
3. Inexpensive (easily available or recycled materials)
4. Easy to assemble/duplicate
5. Attractive (Has to have a welcoming factor)
The first concept we came up with that cost the least turned out to be more of a job to construct than first imagined, may not hold up in a hard wind, and frankly, looks a bit tacky (to me). But the price is right at $65.
This next design actually meets all 5 of our goals if one feels that $200 is an appropriate price to pay for materials that will likely last two decades if stored away during the winter months. We have yet to build this but here is the basic design:
As soon as we build one of these we will post the pictures here and share of our experience of building and using it.
Share your own ideas if you’d like.
We, of course, considered passive solar collectors for heating shower water but this requires regular/reliable sunlight (not here) and showering when the water is warm (not after dark or in the early morning when many like to shower).
Using the embedded solar energy stored in wood gives us greater control (heat water whenever you wish) and by using the rocket-stove design we can burn the least amount of wood, for the greatest amount of heat, with no smoke and minimal pollution.
Here is a cross-section of the rocket-stove prototype we have designed and are experimenting with. We will share more on this when we’ve tried a few more modifications here as well.