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Best type of House/Building for Hawaii  RSS feed

 
Eduard Kotlyar
Posts: 15
Location: NYC
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Hi there,

I'm new to permacature, but I'm not new to a healthy living.

Looking to move out from NYC to Hawaii next year.

And looking to buy small piece of land and build the house. Grow some vegies and small stock.

I'm on super tight badget with very low expectation on new income starting to coming in Hawaii, at list not right away.

I'm ready sociologically and physically.

I need to you guys to recommend me a best way to go about building a house.

Weather is very nice with nice temperature. Lots of rains.

I was thinking about remodeling shipping container or maybe buy remodeled shipping container?

What should are my other options?

Thanks,

Ed
 
R Scott
Posts: 3358
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Met a lady who lived on the road to Hana on Maui. She lived off-grid and sold her stuff at a roadside stand. Her "house" was a tin-roofed "barn" (shack). She had a solar dehydrator and a wood cookstove and made candy and tinctures from the ginger, coconut, and honey she had on her property. Lived pretty much on coconut, avocado, breadfruit from her property. Made money from the roadside stand and rent from a person that parked a lunch wagon there for tourist season.

Any building material is EXPENSIVE.

Climates are pretty diverse, the right house in one place may be the wrong house 5 miles away. In many places the humidity is a REAL PROBLEM for modern building materials and methods. I know I would not want to be in a shipping container there, and anything you put in one would be musty/moldy very quickly without serious continuous dehumidification
 
Jay C. White Cloud
Posts: 2413
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Hi Eduard,

Always look to the vernacular architecture for guidance of how to properly build for a region and/or climate.

Regards,

jay

www.donch.com/lulh/culturehist1.htm

www.hawaiicounty.gov/pw-new-bldg-code/

historyofarchitecture.weebly.com/vernacular-houses.html

https://www.google.com/search?q=Terengganu+classic+houses&safe=off&qscrl=1&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=G-VJUsG1Oe6v4AP28IDwCQ&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1280&bih=642&dpr=1#imgdii=_

http://malay101.blogspot.com/2012/08/malay-architecture.html
 
Kelly Smith
Posts: 715
Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
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i believe in the hot/humid climates, you would want a house with lots of shade.
this means porches that wrap all the way around the house, to prevent the sun from hitting the walls/heating up the inside. lots of louvered windows to take advantage of the cross breezes.
Houses are generally off the ground. not sure if this is related to bugs, or moisture and foundation issues (ive never lived in the tropics)

with all the humidity/rain, you can also build a pond on the side of the house where the winds blows from; the pond should keep itself cool, and the breeze blowing over the pond and through your house will help cool your house.
 
Eduard Kotlyar
Posts: 15
Location: NYC
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Allow me to make a quick summary of all recommendations

1. Shipping container - Not recommended - thanks: "R Scott"
( issue mold, moisture, rains etc )

2. Look into local style - vernacular architecture - thanks: "Jay C. White Cloud"
( lots of interesting links and reading )

3. house with lots of shade/windows/porches/off the ground - thanks: Kelly Smith
( maybe pond on side of house )

Questions remain:

Best local building material
Also I need to build it pretty quick. ( something that can be build quicker or possible to cut some corners, like getting general structure done so we have a roof at list
As I can't camp out there for too long a little to much rain to handle.
Material Price is also is important.
It will be me and my 10 year old boy building it.

Thanks,

Ed
 
Joe Moore
Posts: 18
Location: Breckenridge, CO
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If possible consider building a raised platform first. You could sleep there in a canvas tent on that for a bit and then do some local research about what may work best for your site.

I do know that different sides of the islands have hugely different percip patterns, so this may help to inform your decisions.

Which island will you be heading to?
I know that there are plenty of people interested in permaculture, and communal living already in place with fairly mature sites.

Curious to hear how this works out for you.
 
Eduard Kotlyar
Posts: 15
Location: NYC
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Summary update

4. build a raised platform first - thanks "Joe Moore"
best ways/materials for raised platform? - will look into.

Joe what are percip patterns Thanks

I'm planning for "Big Island" ( as price of land is still in my affordability range ). But It could be any as long it has affordable land. I'm allocating $4,000 - $5,000 for land max.


Joe Moore wrote:
I know that there are plenty of people interested in permaculture, and communal living already in place with fairly mature sites.

I watch some videos on youtube about some settlements. But not sure how to connect.
Joe Moore wrote:
Curious to hear how this works out for you.

Joe you will. I take this project very personal.
 
allen lumley
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Eduard : You have already gotten a lot of good advice, The follow the local architecture is about as good an answer as you can get. I was amazed at the number of times I
was in houses built in different parts of the pacific Rim and found an upstairs kitchen ! With so verdant ground cover it seems that it was the best way to get help from the
on coast/ off coast breezes every day! Hope this helps ! Big AL
 
Eduard Kotlyar
Posts: 15
Location: NYC
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allen lumley wrote:... found an upstairs kitchen ! With so verdant ground cover it seems that it was the best way to get help from the
on coast/ off coast breezes every day! Hope this helps ! Big AL


AL,

Correct me If I'm wrong. You mean build raised platform and then plant some greens to cover the platform?

Thanks,

Ed
 
allen lumley
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Eduard : Sorry, No ! I was remarking on the fact that most local architecture plans on lots of trees, and large bushes around to shelter their building/building site, then they live
with the site awhile and eventually the house grows to 2 stories so that you get nearly continual breezes for certain tasks, as a native new yorker, it was strange to be invited
into houses with a kitchen on the second floor, this is to take advantage of the Off shore, and On shore breezes as the night changes to day, and day changes to night.

