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Am I the only one thinking of and looking for a diasater resistent, afforadble, sustable, low mainta  RSS feed

 
Karla Arnold
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Hello,

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?

Thanks
KJ



 
Karla Arnold
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I guess I am .. no comments what so ever to this post...

 
Tyler Ludens
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Is it a home for one person? If so, it seems as if the $110+ per square foot might not be too much if the house is very small. I'm not sure how small an earthship can be and still function. What about the Oehler $50 house? Would cost a lot more to hire someone to build it, but I believe it is a very small house. Small size is the key to affordability, I think. http://www.permies.com/forums/f-75/wofati-earth-berm
 
Karla Arnold
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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.


 
Brian Knight
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Karla, sorry but I think your expectations are unrealistic. Building new or buying existing is a balancing act with many variables and considerations. To me, the closest thing that meets your description is an apartment in the city. This is a very sustainable way to live and addresses most of your concerns.

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.
 
Karla Arnold
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Thanks for you thoughts.. but apartments don't allow as many pets as we have..

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.



 
Tyler Ludens
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I think people will need to group together to achieve affordable and sustainable living. I think the typical nuclear family is not the way humans evolved and as an experiment it is beginning to fail. I think we have to form communities, even though it is hard.

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
 
Devon Olsen
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you may be looking for a formworks home - EDIT i see you mentioned them and realise they arent the best price wise for your situation

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




http://www.le.org.nz/
 
Karla Arnold
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I got is $50 home book. very interesting....but loads of wood.. so rot, fire and bugs are a problem, I am very sensitive to chemicals, and it has increased with my disability. One good thing about my disability is I have gone to simple cleaners, cleaned out plastic etc. I make my own Landry soap etc. I even make my own vapor run and muscle rub. So some good has come out of it.

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.


 
Morana Revel
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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.
 
Rose Pinder
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Do you mind me asking what your disability is? It might help understand your housing needs better.

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...)
 
R Scott
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It is really hard to get below $100/sq ft without doing most of the work yourself. Labor costs, often a LOT. You can find guys that get a lot more work done for what you pay them than others, but it still adds up fast.

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.

 
Karla Arnold
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My disability, well I will tell you what I have. You will either accept it or not. CFIDS/FM, are my illness that have lead to my disability. I have very low energy, pain, cognitive issues, trouble with holding on to things, light and noise sensitive, chemical sensitive, changes in weather, etc. I am still in the adjustment phase here as I have had them for under 2 years. Can't take the meds they usually use to treat it, what few there are and no they have not a clue what causes either of them.

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.

 
jessica jansen
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what about a shipping container home?
 
Tyler Ludens
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I think it's a really important topic, Karla, and one people don't discuss enough. It's easy to imagine living in some kind of funky home if you're young and active, but as one gets older or disabled, things sure change. We had our cheap house built in a way which makes it a challenge to think about adjusting it for our older years or if my old dad comes to live with us. It will need extensive remodeling. Starting from scratch isn't an option. It would be good to plan old age and disability into all homes, so people are not obligated to move when their situation changes.
 
R Scott
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I had Lyme, so I understand your issues. Except Lyme has a "cure." My personal belief is that FM is similar to Lyme, and would benefit from the same treatments.

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.

 
Karla Arnold
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R Scott.. I am so glad you had a "cure" I would not wish this on my worst enemy. I will check on the treatments for lyme if it is a medicine it is highly likely I will react badly to it but I would be willing to talk to my doctor. I know the symptoms are similar because that was one of the many many things they tested me for.

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.

 
Tyler Ludens
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A granny flat is a great idea but there's no money for such a thing when our existing house is not even finished after 14 years.... At today's prices I imagine the granny flat would cost as much as our whole house did originally....

Some people advise a primal/paleo diet to treat FM/chronic fatigue.
 
Judith Browning
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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 am 62 and can't do what I used to so am constantly rethinking how to accomplish things in our chosen lifestyle. Suprisingly, there are a lot of threads here about diet/herbal remedies and such that seem really well informed and if you were interested might give you alternative ideas for managing your disability.
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.
 
Karla Arnold
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Thanks Judith.. I will check out the aging on the homestead thread..

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.


