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what ever happened to......  RSS feed

 
Leah Sattler
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one or more years ago I was watching "American Inventor". on the show a man had what I thought was a spectacular idea just waiting to evolve and revolutionize building practices. From my shaky memory of it he wanted to use something similiar to Giant Leggos. I was so excited and was looking forward to seeing the idea come to fruition. Although I wasn't happy about the idea of plastics being such a large part of the plan I was thinking that something along the lines of super compressed straw bales or paper treated with a biologically friendly fire retardent/weather proofer. Ideally they would be compressed into a shape that nested together solidly and would be precise enough to insure the results were square and true. I have several ideas on the best way to design them. so many ideas....so little resources......

I have many ideas surrounding the details of construction, too many to list here.

 

The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if the powers that be managed to suppress the idea because it would make it so easy to build your own home. With precise plans you could order your home with cut outs for plumbing and wiring and windows already in place and have it delivered on a few semi trucks to be constructed like a giant puzzle. Rent a loader and put your house together on your already built foundation. 

hmmmmm......
 
monica jenkins
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Location: Western Suburbs, Illinois
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I am not ready to don my tin foil hat yet but it wouldn't surprise me if we found out later that original ideas such as those held by the inventor you saw on TV and others who were experimenting with alternative fuels the last several decades weren't actively "discouraged" by those who were making money doing whatever-it-was the old fashioned way.

Money is what drives most people. New ideas can be a threat to a lot of people deeply hooked into the system. That will continue to be a problem as we transition to a more sustainable lifestyle collectively.
 
Susan Monroe
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Location: Western WA
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Rather grand-scale ideas like changing the building industry needs investors.  If his ideas weren't solid, he may not have been able to find anyone to back him.

And, with the price of oil escalating as badly has it has (and the lowering value of the American dollar), it may just be on a back burner somewhere.

But, it's not totally paranoia to suspect that he sold out to some big conventional building company and they just shoved the idea into the back of their vault.

Sue
 
                    
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Leah Sattler wrote:
one or more years ago I was watching "American Inventor". on the show a man had what I thought was a spectacular idea ...



I liked that show, but it demonstrated how difficult it is for even a very good idea to become successful. With something like a construction technique, they would need to prove the value again and again - not only to the customer, but to zoning offices, contractors, retailers and distributors, banks that give out loans, etc.
 
Jeremy Bunag
gardener
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Location: Central IL
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Talking about giant legos brings to mind Insulated Concrete Forms.  Perhaps not the best environment to bring these up in (since I think the insulative components aren't terribly friendly), but the technique fascinated the heck out of me.  I was a contractor's comfortableness' away from building our house that way when we were in the planning stages.

They're hollow and stack up together into however you shape your house, for as high as you'd like to make them, then filled with concrete to create a monolithic outer wall (maybe inner too, if desired) that is more airtight (another reason why it might not be popular here, I was ignorant at the time of house ziplock syndrome) and ultra-insulated.

Here's the first google hit of the stuff (I'd seen a more pyramidally-shaped form before):
http://www.icfhomes.com/

 
John Meshna
Posts: 111
Location: Vermont
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I think these are a good idea.  It really saves a lot of money on the construction costs and the energy savings over the building lifetime is tremendous.
the worry some people have of a too tight house is easily resolved with high tech devices like air to air heat exchangers or just opening a window now and then. 
We live in an older earth burmed house with active and passive solar.  It never gets below 65 degrees in here and on some sunny days in winter we have to open a window to keep it from getting too hot.  A crewed method but it works. We come and go often enough so we never worry about the house being too tight.  We also don't have a furnace or wood stove or combustion devices like that creating fumes and using up oxygen either so that helps a lot I'm sure.
I've heard horror stories about toxic build up in some newer houses but once looked into I've always found it came down to some toxic building material or construction error and most of the stories I've heard were from a time when people were just beginning to build for energy efficiency when the technology and materials didn't have much of a track record and were used incorrectly or had properties that weren't well known yet.  Things have improved a lot if 30 years.
 
                              
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You have ideas of your own, and cite resources. I doubt there is a building materials conspiracy as there are so many varieties of materials and ways to build a home. If it can make money some one will do it, nut subdue it. Perhaps he did not go further for the same reason your not, resources. If he did not have them I can see it being hard for him to convince his bank loan officer that people really want a Lego house.
 
Jeremy Bunag
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Location: Central IL
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And then there was the actual lego house:

http://www.wbbm780.com/The-Two-Story-Lego-House/5291864

(somehow this devolves into general lego sculptures...)
 
                                        
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I've wondered about using ICF's but using Cast Earth to fill the center instead of concrete.
 
                                          
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I thought I saved a link to a site in (I think) Australia where they used a moveable form, a series of them really, and made a mix of earth and 10% or so in a cement mixer, and poured it in.  Next day, you removed the forms, then placed them on top (staggered) of the last course and poured them full again.  It looked pretty neat, and now I can't find it.  Thought I found it with Google, no dice.  Maybe I found them from the Countryplans forum.  It was a really great way of doing earth walls, I thought, and they had a lot of buildings made using their methods. 
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Location: Oakland, CA
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Yes, concrete is a good binder for sandy soil.

Slaked lime is often a better binder for clayey soil.
 
charles c. johnson
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Leah Sattler wrote:

 

The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if the powers that be managed to suppress the idea because it would make it so easy to build your own home. With precise plans you could order your home with cut outs for plumbing and wiring and windows already in place and have it delivered on a few semi trucks to be constructed like a giant puzzle. Rent a loader and put your house together on your already built foundation. 

hmmmmm......



  It's all to possible . Its called the buy it and bury it. And it happens more than you want to know
 
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