h a l f b a k e r y
"This may be bollocks, but it's lovely bollocks."
add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random
news, help, about, links, report a problem
or get an account
Missed my submission time, so I will submit it for your review
An automatic Google search found out about a contest
from Ingersoll-Rand for designs for a $300 house to
house the homeless but only about a week ago (link). I
developed one but didn't have decent drawings and ran
out of time learning Google Sketch-Up, so I submit it
here instead for your
review. The contest must have
closed some time today. :-(
A $300 house would be nice, but a $300 home would be
better. A home is not just a dry place to sleep, but a
foundation to build a life and family. These require
safety, efficiency, clean water and a clean living
environment. Also a $300 house is not $300 worth of
products bought at a home supply store, but a set of
materials that can be put in place and assembled on site
for $300. As IKEA proved, transportation costs have to
be accounted for. Building a single $300 house is tough,
the correct solution allows for delivery of materials to
create large numbers of homes utilizing efficiencies of
scale to drop costs even lower and allow for the efforts
of a whole community to be employed to solve the
communitys problems. Almost all of the materials
selected are delivered in rolls, which should be easy to
pack and ship.
First part of the solution is to use as much locally
sourced material as possible. To this, Earthbag
construction for the walls of a single room house seems
the best solution. Windows are nice to let in light, but
they are expensive, fragile and compromise both
security and insulation. The
solution is to create security-block style windows out of
local or inexpensively imported materials like clear
and glass bottles.
The idea is to spend as little money
possible on the walls to allow the majority to pay for the
roof. Nearly 1 Billion people suffer from the lack of clean
drinking water, so access to clean water is a key feature
of a good home. So our Earthbag walls will be topped by
a bamboo lattice, which is topped by pre-cut waxed
cardboard pattern over which is foam backed Mylar
sheeting to create multiple cylindrical mirrors. Rain
water or well water will be filtered thru sand filters and
then used to fill a feed tank located on the roof. Water
from the feed tank will be run down black PVC pipes
loosely wrapped by clear plastic located at the focus of
each of the mirrors. When that water reaches 65-70
Degrees C, it will activate an automotive type radiator
thermostat to let the water drain into a storage tank.
One or part of one of the
mirrors will also focus on a set of solar cells cooled by
the feed water. These will produce power to charge a
battery and run a set of white LED Christmas style lights
inside the house. By using focused sunlight, fewer solar
cells are necessary, but some cooling may be required.
Using Christmas style lights take advantage of the
efficiencies of scale. Extra Mylar can be supplied to
allow for solar cooking.
The complete list of delivered materials are:
2. mosquito netting
3. bamboo poles (unless available locally) to support
4. pattern cut waxed cardboard to support curve of
5. foam backed Mylar with foam cut in strips to allow
bend but support width
6. black PVC pipes
7. Connective piping
8. Photovoltaic cells
9. a small 12V battery
10. A small pump to move filtered water to feed water
tank (can be omitted if performed by home owner)
11. String of 12V white LED Christmas lights
12. Four plastic barrels rated for water storage, one on
roof to fill system, one for the sand filter, one for
water and one for clean water storage
13. Low temperature automobile type thermostat
14. Clean Sand or other filter media (if not available
15. Clear plastic sheeting to loosely wrap solar pipes to
insulate while allowing solar heating
16. Interior ground cover (anything from Linoleum to
Tyvek to woven mat to allow for clean interior)
17. Door and hardware
Home provides safety, warmth, cooling, and clean
$300 Home Contest
[MisterQED, May 26 2011]
$300 Home Contest
[MisterQED, May 26 2011]
Picture created in Google Sketch-Up
[MisterQED, May 26 2011]
[Sir_Misspeller, May 26 2011]
[MisterQED, May 27 2011]
||Edit for less terseness, retaining ponky rant: this is an interesting design, it reminds me somewhat of benders and other temporary or improvised homes used by itinerant and travelling people. However the land ownership regimes in most developed countries, with the monopolisation of land and the extracting of rent by a landowning class makes the cost savings of the building pale into insignificance beside the amount of cash that you would have to pay to someone else just for being there.
||Sturdy idea to build upon, of Priceless good intention.
||Challenging competition, and a nice attempt.
||Was this intended for people in 3rd-world
countries? (From the use of the word "homeless",
I thought at first it was for the homeless of first-
||Does it have to be "environmentally friendly"? If
not, I suspect that it you'd be better off using
more plastics (which could be recycled). Maybe
some sort of double-skinned shell, with the gap
filled with sand for solidity and insulation? If the
shells were designed right, they could be nested
||I like the water collection and sterilisation idea.
||This contest would have been a fun thing to attack with a group effort... .
||By the picture, I'd say you're off target by a factor of ten.
||The problem with the competition is the one-size-fits-all approach. Before we can solve this type of problem we really need to know things such as: climate, available raw materials, the permanence of the building, the existing problems that caused homelessness in the first place etc.
||Also, if we're just shipping in materials (and are probably subsidizing or fully paying for them as well) then the $300 limit seems arbitrary and stingy.
||What is really needed is know-how that can be applied to particular problems/situations. For example, got plenty of clay? Here's how you make bricks.
||[pocmloc] That is a valid point. The contest
literature pointed to several areas that I were just
seas of corrugated steel sheds with people living
in them. I agree that those people can't just start
building homes, but I can see situations where an
NGO could go into an area and microfinance seed
houses in several different towns in an area.
