I have just joined the page. Boy do I have questions. I have looked at what has been posted under green building and did not find anything like this so I figured I would start a post.
I have been checking out green/alternate building for my dream home. I have books on cob, earthbags, earthships, earth block, underground, one to 3 sides under earth homes etc.
I am starting to feel like I am looking for the impossible.
I want, sustainable, low maintenance, green, affordable, energy efficient and disaster proof. I am talking, fire, hurricane, tornado, termites, rot, high winds proof. People talk of climate change but don't seem to take that into consideration with housing. Why spend all that money just to lose the home to fire or other natural disaster to have to rebuild again, not sustainable at least as I see it. Sustainable is build it once and it last and stand to up what Mother Nature has in store for us.
I love the earthship concept, no water, electric bill, gray water, grow food inside, (with hot temperatures outside great idea) but with all of that free material it cost as much or more than a conventional home. I am talking $110 or more per sq ft to have it built. Same with formworks, and monolithic domes although they are not as self sufficient or energy efficient, as an earthship and are not made of recycled materials.
I have read of people starting and earthship and it being years and not finished.
So am I the only one dreaming of a home like this. I mean build an earthship to get away from some stuff but have a mortgage up to your eyeballs, that someone making 50,000 or less a year could not afford? What is the point? Are these things only for people who make 100,000 or more a year to afford to build, and can pay the mortgage?
My current house cost 70,000 to buy the note is $624/month taxes and insurance is included, but it is like all the others a tender box waiting for a match, cost a bunch to heat and cool and even with more insulation, as I have done my heating and cooling bills have not gone down because the companies are going up on what they charge for energy. I used 200kw less per month but my bill increased.
Ya'll know the story, but if I am going to invest in a home I want it all. I am 47 years old, disabled due to illnesses but I still want my dream home.
Has any one else thought of this and found anything?
$50 house books has loads of wood in it which means rot, termites and it burns and it has stairs...
Earthship guess for cost is $150-$300/sq/ft, you can reduce cost if you most of the labor... something I am not able to do.
Perhaps the biggest challenge is the growing food indoors criteria. Its more of a novelty idea with very few exceptions. The exceptions would almost certainly include an advanced aquaculture system.
For our society currently my expectations are unrealistic.. but it can be come reality..if people think of it and actually figure out how to do it.. that is where I am at.. I thought that is part of what this premies.com is about.
why is it unrealistic here in the USA earthship, earth bag homes in other countries don't cost what they do here to build..if so they they are not option for low cost housing in disaster prone areas as people claim they are.
Says a lot about America, and the focus of our overall society when the average American can't afford a sustainable earth friendly home, grow food indoors, which is going to become more a necessity because of climate change, along with being disaster resistant, more tornado's, hurricanes, wild fires, floods, sea levels rising,etc resistant and provide for themselves regardless of their physical abilities.
I would offer the ideas of Solviva for sustainable housing with food-growing, but it includes wood also may be expensive. http://www.solviva.com/index.htm
in that case i would definately look into an oehler home, as far as im aware thats the best home you can get for little money, there are solutions for termites and such so that one never has much of a problem with them but its not gonna last as long as a formworks
you could perhaps get the house designed and then build it via inflatable forming before spraying on a form of foamy concrete, after drying completely you can deflate and wait for it to cure a while before burying... honestly though this is gonna be more work/cost than a oehler home in the long run
as for mortgage, i suggest saving and then purchasing rather than commiting to financial slavery via a mortgage... saving by ones self may be difficult so perhaps look into savings pools and look to ways of implementing them - hard to get a home anymore that you actually own, but such is the case under socialism
as to stairs or no stairs, oehler really likes going from underground to way above ground without changing levels, if you design it right you can build a home with no stairs but its all dependent on your design
I really like the form works..yes they use steel and concrete but it last....much longer than any other home out there from my research.
Monolithic dome homes are the same price but you have to spend more money on top of that to coat the air form.
I could cut cost by using recycled stuff on the inside and cob..
That is the way I think I am leaning, they can design it with the earth ship concepts I like so much. but that is $110sq/ft.
