NOTE: This Part 2 of an 11 part series – Eva really went for it with this project! Here are the links to all the parts in the series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, and Part 11.
Today we’ll be tackling part two of our off-the-grid dollhouse series (click here for part one) and crafting a stand-alone energy system. It’s designed to use both solar and wind power, and we’ll also be making a green roof and passive ventilation.
Your eco dollhouse doesn’t rely on the municipal water supply, natural gas, power grid, or sewers – it’s built to be totally autonomous and self-sufficient! This craft is a great way to introduce kids to an eco-friendly life in a fun, creative way and in part two, we really focus on sustainability and off-grid living. Don’t forget: use recycled or eco-friendly materials to make your dollhouse as green as possible!
Keep reading to learn how to make a green roof, natural ventilation system and an electrical power system.
What You Need
- Hot glue gun
- Craft knife
For the green roof
- Green felt, towel, or foam
- Aluminum foil (optional)
For the chimney
- Card stock (or sturdy paper)
- Drinking straws
For the power system
- Black foam tray (or black cardboard)
- Drinking straws
- Empty sardine can
- Wood stick
- Popsicle stick
Part 1: The Living Roof and Solar Chimney for the Passive Ventilation System
A green roof is a roof covered with vegetation. Planting the rooftop of our farm will bring many benefits: Helps stabilize the home and provides wonderful insulation by reducing the heat flux through the roof, roof plants absorb
rainwater and serve as habitat for wildlife. If cared for properly, it can last a long time and you can even grow flowers and trees on it!
1.1 Use a Green Plush/Towel Eva Foam, Towel or Felt for making the grass of the roof and aluminum foil as waterproofing membrane. Cut them in same size as the roof dimensions. One straw and a piece of sturdy paper will work as chimney.
1.2 Place the foil, first layer of the green roof, on top of the wooden box.
1.3 Cut three 0.6” (1,5cm) pieces out from straw and glue them together. Cut a piece of cardboard a little bigger.
1.4 Glue the piece of cardboard in angle to the top of the glued straws, to let air pass through.
1.5 Cut a slot on the aluminum foil, and also on the foam, right above the cut- out handle or any other hole you find on the top box. Glue the chimney and then glue the foil to the roof adjusting the slot with the chimney.
1.6 Glue the plush foam onto the foil, centered and adjusted with the chimney to finish your green roof! Do you know how this thermal chimney works?
Natural ventilation uses physics to channel warm air out and pull cool, fresh air in without using mechanical systems. The building is full of little ventilation slots and without a ceiling to block airflow, the entire living space functions as a thermal chimney.
Part 2: The Solar and Wind Power System
The Solar and Wind Hybrid Power System combines solar and wind power (through a solar panel and a wind turbine), a battery and generator to provide the farm with electricity.
2.1 Make a solar photovoltaic panel: Cut a 3.2” x 3.2” square from cardboard and another smaller square from a black foam tray (you can also use Black foam or black cardboard). Glue them centered together. Make also a solar thermal collector panel for the next tutorial: Cut a 4” x 3.2” square from cardboard and cut black straws in pieces of 3” long. Lay and glue straws to the cardboard. Cut the top ends of two straws at an angle.
2.2 Glue each end to the backside of both panels.
2.3 Make a wind turbine with a wood stick, a popsicle stick and thumbtack.
2.4 Poke a hole at the center of the popsicle stick.
2.5 Using the thumbtack, pin the popsicle stick to the wooden stick.
2.6 Glue panels and turbine to the top back of the building.
2.7 Installing the power wiring: Cut some yarn and glue a long piece to the bottom of the Solar Panel, pass yarn along and down the corner house till you reach the bottom side of the house, fixing it with some tape. Add a short yarn piece to the base of the wind turbine and tie it to the solar panel yarn to connect both together.
2.8 Keep the solar power tube collector without any connection for the next tutorial when we’ll create the solar thermal water heating system.
2.9 Installing the control Box with battery and inverter: Working on the backside of the building, glue the empty sardines can (control box) to the bottom left side of the wooden box sandwiching the end of the yarn. Once connected to the Solar panel and wind turbine, this sardine will be our control box that will provide our farm with the all the electricity needed!
More alternative and renewable energy systems for our amazing green farm doll in the next tutorial!