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Archive for January, 2012


Earthbag House Plans

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Community One Earthbag Pod plans have been completed. (click to enlarge)

Community One Earthbag Pod plans have been completed. (click to enlarge)


Newest Pod One plans (click to enlarge)

Newest Pod One plans (click to enlarge)


Pod One cost estimate (click to enlarge)

Pod One cost estimate (click to enlarge)


“Pod one is designed to consist of thirty-two 200 square foot semi-subterranean “dry pod” earthbag hotel room styled cabanas placed in a circle with thirty-two separate 200 square foot “wet pod” bathrooms forming a second inner-circle. Like a hotel, the dry pods will consist of a bed, a closet, and a small sitting area and desk. The wet pods will be a solar heated passive shower, sink, passive toilet, and walk-in closet/storage. Additional storage will be available between the two Pods with a small patio and additional sitting area.

These bungalow style buildings connect with walkways into a central semi-subterranean 40′ diameter Tropical Dome/Meditation Center housing starfruit, kiwi, mango, banana and other tropical fruit plants and trees. This dome is sunk 11 feet into the ground with North and South ground-level doorways opening onto a 7-foot ground-level walkway that travels the circumference of the dome and looks down upon a platform (9 feet off the ground – 2 feet lower than the walkway) where an “instructor in the trees” will lead yoga, mediation, or other classes from just above the treetops.

Why we chose this size and earthbag design:
The 200 square foot size, and elimination of hard plumbing (no septic tank; rather composting toilets, recycling of all water) allows us (and people in most US counties) to classify these structures as agricultural buildings that we can start building week one without the permits we will be immediately applying for to build Pod 2. We will still be working with the county on this Pod with a full disclosure of what we are creating and why but THEIR hands won’t be tied by existing regulations and rules so we can all move forward faster.

We chose earthbag construction and this design as our first pod because they can be built for under $500 for each structure, are easy to construct with very little training or experience, and will be easier than ever to duplicate anywhere in the world as we achieve our open source goals.

Features:
● Earthbag construction
● Solar showers provide passive hot water
● Reuse of all water for the Tropical Dome
● No hard plumbing – composting of all toilet waste
● Should be completed in less than six months so we can start on Pod 2
● Central Tropical Dome doubles as meditation and class space with the “teacher in the trees” feature
● The most minimalist and easy design of any pod demonstrating a model that will be able to be duplicated and produce a home that can be built anywhere in the world for under $1,500”

More details at the source: Community One
Previous blog post on Community One

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These drawings show two ways of making wood ceilings with pallet wood. (click to enlarge)

These drawings show two ways of making wood ceilings with pallet wood. (click to enlarge)


Shipping pallets are incredibly useful for building. They’re typically free, widely available and very strong. The wood is cured, and often hardwoods such as oak are used in pallets. There’re just good to waste.

The two ceiling discussed here use short or longer pieces of pallets (or any wood, actually) that are cut to fit your ceiling joists or rafters. Measure ‘center to center’ – the distance between the center of one board and the center of the next board. The most common spacing is 24”. This is the length you will want to cut your pallet boards. This distance will likely vary and you’ll have to adjust the sizes accordingly. If you have longer boards from large custom pallets, go ahead and use them because they will add a little strength and save some cutting.

Method 1: (top drawing) This method uses pallet wood nailed on the underside of joists or rafters. Here, the wood framing is covered for a more finished look. You can use trim to hide the joints. This method is best suited for insulated ceilings.

Method 2: (lower drawing) You can also nail pallet wood to the top of joists or rafters to create a ceiling with open or exposed framing. This method would look good on a loft floor where no insulation is necessary or other areas where you want to highlight the framing.

The recommended finishing method involves pre-sanding the wood with a belt sander and 80 grit sandpaper. The wood doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth, but it will look better if you clean it up and remove most of the roughness. Sanding makes finishing easier and also aids cleaning the ceiling in the future. The easiest finish is a wipe on Danish oil finish. The most popular color is called Medium Walnut. One coat is all you really need.

