Homebuilding, TEOTWAWKI Style

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posted on Jan, 28 2013 @ 11:56 PM
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OK, been looking at building technologies for a future home. Just got an email from Chris Reynolds of Earthship.com about the cost of completing an earthship. I love the concept, completely self contained, and low profile. an almost perfect "end of the world" type home, until Chris stated the average cost of completion is US $215/sqft! That's $322,000 for a 1,500 sqft home.

So now the search begins again, Monolithic Dome (stopped a .308 round at 25 feet)? Shipping containers? Cheap...

Anybody know of any concepts that work for an American family that needs to build on a budget.

What say the collective?
edit on 28-1-2013 by LetsGoViking because: (no reason given)




posted on Jan, 29 2013 @ 12:14 AM
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There is a sustainable home outfit in Hesperia California that I looked at. The guy developed this housing for NASA, to be used on the moon. After NASA quit going there, he reconfigured for earth-bound structures. Mostly concrete, easy to build, with little to no experience. There's nothing less expensive than DIY. Get ready to get your hands dirty building something you'll be proud of wherever it is. Good luck.



posted on Jan, 29 2013 @ 12:28 AM
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Originally posted by LetsGoViking
until Chris stated the average cost of completion is US $215/sqft! That's $322,000 for a 1,500 sqft home.

So now the search begins again, Monolithic Dome (stopped a .308 round at 25 feet)? Shipping containers?


Holy smokes!
Thats awful high for a structure that started it's life as abandoned tires and dirt! Sheesh!
Check out strawbale building, although they can get very spendy too the fancier you get (also wetter areas need more extensive design). I agree with above poster- do it yourself for a rewarding, educational, and life changing experience- not to mention save loads of cash!


edit on 29-1-2013 by Starcrossd because: added link and pic



posted on Jan, 29 2013 @ 12:40 AM
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Well, if you're looking to get really creative. don't fear putting work into it and can really think outside the box? I put a great deal of thought into making a house formed around 53ft trailers. As in the 18 wheel type trailers. Now it may sound outlandish but then so is making a house out of interconnected conex boxes (the big metal containers), yet several have done it. I think this would work better, actually.

They're 53 feet long, 102" wide and all the height you could want or ask for. If you avoid the flimsy aluminum boxes which form dry freight trailers (You could run a hole punch clean through the walls of some without THAT much effort) and stick with refrigerated trailers, you solve a great deal of problems too. They're already insulated like you wouldn't believe and I hauled many a load of frozen meat down in the -10 range across the raging summer heat of Arizona and Southern California deserts without a problem.

Additionally, they're structurally sound to start with and are built to withstand high wind, endless vibration and the rather brutal (at times) treatment all manner of drivers put them through bouncing 45,000 pounds of load over curbs, pot holes and stuff best left unmentioned as if it never happened.


The 'tandems' or trailer tires and entire rail they're mounted to also come off easily enough and sometimes even come off when not desired....so I can attest to the truth of that. lol.... Get an operational reefer unit attached to one of them and you also have backup heating (80-90 degree min. on the high side) and cooling FAR beyond anything normally within range of a consumer (-10 cool enough on a summer day?
)

Anyway.. You sounded like you wanted unconventional and I honestly did spend hours on the road with nothing better to do but drive the miles down, thinking all this through to work out the little kinks of it. It'd be workable if you were real creative about outside appearance...or just didn't care much.
edit on 29-1-2013 by Wrabbit2000 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 29 2013 @ 01:49 AM
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S & F for the thought provoking thread.

im sure i will have more to comment on once ive done a bit more reading.



posted on Jan, 29 2013 @ 02:35 AM
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My personal favorite, and what I'll use to put up Chez Bedlam when we get the land paid off:

ICF.

Insulated concrete forms. ICF kicks ass. You have what amounts to Lego blocks for building your house. They're very dense foam, and most systems lock together (like Legos). Once you get them in place, they're banded together and you pour the wall/floor with concrete using the Lego blocks as a 3D mold. You can make the walls up to 12" thick with standard systems if you like (most use 8", but I'm likely going 12").