But that combo is the only way I can figure at this point getting all I want from a home.
Karla Arnold wrote:It would be for 2 humans, 3 dogs and many cats...Small is not an option. as I am disabled and ladder and stairs are out.
$50 house books has loads of wood in it which means rot, termites and it burns and it has stairs...
Earthship guess for cost is $150-$300/sq/ft, you can reduce cost if you most of the labor... something I am not able to do.
I dont think anything is disasper proof. Even underground bunkers have issues. Check out some shows called Cities of the underworls. There are caves under cities where people have lived during disasters for 1200s of years. Mostly protected. But floods happen underground. There is NOTHING foolproof.
As for the cats and dogs and not being allowed. You have to take what you can afford in many cases. I currently live in a mobile home. Because I bought and now rent, I can have as many cats as I want. Any dogs have to be on leashes outside and cleaned up after.
However, I do own property outside of the city. A single wide mobile home on 5+ acres. My nieghbor Autumn is planning on moving in with me. We plan to expand the trailer and add 3 bedrooms. We plan for a tree bog outside, and a garden. The whole works. Both of us believe communal living is the best way to go. We combine meals and split the cost. We share just about everything and it is cheaper for everyone involved.
But the real question is how much or how little are you willing to give up? You will have to give up some things to get others.
Have you considered a Tiny House?
In areas that have termites, what have been the traditional building methods?
I also don't think a disaster proof house is possible, there will always be something that throws a curve ball. Instead of sustainability, we need to be looking towards resiliency, in systems so that if a disaster strikes we can recover.
"I am talking, fire, hurricane, tornado, termites, rot, high winds proof."
I'm curious about that list. Is that specific to your location? I can think of other issues (flood, riot, global economic collapse, earthquake, landslide, bush fire, drought...)
Earthship uses lots of recycled materials--but not necessarily free. It takes a LOT more manual labor to do what they do.
You can also look at rammed earth--it is easier to mechanize.
Ok enough of that. I am trying very hard for my disability not to define who I am, it is hard enough that it defines what I can do. I was very active before it hit me. My last DIY project was to put in 3 raised bed to grow veggies.
So stairs are not an option.. single level house. Low maintenance as I can no longer clean my own gutters, paint, native plants, no mowing the grass that way.
I want the gray water raised bed connected to the house so I don't have to go far to give them some TLC.
My area that I am currently living it is Kansas. High winds, and tornado's, with the drought we are still in fire can be an issue. Who knows what else climate change is going to bring on. Bugs are on the rise, in live trees, dead trees, house made of wood, and fleas this year... wanted to pull my hair out trying to find a way to run them off with out chemicals.
having to rebuild after a disaster is hard on the earth, all the waste from the trashed houses has to go somewhere and the resources to rebuild with. Better to build it once to withstand as much as you can an not build in a flood zone.
I mention hurricanes because I was born and raised in Louisiana, hard not to when you grew up with them and my grandmothers training on how to prepare for one.
I figure if I can come up with something for me than it would work for others with disabilities and the elderly.
The small home, tumble weed are great for young singles, or a couple with no kids that don't have pets or many at all. Not so much for those of us that are pet loves, and have to think of things like using a damn wheel chair in my near future. I am fighting that one, tooth and nail.
Thanks for the input. I feel that the housing is not addressing all of the needs of the people, so I brought it up. To see if any one else has thought of it or has ideas to make it so.
I have a friend building an earth sheltered house--big contractor style with lots of concrete and no wood--and in still worried about termites. He said they will still burrow through bluefoam insulation because it is easy digging, ruining the insulative value in the process. They won't warrantee bluefoam in earth contact anymore unless you can prove you saturated the ground with poison.
Tyler..glad you agree that it is an important topic. You are correct and it is not discussed people like living in their own litter world where these things are someone else problems and what get old.. all the focus is on how to stay young looking.
Maybe and add on like granny flat, that is what they are called in Aussie I lived their for 4 years.. like a one bed room apartment, open kitchen and living room and one handicapped bath room, attached to the main house, for your father, all one level that you could use when you get older, and could rent out your house to someone you trust when the time comes? Just a thought.