I guess, build a raised platform that you can set a tent on. If the Tent, or Yurt is sized to the size of the platform you can have a weather shedding skirt that sheds water and
keeps your floor dry ! Eventually evolve with your space, you too may find that in order to fully enjoy the views and the breezes you will drive yourself to acquire that 2nd
floor ! I hope that this is a little clearer, also I've shot my whole quiver as I would say I was only a guest not a resident ! BIG AL
 
Eduard Kotlyar
Posts: 15
Location: NYC
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summary update

5. Plants around house and plants around property - thanks: "allen lumley"
( Make list of some large eatable bushes or large fast growing plants/trees )

 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 988
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
124
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If you are alloting only $5000 for land, this pretty well limits you to the upper reaches of Oceanview in Ka'u, Green Sands in Ka'u if you're lucky, and parts of Puna, if you are lucky. Neither Oceanview nor Green Sands are known for rain. So I assume that you're looking around Puna. I happen to live in Ka'u.

Cheap housing options used here.....
....secondhand yurt
....garden shed
....used motor home
....hunting style tent-cabin
Really, really cheap housing that some people use while they build something better (or live in because they have no income)....
....old schoolbus, van, delivery truck
....tarp tent
....lava cave

Depending upon where you settle, you may find that you can bypass the official route of architect and building permits. Not legal, but over 50% of the houses here are unpermitted. But if not permitted, you cannot get electric or water hook ups. Not really a problem for most people.

Many people escape to Hawaii but only half of them successfully make the change permanent. The culture here is totally different than NYC. Adjusting may be challenging. We moved here 10 years ago. The first two years were rough, but we succeeded in making the changeover. I'd never go back to living on the Eastcoast again!

...Su Ba
www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
 
Eduard Kotlyar
Posts: 15
Location: NYC
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Well... Well... Well... "Su Ba" is a diamond in the rough!!!

East cost -> Hawaii one way ticket Yea!

My summary ( continue )

6. Possibly affordable land - Oceanview in Ka'u (no rain), Green Sands in Ka'u ( no rain ), parts of Puna ( rain ) - thanks "Su Ba"

7. Cheap House options: - thanks "Su Ba"
....secondhand yurt
....garden shed
....used motor home
....hunting style tent-cabin
Pre-house options:
....tarp tent
....lava cave

8. I need electric and internet. I guess that means that I have to get building permit?
( find out procedure )

Su Ba wrote:Many people escape to Hawaii but only half of them successfully make the change permanent. The culture here is totally different than NYC. Adjusting may be challenging. We moved here 10 years ago. The first two years were rough, but we succeeded in making the changeover. I'd never go back to living on the Eastcoast again!


I have no fear. This is a logical step in my life not just escape from NYC. My only concern is the money. I have to save up for this move.


 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 988
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
124
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If money is really limited, most people here use a generator. When they can afford more, they will buy four or more golf cart batteries at Costco and use the generator to charge them . Buy golf cart batteries, not marine batteries. That's important. As more money is available, then couple of solar panels are added. For small applications, such as a TV, charging cellphones and laptops, small appliances, then a cheap shop inverter is added to the system. There's a fella in Oceanview who specializes in helping people with these little systems and sells these inverters cheaply. He can help you match your needs to the inverter. But if you start needing more power, then expect to shell out bigger bucks. The trick is to learn to do with less power.

Many people here start with really small systems then upgrade as they have the money and learn what they need.

To get hooked into the grid, you need to have a building permit. Not finaled, but just the permit in hand. Folks not intending to build a legal house often will get stamped plans for an ag building, like a workshop. They will have electricity on the plans. To avoid expense and hassles, no plumbing on the plans. Once they get the permit in hand, they will go the HELCO and get temporary electric. Then they will build the workshop, getting it finaled. Now the problem is that you have to avoid looking like you are living in the workshop for a year or so, the county will come back occasionally to check. But after a few months they will stop looking if it appears you're not living there. Then you are home free to make changes that you want.

Next, you have to keep on very good terms with people. If you cause problems, people are quick to turn you in to the building department. It's an axe people hold over other people's heads.

...Su Ba
www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 988
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
124
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By the way, Hawaii has a multiple listing website. www.hawaiiinformation.com You can search for real estate. All properties for sale through an agent are required to be listed there.

Word of advice.... Don't buy without seeing it in person. Lots of buyers have been shocked to see what they purchased! And the market is super depressed here. If you can offer cash without contingencies, you can get things a lot cheaper. I recently helped a friend purchase a piece for $15,500 when the asking price was $25,000. A friend just now is in the process of buying a large parcel for $225,000 where the asking price had been $399,000. Of course, not all sellers will dicker. And there is less dicker room on small parcels.

Visit the property in the late afternoon or early evening, or ask neighbors about coqui frogs being in the area. Coquis are a problem in some areas. But then, some folks like the frogs while others don't. Also ask about centipedes, stinging caterpillars, scorpions, and little fire ants. They can make gardening painful. Many places have them and most people learn to deal with them. But at least you should be aware of their existence so that you can take steps. Cane toads are common here and actually help gardeners, but have killed plenty of dogs. Just something else to know about. And just about everywhere you'll find crab spiders that will bite if you directly mess with them. Just a nuisance that you need to know about.

...Su Ba
www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 988
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
124
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Eduard, if you decide to research properties in Ka'u, you may wish to check out a realtor named Jim West. This is his website : http://bigislandsouthhawaiirealestate.com/

He takes painfully honest video of properties he has listed. All in all, he is extremely honest and will not hide anything. None of his videos are smooth or slick. They just show what is actually there. In my opinion, he's the only one I'd use to buy property sight unseen. In fact, a number of people have done just that!

He has a number of videos posted on YouTube of not only properties, but also many of the various places in Ka'u.

Best of luck attaining your dream! Perhaps some day we will meet.

...Su Ba
www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
 
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