Properly erected, it'll take a direct hit from a cat 5, and a tornado might not damage it, depending on trees.

It's got a HUGE R factor. Just huge. Between the mass effect and the insulation from the concrete and the forms (they stay in place after), you're looking at wall effective R's up in the high 20's, low 30's. If you combine an ICF home with a groundwater heat pump (depends on where you're at) you might not be looking at more than $50 a month for HVAC. ICF is also airtight - you actually need fresh air intakes designed in, mostly you use a heat exchanger so you don't lose your cold/heat. But in a TEOTWAWKI situation, you could shut that down and isolate the house from zombie virus or clouds of CS tear gas.

It's bullet proof for small caliber fire. Maybe not 50 cal but it's close at 12".

Bugs won't eat it, cause they don't know how.

It won't burn, especially if you use poured concrete roof slabs, at least one ICF system can do a poured roof slab that has 'textured-on' shingles. You just repaint the roof occasionally. All systems can make your attic roof a solid slab, though, and you just put a conventional roof on for appearance.

It's dead silent inside one.

And for all that, they look just like a conventional house, if that's what you want, can be multi-story too. They're about 5%-10% more expensive than stick frame, but you have lower energy costs, lower insurance, and no termite spray.

edit to add: if you had the concrete roof/concrete attic setup, you could dedicate an inner room space to a fallout shelter. Add a 6" paraffin lining to the room, you'd be set against fairly bad fallout and some neutron radiation. 12" of high density concrete isn't bad shielding.
edit on 29-1-2013 by Bedlam because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 29 2013 @ 02:50 AM
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reply to post by LetsGoViking
 


Check out:
Cal-Earth.org
Earthbag Buildings

Sandbag homes are both a cheap way to build, and a great way to protect your house. One of the guys you might want to look up is Owen Geiger. His home designs are easy to live with and construct.



posted on Jan, 29 2013 @ 03:04 AM
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Refrigerated shipping containers have huge potential, if you can get them where you want them.

www.treehugger.com...



posted on Jan, 29 2013 @ 05:14 AM
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Thanks guys, hadnt thought about refrigerated shipping containers or trailers.

l love the look of straw bale and rammed earth though.
edit on 29/1/13 by Cinrad because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 29 2013 @ 07:15 AM
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If you're going for quick and dirty, but substantial, you could always raid a Lowes and get all the sacks of quikcrete and whatever they have that looks like rebar or long metal spikes (2-3 feet), a sledgehammer, and a hose.

Mark out where you want the walls, slash the bags, soak thoroughly with the hose, and stack. Drive spikes/pieces of rebar through the top course of bags into the bags below. It'll set up into a concrete pillbox/shack. It takes some practice to wet the bags enough for the concrete to soak through and set while not totally coming apart, but once you get the knack, you can throw up light arms proof "buildings" in a jiffy, if you don't care what it looks like.

If you've got more time, a traditional concrete block and mortar hut is pretty fast.

If you need it made out of wood, I suggest the plans in "Camping and Woodcraft" by Kephart, you get a complete layout and set of instructions for building a fairly substantial shelter with 1920's tools.

Edit to add:

18 wheeler trailers or railroad box cars are also good improvised shelters that last forever
edit on 29-1-2013 by Bedlam because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 29 2013 @ 07:34 AM
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Originally posted by Starcrossd

Holy smokes!
Thats awful high for a structure that started it's life as abandoned tires and dirt! Sheesh!
Check out strawbale building, although they can get very spendy too the fancier you get (also wetter areas need more extensive design). I agree with above poster- do it yourself for a rewarding, educational, and life changing experience- not to mention save loads of cash!


I've looked at Strawbale almost as long as earthships. I've stayed in one in NW Montana that was completely off-grid and very nicely done. The main drawback I see, especially here lately is the cost and availability of straw. And the time and expertise to construct properly. It's still a consideration.

Hopefully we will be moving to NW Montana soon, had one interview yesterday and another this morning, so the hunt is becoming more real!