 
Rose Pinder
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I've known quite a few people with CFIDS and related disabilities and have a pretty good understanding of the issues. You probably don't want to hear this, but taking on a building project is probably one of the worst things you could do for your health at this point in time. If you have been ill for a few years you still have a chance at recovery (full or partial) or stabilising rather than getting worse, but that is dependent on a very low stress lifestyle. Building projects are by their nature stressful, even more so for people with disabilities and health issues. I'd suggest talking to any owner/builders who had to pay someone else to do the physical build, and get a range of perspectives on that. Even better if they had health issues.


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.
 
Morana Revel
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Disability is a thought.

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.
 
Andrew Parker
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Karla,

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.
 
Karla Arnold
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ok to many names for me to keep up with but I will try to hit the topics everyone posted.

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.


 
Karla Arnold
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Andrew I don't agonize over climate change, but I do not stick my head in the sand either. It is real, it is a fact and it is not going away. Most people are stupid about it, and just keep keeping on, but that is another topic.

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.
 
Burra Maluca
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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
 
Rose Pinder
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There are co-housing and other communities being build for people with environmental illnesses, maybe check and see if there is one in your area.
 
Todd Parr
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I would find the rattiest old trailer house I could find that was on land that I liked and had a functioning well and sewer system. Then I would remove the trailer and have a basement built using the existing plumbing system. I would have one wall exposed with windows and entry door, as well as partial exposure on the other sides for windows, and build a roof on it. That is about as low-cost and disaster proof a way I can think of that meets your criteria.
 
Gail Moore
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Hi Karla, I just typed a long note to you, which then "disappeared" and so will keep this one short for now.
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
affordable housing.

http://www.permies.com/forums/jforum?module=search&action=search&forum_id=-1&search_keywords=affordable+housing&match_type=all&search_in=ALL&forum=&sort_by=time&sort_dir=DESC&search_date=ALL&member_number=&member_first_name=&member_last_name=&member_match_type=memberPosted


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
May 2012 which are making a difference for me.

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.
www.ldntherapy.org

and

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
 
Christian McMahon
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I have also been looking for an answer. I am leaning towards earthbag and cob if i make it to an area without building codes. If I end up in an area with building codes I may build a Quonset hut and cover it with foamed concrete or quick crete. While it won't be green in materials it will be in energy usage. I am also looking into SCIP houses for an area with building codes. With an R40 roof, floor and walls I expect it would be nice. I need to find an affordable SCIP jig to go in that direction. The other problem with SCIP is it's new and you have to work with people that know what they are doing.

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?
 
Colette Bahr
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This is a way late response but thought I'd post in case you hadn't found a solution yet (or in case the post helps anyone else). I've spent weeks on researching this topic for my own dilemma, and the best option I found was ferrocement domes. I found my information on ferrocement.com. The shape will provide some tornado resistance, especially if its an irregular dome shape, and it will definitely provide fire resistance. Think giant boulder shape.

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.
 
Nick Dire
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Sorry if this has been covered already, but the best thing that I've found for the price and general resilience to environmental issues are container houses. There is a company in Seattle - ShelterKraft Werks - www.http://shelterkraft.com/ that has stock plans that can be modified to fit your needs. I've spoken with them on the phone, and hope to get to their office/factory this spring to tour their demo units. These are single story, steel structures that are as weather proof as you can get. The only thing I've found close (and way pricier) are the concrete monolithic domes. If you sing steel anchor plates into a concrete foundation, then weld the structure to those plates, you should be fine. These things do cross the ocean in some of the worst conditions outside of Antarctica.

Good luck,

NickV
 
Erin Zosu
Posts: 16
Location: Texas
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Hello Karla,
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.
http://mw2.google.com/mw-panoramio/photos/medium/2493685.jpg
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.
 
Jennifer Jennings
Posts: 100
Location: 39.720014, -74.875139 - Waterford Works, NJ
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Karla, based on what you mentioned concerning your health, you might have a babesia parasite co-infection. It largely goes undiagnosed because it encysts when antibiotics are administered, and comes back again with a vengeance. Babesiosis mimicks chronic fatigue, MS, FM, Lyme and a host of other diseases. It might be worth getting checked specifically for that, if you haven't already.

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!
 
Tracy Lee
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Location: NW Arkansas
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In the designing stage of our house as well. While we are fairly young and active now I am definetly going to design it so it is user friendly to the elderly or disabled. I have managed and greatly dimished FM and CFS symtoms by going predominantly gluten free and cutting way back on any processed foods. Still working on getting it out of my diet 100 %.
 
