Learn to Build a Rocket Mass Heater

This will be hands-on workshop, and over the 2 1/2 days we'll construct a full scale and fully operable Rocket Mass Heater so you'll be able to design and build a system of your own to heat a workshop, office or green house or other out building.

Date: Friday May 31st, 5-8pm; Saturday June 1st & Sunday June 2nd, 9am-5pm. Lunch included on Sat & Sun.


Rocket mass heaters are one tool on the path to sustainable independence. Take a moment to consider this image: Imagine a chilly winter day, when the sun is low, and the skies are grey. You have built a small out building that you use as you office, writing studio, or perhaps you have a greenhouse. Instead of having a space heater that is powered by electricity (in the province of Alberta, supplied by a coal fired power plant, most likely) that relies on grid infrastructure, you take your hatchet, split some kindling, and get a roaring fire going. The wood you are using is probably either clean scrap wood from the nearby lumber yard, or perhaps coppiced branches from your caragana bushes. 
If you are in your office, you sip your morning coffee, and take a minute to appreciate what you built with your own two hands. You sit down to work, with the fire crackling in the background, releasing radiant heat. If you are in your greenhouse, you stand back, arms folded, satisfied that your plants are warm and happy, and steadily growing to feed you and your family. You are content because through the use of simple technology, you have created a small pocket of resiliency in your life. If need be, you can heat yourself efficiently. This is independence.


Rocket mass heaters (RMH) are a great DIY option for creating cheap and super efficient heat for a variety of situations. They can be used for heating a green house, building, home, or even water for showers or a hot tub.



In a nutshell, a rocket mass heater can:
  • heat a space using a fraction of the firewood
  • burn the wood so efficiently that there is virtually no smoke, simply steam and CO2 (after all, smoke is simply unburned fuel)
  • maintain heat in a building for several days after only one firing
  • be built for under $100 and in just a couple of days
  • provide the most beautiful radiant heat


This will be hands-on 2 1/2 day workshop, during which we'll construct a full scale and fully operable RMH for heating a space like a greenhouse, office or workshop. If you are considering building a greenhouse, perhaps this type of system would fit your design, and truly extend your growing season (there will be opportunities to ask questions about design options from an experience permaculture teacher). And of course these systems can be used for other purposes such as home heating, water heating, etc. — all of which will be covered in the workshop.

We'll cover: 

  • Design theory – learn the in's and out's from two experienced teachers (which means you get to learn from twice as many mistakes)

  • Learn some really appropriate applications for these systems, but also learn what the limitations are

  • Play with plenty of fire, hands on experience building test configurations

  • Build and test the working guts of a RMH before it is installed

  • Go through the nitty-gritty of building with cob – a mixture of sand, clay and straw. This material is great for the thermal mass component of the rocket mass heater – no need to use concrete

  • The role of thermal mass compared to insulation in a system based on radiant heat

Read about our experience living with our RMH which we installed as part of a workshop a few years ago, and check our gallery of rocket mass heaters here.

The workshop will allow for only 12 students, to ensure the quality of learning experience for all.

Some reasons for The Price: 
  #5  Lunch on Saturday and Sunday is included, and we will be providing coffee, tea and refreshments
   #4 Get a close up of a working system (our system at Dirt Craft HQ) that was build a few years ago, and learn from our mistakes. There were definitely some things that needed to be fixed. We'll show what needed to be repaired from the original build, how we did it, and how we made it work, and work well.
   #3  Access to a pretty incredible yard in a urban setting that is focused on food production, and low energy use. We will be eating food from the garden for lunch – healthy & fresh – and be enjoying food baked in the cob oven – the pyromaniacs favourite way to make food. 
   #2  If you're serious about building one of these systems, take this time as an advantage to build and trial the working guts of a RMH, different size systems, and play with fire; we will be doing lots of trials 
   #1  You get access to two teachers with a lot of experience with this stuff: Ashley has a lot of natural building knowledge, and teaching experience, and has worked directly with Ianto Evans (Cob Cottage Company, OR) who popularized the RMH design, and Rob who is an well respected and experienced permaculture teacher, and has built these systems in various situations including outdoor showers.
If you want a little more info about What to Expect from a Dirt Craft workshop, read more here.
Date: Friday May 31st, 5-8pm; Saturday, June 1st & Sunday, June 2nd, 9am-5pm, in SW Calgary. Lunch included on Saturday & Sunday.
We will provide all registered students with specific location information.
10% Early Bird discount ends March 16th. There will be a ongoing offer of 10% to couples or friends who register together.

There is also a 10% discount for Dirt Craft and Verge Permacutlre alumni. Contact us for more info: [email protected]


Review our cancellation policy here.

**Please note that we send out specific course information to all registered participants about a week prior to the workshop date  which includes location, and a brief reminder of what to expect, and what to bring. When you register online, we save your contact your contact information, for our records only (we respect your privacy, and would never sell it to a third party!). If you would rather bypass PayPal (you don't have to have a PayPal account to use our online registration service), we gladly except cash or cheques instead. Payment in advance is still required to reserve your spot. Please call us if you would like to pursue this option, 403-700-2629. Thanks!

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