Thanks for taking the time to comment!



posted on Jan, 29 2013 @ 07:47 AM
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Originally posted by Wrabbit2000
Well, if you're looking to get really creative. don't fear putting work into it and can really think outside the box? I put a great deal of thought into making a house formed around 53ft trailers. As in the 18 wheel type trailers. Now it may sound outlandish but then so is making a house out of interconnected conex boxes (the big metal containers), yet several have done it. I think this would work better, actually.

They're 53 feet long, 102" wide and all the height you could want or ask for. If you avoid the flimsy aluminum boxes which form dry freight trailers (You could run a hole punch clean through the walls of some without THAT much effort) and stick with refrigerated trailers, you solve a great deal of problems too. They're already insulated like you wouldn't believe and I hauled many a load of frozen meat down in the -10 range across the raging summer heat of Arizona and Southern California deserts without a problem.


That's a great idea...but I have a question for you, where do you source inexpensive used ones? The ones I'm seeing are sitting in the 10 - 30k range each. Ouch! Just thinking about it, it seems you would at least three, likely four. Also, another question for you, can they be stacked? I would have doubts about their compressive load ability, speaking as a lay person..

I will certainly look into it more!



posted on Jan, 29 2013 @ 09:48 AM
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reply to post by LetsGoViking
 

Pricing is probably fairly close to that going by the market. I was looking closer to 10-15k when I'd been running numbers on all this so it sounds about right.

I would note however, that's going by the open market and used sites/papers. Someone may very well find better deals than that by looking deeper for auctions or contacting some of the national companies directly who would have old units and a need to get rid of them. The secondary market on virtually all used truck equipment is about as soft as a marshmallow from years of attrition based on rough freight numbers and shrinking profit margins. (Fuel costs that no surcharge ever really makes up for) It's created a glut that's been there for years now.

In checking that route I can suggest a few to call. Prime, Inc, Trailiner Corp, GTI (Gordon Trucking), Jacobson, CR England and Covenant Transport to start.

All of the above are large fleets with their own maintenance facilities and/or multiple yard facilities around the nation. The purpose of calling wouldn't be to just ask 'What used equipment do you have available to sell?' but specifically, what trailer equipment do they have in less than serviceable condition they need to unload and if there is interest, explain more about the specific intent. Over my years I worked for 2 of the companies above and there were ALWAYS a few trailers in a condition the used market wouldn't do much with because it's all looking for equipment DOT won't write a small book of tickets on at the next scale house it crosses.


I'd do one other thing as well and this might be the real ticket. I'd put wanted ads into all the used truck papers that allow it, nationally. There are MANY Owner Operators who aren't in good shape and would likely jump at the chance to sell older equipment which is borderline on road service but perfect for this. In a mushy used market, $10k or less in cash might get a whole lot more than one can get looking elsewhere.


* As for stacking? I've never seen those stacked more than 2 layers (in a stripped condition) and that wasn't common. Usually old equipment being stored that way for sale or destruction. You're right that they aren't really made to stack outside of the trailers made specifically for that purpose in "inter-modal" shipping (rail yards and ocean going). Those would add cost which, in my view, wouldn't be justified by your use of them. If might make more sense for external framing to support the one above without the one below taking the direct weight. Structural steel or heavy wood beams? I'm not even going to play like I'm a structural engineer. I wasn't thinking multi-story when I was considering it for the inherent instability that would bring in being able to easily weather "all conditions", no matter what happens. It's an interesting direction to go with it though (no pun intended..lol)

Hope all that helps for my own experience on it all!



posted on Jan, 29 2013 @ 09:52 AM
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Originally posted by Starcrossd

Holy smokes!
Thats awful high for a structure that started it's life as abandoned tires and dirt! Sheesh!


I know. Their website claims,



Earthships provide security in economically unsecure times. Earthships cost about the same as a conventional home, but a conventional home does not come with all the electricity and water you will use. A conventional home is bad for the planet, is not strong and uses materials that require a lot of fossil fuels to manufacture and get to your building site.