Yone' Ward
Posts: 135
Location: Springdale, WA USA - Cold Mediterranean Climate
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Anything underground in a hill side in your area or maybe something with a shipping container is the closest match I can think of. As long as you are out of reach of any wild water then a masonry home in a hill side is about as close as you are going to get. Lacking a hillside, then a masonry home buried in gravel is a close second. Fire, hurricanes, tornadoes, termites, rot, and high winds have nearly no grip on such a house. It should out live the average person if done half way correctly. The low maintenance, green and affordable is each going to depend on your definitions of each and what you choose to put into the house and what you build with.
 
Jen Shrock
pollinator
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Location: NW Pennsylvania Zone 5B bordering on Zone 6
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I have fibromyalgia and have been diagnosed with it for 12+ years now. Just turned the ripe age of 40 a couple of days ago. I understand your concerns about housing, but, at least for my situation, it is more important for me to be debt free soon. I bought a forclosure a 7 years ago (single story ranch just under 1000 sf). My dad and I put in a lot of work getting this place up to snuff, when I was feeling better and could do more. I still have more cosmetics to finish, but the big things that affect utility costs and soundness of the structure are done, for the most part. I chose this route because I could see my FM progressing, and not in a good way. I have to work full time to support myself right now and that does toll on me quite a bit. I have recently started on a medicine specifically for FM and I have been very blessed that I have not had the severe side effects while adjusting to it and it has SIGNIFICANTLY reduced my pain and I seem to get a more restful sleep now. All that aside, when my FM was much less viscious, I tried an experiment for a month where I cut out gluten, sugar and yeast all at once. I felt FABULOUS!!! I should have cut them out one at a time so that I could understand if there was one thing in particular that is the main culprit for impacting my symptoms. I don't have the energy now after getting home from work to properly care for myself nutritionally. I tend to migrate towards what is easiest and that generally is not what is best at all. I would like to encourage you to maybe go all out in a sort of gurilla warfare against your FM and try an extremely "clean" diet to see how you feel and if it can help. With respect to housing, hopefully you can not stress out by finding the "perfect" home. Every home will have it's unique set of challenges. I think that, instead of focusing on the materials that the house is built from, focus on how the layout, both inside and outside, can work for you where you are at today and potentially where you will be in the future. Try to keep your chin up...you are not in this alone. While there are a lot of people that don't understand, there are a lot that do and we all need to join togther to cheer each other on when we have those flairs that inevitably take each of us down and out for a while. Try to balance your rest time with activity time. You don't want to give up all activity because your muscles will weaken more and often it aggrivates the condition even more. I am not talking hard core exercise, but gentle motions that can, through repetition and time, strengthen your muscles. Don't feel bad about pacing yourself, but don't be afraid to push a little too. On your bad days, rest a little more. Don't over do it on your good days. Don't give up that you might find a medicine that might work. I was stubbornly resistant to taking medicine, thinking I could tough this out. After the final straw of feeling like every muscle in my body was on fire or being burned by acid at the same time, severe migraines, stabbing pain in all my joints, feeling like someone ran me over about 10 times when the weather would change and also feeling like I was completely going out of my mind, I gave in and asked my doctor for help. I am now on a medicine that, at least for now and the hopefully far far future, I wouldn't give up at all. I am not perfect, but I am so very, very much better. My fits and spurts of FM are manageable now. Keep hope.
 
Jennifer Jennings
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Location: 39.720014, -74.875139 - Waterford Works, NJ
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Jen, your points about being debt-free are great for everybody; stresses like those only aggravate medical conditions, and you surely don't need that.
 
dawn trueman
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Have you considered a geodesic dome kit? you can order them custom made or by pre-existing plans. You can get them any size, you can get them high or low (no stairs you mentioned.). You can get multiple domes joined together. Domes are hurricane and earthquake resistant. Many companies offer struts made of wood or metal. Obviously choose metal if you are seriously concerned about fire. You can buy everything you need and have it delivered in a truck and assembled in a matter of days.

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/
 
dawn trueman
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Karla, just reading through some of the other comments now, and I wanted to say, it might sound alternative, or maybe you've already tried it. My friend has a medical marijuana license for fibromyalgia. She says it helps with the pain quite a bit and helps her do her daily tasks. My mom also has issues with body pain, and she and I both follow a gluten free diet for our various reasons. She says it reduces her body pain and mental fatigue. I just go crazy if I eat gluten, but that's another story.

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.
 
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