The following videos show various ways of disassembling or breaking down pallets. Combining techniques from various videos will greatly speed the process and minimize damage to the wood.
Introduction to Reclaiming Pallet Wood
Pallet Stripping Bar by Cargo Cycles (it wouldn’t be hard to make one of these)
How to Dismantle a Wooden Pallet
How to Dismantle a Pallet Without Splitting It (tip: use a 2 or 3 lb. sledge instead of an awkward concrete object)
Taking Apart Pallets – Sarah’s Workshop 1
How to Dismantle Pallets to Obtain Free Usable Wood for Construction and Woodworking
Hammering Out Ring Shanked Nails from Reclaimed Wood with the Nail BOSS
Cleaning Wood Pallets

We’ve already discussed how pallets can be used for floors, trusses and pallet/straw bale walls. And, in case you missed it, how you can use pallets as a base under straw bale shelters.

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Workshop/storage shed by Building With Awareness.com

Workshop/storage shed by Building With Awareness.com


JetsonGreen.com garden shed/studio with living walls

JetsonGreen.com garden shed/studio with living walls


Pinterest is an online pinboard where readers post their favorite images. We’ve talked about Pinterest before, but I just found this page where Mechel Wall has compiled their favorite photos into an online scrapbook to help visualize their dream home.

Original image: Building with Awareness.com (awesome site with award winning natural building DVD that I wrote a review about years ago)
Original image: JetsonGreen.com

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Another good video by Fair Companies.com.

“People who live in wee homes now have their own movement. It’s a bit of a media event, but it’s not a fad, argues tiny home builder Stephen Marshall (of Little House on a Trailer). While his 112 square foot caregiver cottage makes great press, he argues the perfect tiny home is 400 sq ft. For most of those in the movement, McMansions have no appeal tiny homes are human-sized.”

Original content here:
http://www.faircompanies.com/videos/view/the-human-scale-tiny-homes-mcmansions-are-fad/

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$300 Forest House (click to enlarge)

$300 Forest House (click to enlarge)


Specifications: 256 sq. ft. 16’x16’ one room house plus 4’ wrap-around porch, Footprint: 24′x24′

Description: Do you dream of having a small place in the woods that can be built practically for free? The Forest House with its striking pyramid roof is made almost entirely of natural products that are readily available in tropical forests – wood poles, bamboo and thatch. Recycled doors, cabinets, sink, composting toilet, solar shower and other materials, plus building on a hillside keep costs to a minimum. Consider leasing the land or work-trade agreement. Features include steeply pitched roof to shed rain, open ceiling to improve ventilation, built-in desk, retractable plank and metal barriers on each post to deter pests. Options include under-bed storage, mosquito bed net, split bamboo (shown) or bamboo matt, split bamboo or wood plank floors, rustic curved wood railings. Building permit not required. High speed Internet not included.

$300 Forest House floorplan (click to enlarge)

$300 Forest House floorplan (click to enlarge)

About 130 affordable house plans at Earthbag House Plans.

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Roofed dome by Superadobe Construccion Blogspot (click to enlarge)

Roofed dome by Superadobe Construccion Blogspot (click to enlarge)


Kentucky Dome Home roofed dome.

Kentucky Dome Home roofed dome.


Rob Wainwright's roofed dome in Australia

Rob Wainwright's roofed dome in Australia


Dome with embedded rafters at Blog Daum.net

Dome with embedded rafters at Blog Daum.net

Earthen domes evolved in deserts. Due in part to the beautiful and interesting shape, people started building earthen domes in rainier climates. But domes are more vulnerable to moisture damage than roofed structures. Without a roof, domes are exposed to the rain and snow. Plaster will eventually crack and when it does moisture can cause serious damage. One option is to build roofed domes as shown in the photos above.

Image source: Superadobe Construccion Blogspot
Image source: Kentucky Dome Home
Image source: Rob Wainwright dome in Australia
Image source: Dome with embedded rafters at Blog Daum.net

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