Emphasis added. Around Western Montana, the average cost per sqft of new construction is significantly lower than that! Kinda leans toward false advertising in my book, but heh, I guess if you can get the clients at that rate, more power to you. I just won't be one.



posted on Jan, 29 2013 @ 01:59 PM
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Originally posted by Cinrad
Thanks guys, hadnt thought about refrigerated shipping containers or trailers.



I understand that they don't have the problem of extreme temperatures due to better insulation.

There is also some kind of ceramic spray that can be applied to other structures like this that aren't so well insulated, but it might be expensive.



posted on Jan, 29 2013 @ 02:19 PM
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Originally posted by On the Edge

Originally posted by Cinrad
Thanks guys, hadnt thought about refrigerated shipping containers or trailers.



I understand that they don't have the problem of extreme temperatures due to better insulation.

There is also some kind of ceramic spray that can be applied to other structures like this that aren't so well insulated, but it might be expensive.


Ceramic spray insulation works really well actually. I worked on developing a product with a water filtration company to supply aid to third world countries with limited clean water supply. We used a large shipping container stripped and sprayed with ceramic insulation, 4 capsule style beds, water filtration unit and 2 x 50,000 gallon water bladders with solar panels on roof. It had a small septic system and stove for the aid workers shipped in to get the set up running for the locals. Very inexpensive to build and slept 4. Without the giant bladder it would easily accommodate more creature comforts, but these were solely to help small villages filter and contain clean water supplies.
edit on 1/29/13 by Vasa Croe because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 29 2013 @ 04:34 PM
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Originally posted by Wrabbit2000

* As for stacking? I've never seen those stacked more than 2 layers (in a stripped condition) and that wasn't common. Usually old equipment being stored that way for sale or destruction. You're right that they aren't really made to stack outside of the trailers made specifically for that purpose in "inter-modal" shipping (rail yards and ocean going). Those would add cost which, in my view, wouldn't be justified by your use of them. If might make more sense for external framing to support the one above without the one below taking the direct weight. Structural steel or heavy wood beams? I'm not even going to play like I'm a structural engineer. I wasn't thinking multi-story when I was considering it for the inherent instability that would bring in being able to easily weather "all conditions", no matter what happens. It's an interesting direction to go with it though (no pun intended..lol)
Hope all that helps for my own experience on it all!


It does. Here is quick render I did showing my first thought on your idea:



Could also be used with Earthbag and Cob tech to create some interesting spaces. Still not sure of the cost....may play with that later!



posted on Jan, 29 2013 @ 06:12 PM
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reply to post by Vasa Croe
 


That's impressive!
Good hands-on knowledge you have,
edit on 29-1-2013 by On the Edge because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 29 2013 @ 07:16 PM
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One of the beauty's of using cargo containers for any build like this is they are cheap and built to stack 9 high with no reinforcement....as they do on cargo ships. This was one of the big reasons for the design on what I spoke of previously....we can mass produce them and ship them anywhere. The infrastructure is also already in place to get them anywhere....cargo ships, semi trucks, helicopters, cargo planes, trains. Cargo containers have all been built to fit these already in place options for transport.

The reason they are so cheap is because they are manufactured in China, shipped over with goods in them and left in other countries because empty they are too expensive to ship back. You can find them very easily and very cheap.....they can be easily transformed into office space, hotels, houses, pools, etc.....look it up...it is really amazing what some people have done with them.

Link to some cargo container living spaces....

Houses

Hotels

Pools
edit on 1/29/13 by Vasa Croe because: (no reason given)
edit on 1/29/13 by Vasa Croe because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 29 2013 @ 07:38 PM
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I'd like to build something vaguely resembling a Roman villa out of shipping containers - obviously, it would be a reinterpretation of the style to say the least.

Make a square from eight containers, weld them together, insulate it and drywall, hardwood flooring. Maybe some nice stucco or something, or maybe brickwork on the exterior. A decent defensible position for a WROL situation, and a large central courtyard for greenhouses, or maybe aquaculture. Or barbeques and keg parties, who knows.

But I'm sure the nanny state would have all sorts of issues with that sort of construction, red tape and all that BS.





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