I think of these things even before my illness hit me. I working as a CNA in a disability home when I lived in Aussie, that taught me a lot and a different way to look at things. My grandmother was also the youngest in her family so I grew up around the elderly, and yes had to do many things for them. I was a gopher being the first of her grandchildren.
I think every home should be planned and built with getting older in mind really handicapped accessible, no stairs, ramps or elevators if you must have more than one floor. I know an issue with a home powered by solar and wind. Also BIG DOORS room to get furniture in so it is not a battle, no corners to fight.
electrical outlets many of them and high enough to be reached without having to get on the darn floor or stand on your head.
There are many things being disabled brings to light.
I will keep that in mind I don't think formworks uses blue foam insulation. That is who I am leaning towards. Bugs will become a bigger issue as the planet warms up and they can move into areas they have not lived in before and can breed long because it is warmer. Already seeing it in some kind of wood beetle, able to move as far a Canada or close to it, snaking on trees all the way up and killing them.
Thanks for all your post and ideas. Glad some people are thinking about these things now at least on a small level.
Some people advise a primal/paleo diet to treat FM/chronic fatigue.
I do wish we had some sort of storm cellar but we can't afford one and I don't usally think about it untill there are tornado warnings out. We do try to keep the woods back and a fire barrier around the house and out buildings. We are not in a flood zone but we are close enough to the new madras fault that I suppose I should worry more...I wouldn't want to be underground in an earthquake.
Great on the diet/herbal thread.
I have done heaps of research on the herbal treatments for my illness, most of it from Europe. I am a massage therapist, Reiki Master, so I had some knowledge of alternative stuff. I can show my partner how to work on my really sore calves, and that does help. I have tried all they suggest some help some don't the ones that help I keep of course, but I am willing to try more herbs out to see if I can get some improvement, I will take a 1/2% in improvement at this point. I will take a look.
Glad there are more thinking about it than it appears, my topic that is.
I do have a partial basement.
I try to avoid earthquakes.. hence I stay away from CA. , even though the weather is better their for people with my illness.
Re the Tiny Houses, there are advantages to them for people with disabilities (small spaces can be easier to manage and maintain), and even people in wheelchairs and with pets live in Tiny Houses. I'm not saying that this is for you (not everyone likes living in a small space) just that they can be built to suit disability or a certain lifestyle. The pet issue would depend on whether you had land or not, and whether you could have other buildings there. This is an increasing opportunity for people with not much money - thinking outside the box in terms of what a 'home' constitutes. Climate comes into it too (living in several small buildings is easier in some climates than others). The other obvious benefit is that the main house can be moved, so if you have issue with noisy neighbours or people using pesticides or an approaching hurricane you can move .
Disability access Tiny House http://www.minimalistathome.com/building-a-handicap-accessible-tiny-house/ Lots more online too.
on my 5 acres, I want to live there as long as I can. But I have Hashimotoes. Which one of the results is cronic fatigue among other things.
I am putting a type of will in place that allows me to live on the property but the property will unlitmately go to a friend of mine named Autumn. She wants to live on a farm and begin homesteading. But will probably never have the money for her own land. Since I have no kids, she is my heir. We build the farm together. She is young with no disbilities and no family history. She has 2 sons. I get to stay there as long as I am able or can get nursing care to visit. When I am gone, the property and all of our finished work belongs to her.
I empathize with you. I have FM-like symptoms (pain is in the connective tissues, not in the muscles), probably caused by chronic irritation from several disc bulges and spinal stenosis that I have had for most (or all, I don't know when the damage occurred) of my 51 years.
As far as housing goes, you are probably better off, economically, staying where you are and making what modifications you can to adapt to your condition. In my market, you would be lucky to rent a small apartment for the payments you are making. However, if you can sell your house and get enough out of it for a sizable down payment on something more appropriate for you, that exists right now, that would be the way to go.
