Needs and Wants related to this system
One of our goals for our design is to increase the comfort inside the residence and rental apartments. The climate in Puerto Rico is very warm and humid and is common to reach 98° F with a humidity of 80%. Our average yearly temperature in our area is around 85°. This is aggravated by the residence’s construction which is fully made out of concrete, and the roof is flat. This maintains the high temperatures for hours after the sun has set.
We do not have air conditioners in any apartments so we depend on fans and natural air-flow for comfort. Due to this, any element that increases heat and humidity inside, will significantly decrease the comfort level.
Another interest we would cover with this design is to have an interesting element that our guests could use. By having a common kitchen we would also increase the number of social encounters between separate guests.
The kitchen elements themselves could also work as an educational experience by using, not too common systems like a Rocket Stove. which would show that there is no need to use electricity or propane gas to cook, replacing them with firewood collected on site. (Principle of Energy Cycling- Mollison)
This system would need:
Wood for a kitchen counter: There are plenty of construction grade wood planks lying around that could be restored and repurposed.
Sink and a Faucet: These two items are already available from other remodeling projects.
A Rocket Stove: Due to my very limited time, I’m considering buying a premade rocket stove. The one I may choose is the EcoZoom Dura Rocket Stove or a similar portable stove.
For a BBQ with side burner: This element is already in use and only its placement would need to be adjusted to complement the whole kitchen.
For Pots, Pans and kitchen elements: These elements are already available in every apartment and can be used to cook outside. (Principle 9: Use small and slow solutions)
For Firewood: there is a steady supply of twigs and small branches available on site from our own trees. (Principle 2: Catch and store energy)
Builder: I have plenty of building experience and would not have to seek any help.
Budget and estimated building time
Based on my experience with the previous kitchen I built (See pictures below in the “Apply” section), the whole building process should take me around 4 days.
A budget of $200 will be set aside for this project. Most of this will be used to purchase the Rocket Stove: EcoZoom Versa Camping Stove or the EcoZoom Dura Rocket StoveEcoZoom Dura Rocket Stove. The cost of these two options is around $140. The rest of the budget would cover any unexpected expenses. Most of the necessary materials are already available at the site and will be repurposed for this.
Permaculture Ethics– Guidelines within which this design should be completed.
Earth Care- Decrease the use of electricity used to cool each room by removing unnecessary sources of heat and humidity. Decrease pollution from using the power grid to cook, by adding a Rocket Stove as part of this kitchen. This design would also supply us with charcoal which we can use in our gardens and trees.
People Care- Increase the level of comfort in our home and rental apartments. Decrease the cost of electricity used for cooking by using local renewable resources.
Fair Share-. Guests and visitors will be encouraged to use the outdoor kitchen. This could increase social interactions between guests.
Out of the Client Interview process, we can list some specific functions related to this design from which our goals were set:
Increase comfort inside the residence and rental apartments.
Increase the number of social encounters between separate guests.
Decrease cost of electricity by switching to renewable resources for cooking.
SWOC: Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Challenges
Thanks to our experience of having a BBQ outside, in the common areas, and seeing guests using it repeatedly, I noticed how convenient it has been. Also, because most of the necessary building elements are already available, it would be very affordable. The only element that I’m debating, if I should include, is a Cob Oven. The function of the Cob Oven is mainly to have an attractive and interesting system for baking goods. Still this function can be covered by the BBQ itself in which I already have baked breads. For this, I’m using the following analysis tool to make a decision:
Strength- A Cob Oven would be a low cost and highly interesting element for our guests. Most of the building material would be very low cost or free.
Weaknesses- It may be too time consuming to build. I spend around two months per year at the site and this element would take away from other projects.
Opportunities- It could be a major attraction, and would allow us, and guests, to bake goods outside. Pictures of this Oven could be used in our AirBnb site to attract customers.
Challenges- Using it may be challenging for some guests. Since I’m not at the site most of the time, I would not be able to explain its usage or to keep a steady supply of firewood.
The decision on the placement of this design is based on our experience with the current location of our BBQ. Originally, the BBQ was placed here (See diagram below) randomly but at a later time, we noticed that it was a perfect location because the prevailing winds would carry any smoke and smells to a vacant lot, to the south-west (Principle: Design from patterns to details).
This section of the common areas is also easily accessible for our guests since it can be seen from their doors or parking spots. (Principle of Relative Location- Mollison) This section is also located under a roof which keeps it cooler and dryer.