Posts Tagged ‘Emergency Shelter’

The blog post the other day about Temporary Shelters made with straw bales was a big hit and so I located this old instructional video and got it uploaded to my YouTube channel. I’ve already received more positive comments than most any of my other videos. This video has an incredible story. It was almost lost. Matts Myhrman lost the master copy. I managed to find one of the last remaining copies in a library, and Kelly Hart volunteered to copy it onto CD (with Matts’ permission, of course). Here it is on YouTube six years later!

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Straw Bale Emergency Shelter: complete plans are free online.

Straw Bale Emergency Shelter: complete plans are free online.

So, you’ve bought a piece of land in a remote, rural area with few or no building codes and more jackrabbits than people. Where do you live while you’re building your sustainable home? Pay rent? Nah, that’s so twentieth century. You want free accommodation so you can put your money toward your new home, and you want to live on site to save money and time. Consider building a ‘temporary’ straw bale shelter.

Follow the links for complete details. A shelter like this can be built in one day (or one hour with help from friends) and last for years. This is one of my favorite topics. I used to have workshop participants build these to help learn construction basics. They’re a real eye opener. People start to realize they don’t need to pay rent or a mortgage to have a decent little house. And it would be very easy to expand and modify if you wanted. I have a larger 2-bedroom version. Each room can be added in about one day.

Summary of building process: Stack straw bales on level pallets like big blocks. Alternate courses of bales so joints overlap like masonry. The shelter is designed so few or no bales have to be cut and resized (easy to do if necessary). Add a pole lintel over the doorway and then set rafter poles perpendicularly. Add a sheet or old blanket and leaves or loose straw on top, and cover with a tarp. Smear mud on the bales to protect against moisture.

Free straw bale shelter plans include drawings, list of tools and materials, and construction notes. Hmm. This would look good in SketchUp animation.

I got a thank-you letter from a family who survived a severe winter up north in one of the shelters. They used very little firewood and were warm and comfortable. Maybe I can find the letter and post it here. I think they built one for their horses too.

Background info: The straw bale emergency shelter was originally designed by Matts Myhrman and Judy Knox (who recently passed away), some of the ‘grandparents’ of the modern straw bale movement. Watch the following video for inspiration and to learn how to start a business where the phone rings off the hook, you get 100 pieces of mail a day and people just start showing up at your door. That’s what happened to them and can happen to anyone who demonstrates how to build super low cost houses.

One more note: Kelly Hart re-recorded one of the last public copies of Matts’ video that shows how to build the straw bale shelter. It’s now on my Natural House’s YouTube channel. The video shows how he and a few volunteers build the shelter — unrehearsed! — in 3-1/2 hours.

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Today’s post is from Eco Friendly Shelters, builders of earthbag shelters. I love the look and the concept.

Earth Lodge 2.0 by Eco Friendly Shelters

Earth Lodge 2.0 by Eco Friendly Shelters

This project is a response to ever-increasing housing costs and regulations that prohibit ordinary Americans from being prepared for any disaster or emergency. The absence of a permanent foundation truly attracted us in a first place. All we have learned on this journey we are ready to share with you!

We designed this shelter with cost-efficient strategies, utilization of locally-produced tools and materials. Eco friendly approach has paid off with significant reduction in costs compared to a conventional construction. Earth Lodge 2.0 Emergency Shelter is designed and implemented as a self-sustaining project that has been complemented with concepts of permaculture and forest gardening. Over 300 trees and shrubs have been planted year-to-date.

Earth Lodge 2.0 Shelter Project goals and objectives:
– Earthbag Design – soil used for sandbags from the excavation of the site
– Made in America – focus on all products and materials that are made local to be used in this project
– Salvaged wood – logs salvaged from the property and roofing boards obtained were cut from salvaged logs from forest fires
– Rainwater collection – the Lodge has been designed with rainwater catchment in mind. It will be collected in centralized location and filtered through biosand filter
– Gray water – a discharge (not recycling) system capable of handling a large number of people
– Composting toilet – a must in this environment. The composting is healthy and responsible.
– Solar and Wind energy – to utilize off-grid set-up with solar system and wind generator as a back-up power source.
– Reciprocal roofs – we would never skip a chance to build another strong reciprocal roofs that are fun to build and tough to break
– Green roofs – a must in this project as with combination with sprinkling system will protect from blazing sun and cold winter wind
– Tubular skylights – natural light in all spaces.

Earth Lodge 2.0 video

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Barrels of Hope Plastering and Fundraising Event

Barrels of Hope Plastering and Fundraising Event

It’s time to plaster!!! Isn’t it great! All the bags and roof are up. Now it’s just the finishing touch – plaster! Weather permitting, we will be plastering on Saturday December 4th. This is the easy part so come join us and have some fun!

To learn more about the Barrels of Hope for Haiti project, visit our website and blog at: www.barrelsofhope.org

You can also follow us on Facebook at “Barrels of Hope”.

For monetary donations, visit the Chapter’s Barrels of Hope page.

For food/supply donations or more information, email barrelsofhope@usgbcheartfl.org

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As you can see from the list below, earthbag building is really starting to take off in Haiti. And these are just the projects we know about. There may very well be others. I’ll edit this list as things progress. Hopefully this list will spur sharing and networking.