I, also, would not recommend taking on a building project in your condition. Even if you are not doing the labor, the stress of having to oversee a bunch of ham-fisted morons (a gross generalization, I know, but an often accurate one) takes a heavy emotional and physical toll. Having a house built is like getting a haircut. You can explain in the greatest detail what you want done and the barber/contractor still does what he is accustomed to doing.
Please, please, don't let yourself get all worked up over global warming. I know I risk the wrath of some here, but when I see a level of angst so potentially harmful, I feel obliged to say something. Don't dwell on bad things the might happen and focus on making your life more comfortable and stress free, which may well require some strategic ignorance.
I am aware that low stress is best for me, along with low light and low noise. I have my best days when I am home and can set my own, slow pace. No doctors appointment etc. Building a house is stressful. My parents built a house, the one I grew up in and I remember the energy around that, and I did not know the half of it back then.
Also the longer I am like I am the less chance of a full recovery I have. After 5 years your chances drop even more. I started going down hill May 2010, the dizziness and everything else got so bad I stopped working March 2011. I am at 2 years and still losing ground.
Great on someone you trust enough to live with and share land with and that she has 2 boys.
I have my partner, she is not a DIYer, but no one else I trust enough to do that with.
I have bartered with two people so far, one was a bust, traded a lawn mower for our grass to get cut for a summer, and the second one I am having trouble getting things done around the house which doing them was the barter for the use of our truck. Really getting annoyed there. So trusting someone to take care of things in exchange for something is well hard right now.
My family what is left of it is in Louisiana and Georgia. Both state are humid and humidity and I really do not get along any more.
I prefer cats and dogs to most people.
My doctor said keep my mind active, suggested cross word puzzles.. uck.. I did not like them when I was well, so I do research. I have researched all I can of my illness, big issue now seems to be a name for it, like I care what you call it, and so I started on organic gardening, rocket stoves and houses. Stuff I am interested in to keep my mind going. I am not even close to building at this point, sigh. But in a way it is good because I can do more research and talk to people and figure out what is best for me.
I currently live in the city in a tender box waiting for a match as I call them house, but she has done me well so far, the house that is.
I do better when everything I need is under one roof, I can pace myself and know what I need to do is close along with places to rest in between. I know a small space is easier to clean and some people love it. I am 6' tall and hate small spaces. I panic if I can not see a way out.
Also my fur babies need their room to run and play. My cats are indoor cats, dogs too. The dogs do go out into the back yard to potty and bark at the squirrel family that live in the maple in our back yard, something they really enjoy doing.
My fur kids really help me with my disability. They love me for who I am good or bad days. They even cuddle more and check on me more on my bad days. Of course now that the temperature is dropping I have my fur blanket back, when I am in my recliner. In fact Ms Blue is on my chest right now looking at me like why aren't you in bed mom.
I know you can not build a home or plan for everything but I would love to get close. And this forum has loads of information and experience and people willing to share it.
I hope you can get better hon. Living with pain 24/7 is no fun. I also have 5 bulging disc none on a nerve root currently and I plan on keeping it that way, and some nerve damage from two back surgeries at age 25. I am stubborn and just modified they way I DIYed things after that, did ok until..
I am also considering buying a home already built close to what I want. Again I would need to make up my mind on which style form works, earthship etc. I have looked and even they seem to be cheaper to buy already built than to build.
My current home I am still working on insulating it properly, but one tornado and it is gone and I live in Kansas.
I will take ya'lls advice about NOT building with my health conditions, under consideration. As I said I am not ready to do either just researching what would be the best and sharing that with others.
Judith Browning wrote:Karla, There is an "Aging on the homestead" thread that covered some of your concerns...the posts wandered around a bit...but there are more folks thinking about those kinds of challenges than it might appear. I
Here's the link if anyone is looking for it - Aging in place on the homestead
Here is a link to a newspaper article from August 2012, where I used to live. I prodded the editor of the newspaper to write about
I'm also a person who lives with DIFF-abilities--30 years of Fibromyalgia/fatigue, among numerous others.
