Man, it’s nice to be famous!
The exploits of the Man Cave crew are starting to get attention!
Not only have about 20,000 of you guys and gals taken a sneak peak in the last month, we’re getting contacted by people wanting to get in on the act. We actually have manufacturers who want us to use their stuff, so that they can be a part of the Man Cave Experience.
Man, just saying that makes me feel like Jimi… and I’m too old to start doing acid… especially that “blue stuff…” 🙂
I know that some of you have no idea what I’m talking about, but those of you old enough to remember Woodstock do… right? 🙂
Man Cave Audio is a recording studio suite, built into the earth. Duh! Everybody already knows that! But did you know that it will be totally self-contained? That’s right! It doesn’t matter if the grid falls off into chaos, or civilization breaks down, or even if Sharon Osbourne shows up screaming at the front gate…
Don’t ask…I just feel for Ozzie!
Nothing will stop The Man Cave from operating!
(Okay, almost nothing will stop us from working… except… maybe if we run out of frosty cold beverages and pizza…) 🙂
The Man Cave will get all of it’s power from the sun. Okay, I’m lying. It will get MOST of it’s power from the sun. The rest of it will come from french fries. Ever hear of “Bio-Fuel?”
No, it’s not a “Red Bull” copycat drink. In fact, I doubt you could stomach the stuff!
We make “bio-fuel” here on the farm, to power everything with a diesel motor. Bio-fuel is made from used vegetable oil. The only part of this process that really sucks, is that everything you drive smells like french fries. So, you’re constantly hungry! 🙂
And what do we drive? Well, you already know that we ride. There are more than a few Harley’s here, but they’re not part of our GREEN theme (unless you count “envy”).
“Blue-By-You”: 131 cubic inches of “fast-faster-oh crap” fun!
We drive regular vehicles, just like everyone else. Well, almost normal except that they are all diesels. This includes a rebuilt Cadillac Pickup truck (an “Insurance Total” we rescued, and then dropped a monster supercharged diesel into), a old HUMMER Wagon (from the 90’s… the BIG Hummer, not one of those sissy H2’s), a tractor or three (Green Acres is the place for me… as long as I ain’t gotta be married to that crazy Gabor!), (2) SUV’s (because you gotta go for groceries), and a Volkswagen coupe that breathes fire. (Just ask those “sissy tuners” that we blew off the road last month in Florida! ) We had a Prius that we “hotrodded,” but it died. And every one of them runs on “Man Cave Juice!” It also powers our “auxiliary generators.” These “redundant” generators make additional power, when we need to push the sun’s bounty. After all, photovoltaic panels don’t work too well at night!
The air conditioning system is kinda novel too. It’s called “Geothermal HVAC.” We pump water into the ground, use the earths coolness to chill it off, and then we pump it out into a tank that air lines pass thru. This in turn chills the air. A fan then moves the air to the spaces we need it in. It’s an almost totally passive system, if you consider that the pumps and fans required are electric, and they get power from… that’s right… the sun.
Why would we do this? Well…
A conventional HVAC systems rely on oil, natural gas, or electricity to regulate the environment, and that’s a really inefficient use of energy. Conventional HVAC systems can also adversely affect workplace productivity and affect the health of the people working there. Now, a recording studio is a funny place, where you need your eyes to work properly, and your vocal cords to be clear (unless you’re Joe Cocker, I suppose! Sorry Joe!) Indoor air quality has become a major concern for management and slaves… um…er… workers. We just felt real weird about locking employees into an airtight building that didn’t allow proper circulation. I can’t tell you how many studios I’ve been in that felt like stifling, toxic, and germ infested laboratories. (And that’s just while the “ponytails” were there!) 🙂
Geothermal HVAC does not rely on any combustible fuels to condition the environment. Geothermal energy harnesses the natural energy resources that lie below the earth. To accomplish this, you drive several PVC pipe loops beneath the property to circulate water into the system. At the right depth, the Earth’s natural temperature is a comfortable 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The designed system pumps water through the piping where it is either heated or cooled to 70 degrees, depending upon the season.
The water then moves through narrow heat exchanger coils inside the air circulation machines. Fans blow fresh air upwards through this heat-exchanger and into the buildings duct system. The result is a comfortable work environment for all the occupants, be they musicians or lackeys! 🙂
With a geothermal HVAC system, you can also realize significant long term returns on your initial investment into your facility. In a conventional build, you’d see this in your utility bills, but passive benefits such as a healthy workplace, and decreased absenteeism, are also seen by owners of these types of buildings.(Okay, so our guys still plead “Hangover!” but they can’t blame it on the air.) In our case, we’ll stay cool, and we simply won’t use as much power. And since we produce the power ourselves, it means what we do produce, will go farther.
Remember that this works both ways. In the summer, it cools the air off. In the winter, it heats the air up! I’ve been monitoring the temperatures in the warehouses for almost a year, and they seldom move far from 68 degrees. So, whatever “bump” we require, will be minimal.
The heat for the facility is assisted by radiant in-floor heating, a system by which heated liquid is pumped into tubes buried in the floor slab, to slowly radiate heat up through the thermal mass slab.
Now, I’d like to take credit for this, but the original builder needed “temperature stable” spaces, so he installed it himself. Solar panels heats the liquid, and Photovoltaic panels power the pumps. Once again, very few moving parts, and that means almost NO maintenance. All we did was beef up the panels and the pumps, to increase the “turnover” response.
It’s a technique where the heat is always in the comfort zone, and the only thing it requires is a heat source for the liquid. And that heat source is the sun. The “radiant tank” is charged by panels that work just like a solar hot water heating system.
See the difference?
But that’s not all…
Every Recording Studio needs isolation. You know the kind I’m talking about, right? Not the “look, we’re trying to work here, so why don’t you just bugger off” kinda isolation, although it does come to that sometimes. I’m talking about “acoustical isolation.” The studio is covered by several feet of earth, and then sod. Once the sound lock doors close, you can’t hear anything going on outside. Zero interference.
“The Green Roof”
The studio is buried in a steel reinforced cocoon, covered in concrete and dirt. But a part of the studio actually sticks up thru the soil. It’s the “Lungs” of the live space, a height extension that we designed in, to allow more “breathing room” for the piano and drums. It’s just a concrete box that is built up about 8′ above ground. (The exact height is still a topic for debate.) And it’s covered by a large flat roof. Why flat? Because we wanted to cover that in soil too! From the air, I don’t want you to see the buildings, at all. And from the ground, careful landscaping will help to hide the “stuck-thru” points… 🙂
It will begin with the installation of concrete “beds” atop the live space, to form the “roof.” Clerestory windows running around the underside of the perimeter of the roof will provide some sunlight into the live room. Each “bed” will be sealed with waterproof construction fabric and PVC piping is installed to provide drainage. These beds will then be filled with gravel and rich top soil. Once that happens, we can do whatever we want. I’m tempted to plant a garden up there! But… I’ll probably cave to suggestions, and we’ll plant native vegetation in the soil to begin the roof natural growth of indigenous wetland grasses.
There are significant benefits to a Green Roof on any structure. The vegetation, soil, and gravel in the roof provide a natural form of insulation that will further reduce the demand on the HVAC system. This in turn lowers energy costs for the studio and it’ll benefit us over the entire life of the building. The beauty and aesthetic value of the “building” will be enhanced by the abundant plant life. Plus, it’ll be cool, and we can take pride in the satisfaction that we are working in an environmentally sound structure, and ultimately that should lead to even more productivity!
So, we work below ground, fed by the sun, cooled by the earth, and stimulated by a powerful hankering for french fries! Oh Crap! We’ve become Hobbits!🙂