Maybe make a school house or something.
||[MB] Yes, definitely third world. I had Africa and
India in mind during the design. The only first
world application I can see would be some kind of
wilderness lodge, but all that Mylar is so out of
tune with nature, that is even doubtful.
//better off using more plastics// No, no
requirement on being Earth friendly other than
the harsh constraints set by the budget which
limit the bulk of the items that can be imported
which forced maximum reuse. Earth bags are
usually plastic, but obviously shipped empty. As
generally assembled the Earthbag walls will end up
being over a foot thick which provides good
||[xaviergisz] I completely agree. The best solution
for India is not the best solution for Africa, but I
think the discussion has merit. It is the reason I
went with Earthbag as it is nearly universally
usable. I was thinking of adding an addendum for
a solar column to continuously draw air out of the
house to improve circulation. What are the bugs
like? A coworker mentioned that my design would
collapse or at least have problems in a monsoon,
and I'd agree. I think the key was to find as many
universals as possible and try to apply them.
Economy of scale could make a universal solution
cheaper than a dedicated solution. I could do a
pretty easy rework on this design and make it
work in cold climates. Definitely have to alter for
monsoon areas. Have to solve some big issues
with salt infiltration near oceans, etc.
||Is the $300 arbitrary? Yes, but still meaningful. You
have to pick a number to set the mindset. I know
that because if you look at the submissions you
will agree that most people didn't understand
that. They are creating 3 and four room houses.
Houses made out of plywood. You have to start at
a seemingly crazy number to shock to thought
process into thinking differently. I think in bulk
my design could be delivered near budget in some
areas and it could change lives and that is
||These homes should be developed in combination with waste handling. Earthbag construction seems a good fit with digging a hole. Dug for using the removed earth for construction material; like the walls, and site features, like raising the elevation under the home. Some hole(s) could be designed, site specific, for construction of a means for waste management/handling.
||// Earth bags are usually plastic,//
||Ah, that's good then. However, if I understand
correctly, you then have a house which is not so
different from a sand-bag construction.
||If you used moulded shells (for instance, just two
cup-like shells which nest together, with a gap for
filling), then you would have something which
looks more like a "house", rather than like a
temporary emergency structure. Shiny plastic
may look tacky in a city, but I don't think the
people most in need of this are keen on appearing
to be in harmony with nature.
||The shells could incorporate openings for doors,
windows - they could even include some moulded-
in features such as wall-mounted basins, shelves,
seats, bed-bases etc
||Tooling up to make big mouldings is expensive,
but these would not need the absolute best
finish, and could probably be made by vacuum
forming or blow-moulding. If produced on a large
scale, my guess is that the shells would cost only
a few dollars to produce - probably not much more
than earth-bags (and with the advantage of giving
the occupants some integrated basic fittings to
boot). You then have more to spend on essentials
||[Grogster], Earthbag construction is maybe not the
absolute best choice for housing atop pontoons.
||// not so different from a sand-bag construction//
Nearly identical, except Earthbag sometimes uses
a continuous bag filled in position. As opposed to
segmented bags generally associated with sand
bag construction. This approach is much harder,
but I'd think it creates a stronger final structure.
Also due to the material the Earth bags can be
molded to create flatter edges.
||The downside of your shell design is delivery cost.
Even if the shells a feather weight, they fail the
IKEA test as they would cost more to transport
than they are worth. The advantage of the
Earthbag is it arrives as a roll of material.
||//18. Pontoons.// Another good point. Whether
you are coming from the flooding or the mobility
standpoint. There is definitely something to be
said for floating houses, though not Earthbag
ones. :) I even debated on creating a trailer
house, but doubt I could add more than a
modernized version of the covered wagon or a
Yert, and also doubted they had any way of
moving it. You could create a land or waterbourne
velomobile that could be slept in, but not for $300.
||//define house// Another good point and
discussion. The contest described noted security
as a requirement, so that discouraged tents. As
for whether tents are a proper house, I'd say there
are lots of people living in yerts who would
||My vision for this was for a launching point for a
poor worker who somehow managed to get a small
plot of land and wanted something permanent in
his life that would save his time and his money
that he could later build on. This house is secure,
can be made warm or cool, has access to clean
water and lights at night. With some slight
modifications it could even cook a meal or two a
day without need for firewood. It needs a
bathroom, and maybe a good porch, but other
than that it is a good if VERY modest home.
||One cause of homelessness in the US is the regulations designed to ensure each home is sufficiently safe. Alternative materials, be they ever so safe, are forbidden by regulators. And in many places it's forbidden to build a home without utility hookups. These requirements function as a de-facto tax on anyone building a home with some going to the local electricians/plumbers/etc, some going to the local government, and some wasted on undesired material. In fact most of the cost of obeying regulations involved in building a house go to corruption. Less than half go to things that are actually needed. Reform the regulations, tell the electricians guild/board/group to stuff it, and hang half of the local council/housing board/housing studies group/special council for designing blah de blah and making the world better for absolutely everyone and totally not for funneling money to politicians via demented and twisted third party pathways. Do this and housing will be enormously cheaper at the same quality.
||Yes, isn't representative democracy just wonderful ...?
||How like humans to carefully engineer a system that invariably produces the one compromise outcome that pleases absolutely no-one.
||the value of a house is typically not the building. the value
is the proximity/access to other people who live near there.
in many locations the cost of the land is 2x or even 10x the
cost of the building itself.