After many years of researching and spending lot of time energy and money on treatments, I started using two substances in
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Low Dose Naltrexone Therapy which helps the body heal from many health challenges, is inexpensive and can be purchased
with or without a prescription. Folks have healed FM, cancers, IBS Parkinsons, Lyme, etc.
Oxytocin --(NOT OXYCOTIN)
The company I buy this from online sells nasal spray and liquid drops.
You can find loads of information about both of these online
Each of these substances has helped with fatigue and brain fog, among other lovely benefits.
I'd love to connect more about Affordable Homes and much more, gotta go for now.
THERE ARE BILLIONS of folks with dreams of affordable, disaster resistant homes, we are just a few of them!
RScott, LDN THerapy has also
With the amount of research I am doing I can almost be a civil engineer. Can I just take a test some where to get the piece of paper?
I finally found a simple solution to all those gaps in the hardware cloth or chicken wire or metal lath in the ferrocement armature because to hawk and trowel over all those holes with the slurry would be labor intensive. Just spray foam insulation , like an inch thick first, then hawk and trowel on after. The foam hardens to about 53 psi and would keep the slurry from falling through too much. You only need about a 1\2 inch slurry layer which wouldn't be too heavy dried correctly with a 28 dy wet cure to get seriously a 10000 psi strength (see website). It would also give you more labor flexibility with disabilities if you can't get the whole thing done at once. Lastly, Lowe's carries pigments to dye your ferrocement with so you can have a great cob look but ferrocement strength. Ferrocement isn't as green as cob or strawbale, but in tornado alley I think the only way to go.
You should make a little replica first to make sure it works for you. Hope that helps some.
Perhaps a reinforced concrete structure may fit your stormy and insect proof needs. When you mentioned Kansas, the first thing that came to my mind was Greensburg, Kansas which was leveled by an F5 tornado. About the only structure that survived that storm was the grain elevators. If I am not mistaken, they are constructed using reinforced concrete. Not sure of the associated costs, but you could use their design as a guide.
Here's a link of a photo depicting the devastation at Greensburg. The grain elevators stood tall as a testament that a reinforced structure can withstand an F5 tornado.
The elevators are tall structures, but I can imagine a single level structure can be worked out. Since it is practically made of concrete and reinforcing steel, your insect concerns are limited. Also, pests need food, water and shelter. Eliminate in one of those three and you won't have an insect problem. Key thing is ensuring all access points to your home are sealed. If the pests cannot get in and are not brought in...then you won't have a problem. Wish you well.
The NY times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/21/health/21ticks.html?ref=health&_r=0
The American Lyme Disease Foundation info sheet: http://www.aldf.com/Babesiosis.shtml
I wish you much luck and future health on your quest!
I personally prefer wood, and am less concerned about fire since I live on the west coast in a wet climate. I would love to be able to build a geodesic dome from Natural spaces. They have designed the dome so that even as the dome increases in size, the struts are still smaller and there are more triangles. It's easy for anyone to lift, although I don't know what condition you have or how debilitating it is, but you may even be able to help in the assembly to some degree, or find friends to help. They are designed to be built by owners easily, but you can also hire a crew to erect it for you.
My plan for a geodesic dome made from wooden struts and plywood sheathing was to finish the interior with lime plaster or lime wash. lime offers a certain level of fire resistance. plus it looks nice. I haven't figured out if you can berm a geodesic dome yet, but that would certainly add to it's stability and thermal efficiency.
Perhaps I'll need to start a thread about geodesic domes to get some input about these questions, but to me it sounds like your best option as far as being affordable, disaster proof, and easily built, also quickly built. Here is the link for natural spaces domes, there are many other companies, just search for geodesic dome kits. http://www.naturalspacesdomes.com/
As for homes, geodesic domes are definitely a good option as you mentioned not being able to clean your rain gutters anymore, domes have no gutters! I guess cost could be an issue, but if you could find land for cheap, they seem like a good investment to me, and they can be assembled so quickly by a small team of people. anyway, hope you figure something out.
incandescent light gives off an efficient form of heat. You must be THIS smart to ride this ride. Tiny ad:
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