The Walipini

Discussion in 'The Green Patch' started by RightHand, Aug 24, 2014.

  1. RightHand

    RightHand Old Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

  2. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Land Projectile Moderator

    Interesting concept!!
  3. RightHand

    RightHand Old Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    I've always wanted to built a berm house with steel I-Beams and lots of glass. Its a little late now but I have a perfect spot for one on a hillside that has a cliff ending in a meadow that abuts my stream. Its about 800 yards from the road on the western side. Maintaining an access would be challenging if I continued to work away from home but with the proper equipment, not insurmountable. The only downside is that the cliff front faces east instead of south.
    Trouble, chelloveck and Yard Dart like this.
  4. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Land Projectile Moderator

    I looked at a great piece of property today.... but it was flat and would only be useable with a regular above ground green house. I will have to remember this Walipini if we find a suitable property for that technique.
  5. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Makes sense to me. At @6' down, there is a year round 56° , add solar and it would be pretty cozy. Might be better as a dome though. More area inside and out, and the sun angle would not matter.
  6. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

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  7. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

    I was going to start a thread on the walipini but I see that it has been done. So here is what I wrote up- bump!

    A walipini is a passive-solar heating structure that burrows closer to the magma that flows beneath the earth’s crust. Walipini is the Aymara Indian word for “place of warmth”. By digging just six to eight feet below the earth, growers can take advantage of what is called a thermal constant.

    We have had small discussions on Walipini’s over the years, people have mentioned them but I am looking for more information on them. Having seen various plans but am wondering which way would be the one that would last over time. I have heard these structures called in-earth greenhouse or walipini. Many plans that I have looked at tend to be on a hillside or berm with a single panel at 90 degrees, one side of the building being higher than the other.

    Different plans I have seen are:

    Stone for drainage on the outside of the structure
    Earthbags as walls on the inside
    No drainage, just a rectangle swath in the ground.
    Cinder block walls, brick walls
    Just dirt walls
    Single 90 degree pane
    Pitched roof making in structure look like a triangle
    Planting on the floor or having planter areas (boxes or beds)
    Cold sink area or pipes vs. not

    Has anyone ever tried one of these? I am looking for success/ failure stories. There are plans I have seen that say you can build a walipini for $300 (see video above) but how good are those structures? People often speak of the 100 year flood, which is something to keep in mind. Drainage is a huge concern of mine plus flooring. I think I would tend to have planting areas vs. just planting on the flooring area. My flooring thoughts have been stone, dirt or pallets. I know earthbags and/or mason walls will help hold heat but also help with moisture control. When building something, I want it to last. Plus some plans have cold sink areas, some do not. This could be a project that one could start with doing the simplest construction then expand to incorporate other things like drainage, walls or cold sink if the simple structure is not working but one would need to room for construction improvements.

    I have been looking at land and this is one structure that I am planning on building. I want a year round greenhouse and rather than heat an on- grade greenhouse, I think a walipini would cut down on heating.

    walipinin. 2_underground-greenhouse. c3b50382b691a6614f4a6e6af91af074. earth-sheltered-pit-greenhouse. 6579198821f79318dc6f079ad42f1788.
    Yard Dart and Trouble like this.
  8. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    One of our greenhouses is built back into a bank. 12x20, earth bermed on front, side and back. Glazed with polycarbonate triple wall (16mm) glazing, it never freezes inside.


    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    We did try raising tomatoes/etc in it couple winters......what we found is even if you keep the heat up, there simply isn't enough daylight hours to raise many things....I think you will find this the case in most Wlaipini kinda things, but your mileage may vary.

    This past year, we took out the table arrangement, and built raised bed along the front and back wall, keeping the table in the center where my wife over winter's her flowers.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Now we use the beds to grow cool weather stuff....lettuce, spinach, coles....and she starts plants in late winter the hoop house and outside gardens.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    RightHand likes this.
  9. RightHand

    RightHand Old Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    Beautiful Tn.
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