Rodney Johnson, pastor from KY Baptist Church in Port au Prince SW dwelling @ Port au Prince

Gary McDonough, pastor, Michael Windover, from MI Methodist Church & Haitian Artisans group, SW dwelling @ Mizak & second SW Dwelling @ St. Rose

Indigo Green Building supply, FL http://www.barrelsofhope.org & agricultural mission SW community center @ Jakmel

Mark Long, former missionary from Uganda Church of Christ/ Haiti Christian Development Project dome dwelling@ Bois Marchand

Ben Wolf, Swoon, artists http://www.konbitshelter.org & Mango Growers Org. dome community shelter @ Leogane

Matt Gunn from UT http://www.UtahHaitiRelief.org & Children of Hope orphanage SW classroom building, http://howsitgoinginhaiti.blogspot.com/

Tim Merritt, Emergency Shelter Kits, Haitian Academy, http://hatianacademy.tumblr.com/, txmerritt@earthlink.net

Freedom School, Rochester, NY dome dwellings @ Cabaret multiples on 10 acres

Miragoane, Haiti and Maple Grove, MN Catholic churches dome dwelling @ Miragoane

Jakmel artist’s collective, http://www.atisjakmel.org SW dorm, school & gallery @ Jakmel

Orange Tree Atelye, http://theorangetreeatelye.weebly.com/index.html, http://theorangetreeatelye.shutterfly.com/

TYIN Haiti http://www.tyintegnestue.no/ http://www.tyinhaiti.com/blog/ haiti@tyintegnestue.no

Ecological Emergency Village, http://www.henkvanaelst.be/Henk/

World Shelters — Bags of Shelters, https://earthbagbuilding.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/world-shelters-bags-of-shelter/

Foundation of St. Peter, Petite Goave, $500 houses

A businessman and former US government official working with mayors of 5 Haitian cities is seeking funding for a large SW dwelling project involving multiple sites

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Here’s another Haiti project in the works. Text below is from their website.

TYIN Haiti earthbag project

TYIN Haiti earthbag project

TYIN haiti is a TYIN tegnestue– initiative, comprised of a group of six students and two architects, all studying/ graduated from NTNU. TYIN tegnestue is a non-profit organisation working humanitarian through architecture. We aim to build strategic projects that can improve the lives of people in difficult situations.

The six architecture/industrial design students will be spending half a year in Delmas, Port-au-Prince, with guidance and visits from the architects. These days we are developing a project in cooperation with our local contact, Project Haiti, and their women’s network, Manman Troll. It is important for us to involve the locals in the project, and to get to know the situation and the people we are dealing with.


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Tent cities in Haiti

Tent cities in Haiti: A common sight in the region; tent cities in various stages of disarray and deterioration.

Tim Merritt is working to provide emergency earthbag shelter in Haiti. He’s currently at the Haitian Academy, the site of the only full-time medical school in Haiti, not far from Port-au-Prince. The directors of the academy have offered land and are enthusiastic about building with earthbags.

At this point, he’s getting set up with tools, choosing building sites and networking with locals to help determine final house/shelter designs. They’ve started a tool shed first for training workers and to help introduce this building system. You can read more about the project on their new blog.

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Here’s another project taking off to help Haiti. Text quoted from their website.

We are an interdisciplinary research and design team from the University of Cincinnati. We were formed to provide a long term growth plan for the Good Shepherd Orphanage in Carrefour, Haiti. However, our ambitions do not stop there. We hope to use the orphanage as a model to introduce and disseminate sustainable design to all Haitians.

The Orange Tree Atelye

The Orange Tree Atelye

Our focus in this project was to use sustainable resources which are readily available to Haitians, while at the same time making the design both earthquake-resistant and hurricane-resistant. We landed on earthbag construction, a method employed throughout the world and providing just the benefits for which we were looking. Using proper stacking methods, horizontal reinforcement, and a cement-based plaster, the well-constructed earthbag wall is able withstand hurricane forces, but also is able to shift enough during an earthquake to avoid falling in on a building’s inhabitants. During the earthquake which hit Haiti in January of 2010, the Sun House, constructed using this method and very close to the epicenter not only survived the earthquake, but did not even sustain any major damage.

Photo log
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Patti Stouter and I have just completed a proposal for Emergency Earthbag Shelters.  The basic premise is many times tarps alone do not provide sufficient shelter for humanitarian relief operations, while tents may not be available or cost effective.  What is often needed is a simple family shelter solution that is easy to transport and erect, less expensive than tents and uses standard materials that are globally available.

shelter-picSimple earthbag shelters are ideal for emergency use.  Sandbags (earthbags) are only slightly more expensive than tarps by themselves, but provide superior protection against wind, rain, heat, cold, snow, bullets, fire, flooding, hurricanes and noise.

Earthbags are light and easily transportable, adaptable to many different situations and provide a more dignified living space than just a tarp.  They reduce the impact on local resources by minimizing need for wood.  Recipients can modify the space to meet their needs.  In addition to many other advantages, emergency earthbag shelters could be incrementally upgraded to make permanent shelters.

Special thanks to Patti for doing such a great job on the illustrations!  She’s also submitted three other reports on earthbag building in the last few weeks: www.earthbagbuilding.com/articles.htm.

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