HOUSING AND SHELTER
For most persons, to provide shelter for oneself and one's family, entails a great commitment of time, resources and energy. Paying towards a mortgage or rent structures ones life in ways we might choose far differently, given half the chance. Paying for a house, plus the monthly grocery and utility bills, usually requires a full time job. In addition, the cost to the earth and it's ecosystems, must also be considered when we consider the price paid for today's methods of putting a roof over one's head. Prevalent building methods are very inefficient, expensive and destructive. No other single commodity so binds humans to the status quo, and the rat race for a good life.
We are especially
interested in hearing, and publishing, alternative plans and suggestions for ways one can
construct shelter that is environmentally sustainable, aesthetically and functionally
pleasing, and reasonably inexpensive. If you have
knowledge and experience to share, please consider POSTING it
here for publication
in this section of New Liberty Village, and participate in the Alternative
Shelter Discussion Group. It is suggested you read the Proprietary
Rights page before submitting your ideas.
1) The Liberty House
2) The B.E.L.L.
3) Glass Houses
4) your ideas and plans for shelter
THE LIBERTY HOUSE
The Liberty house is a revolutionary concept in housing which provides more than just shelter. It provides a means to meet many of its inhabitants survival needs, including clean water, healthy food, plus warmth and shelter from the elements even under extreme natural or economic disruptions. The method of construction allows a healthy person to either build it himself with minimal instruction at very low cost, or be built to order or purchased for much less than standard construction materials and labor costs. A person or family capable of working with the natural laws which allow the liberty house to function should be better enabled to forgo working the standard 9 to 5 job away from home, being independent to a degree never before possible, particularly in conjunction with the cooperative efforts of others.
Construction can be done by hand and
shovel if heavy equipment is unavailable, or unaffordable. Very little lumber material is
needed for forms or framing. It is designed to function as a self-sustaining unit when the
laws of nature and the human inhabitants work together. Shelter, warmth, food, clean
water, and even energy to power electrical appliances are some of the results of this
co-operation with nature. The structure provides unique protection from severe storms,
earthquakes and other natural disturbances, and offers a new degree of independence
from outside economic and political forces. Gerald Brittell,
September, 1998 e-mail; email@example.com
MORE DETAILS on the Liberty House
EarthStar Home Page
This method of constructing buildings of infinite variety, I believe, is the over-powering wave of the very near future. The energy of the sun
is used to melt sand and/or other heat responsive materials to form monolithic shells. Light impervious surfaces and walls are formed by adding opaque substances in areas desired, or covered and/or bermed with soil. The free-form shapes are reverse molded in the earth. The materials ... sand, the earth; the energy, the sun. The cost? Dirt cheap. Patents prevented by this public disclosure. A free gift from the Creator.
April 6, 2000 Jerry B.
Shelter Discussion Group
cory whitney [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
I am writing to represent an anxious work crew at a Vermont college.
We here at Sterling College have burnt down 4 saunas in the last 30 years
and would like to build something that will not burn down. Actually if we
want a sauna it must be fire proof.
As Sterling is running a deficit at this point (we only have 70 students)
we have little to no funds for this project.
Any kind of feedback for our plight would be very much appreciated.
Thank you, Cory Whitney
December 03, 2000
Jerry B email@example.com
I wish that I had a working model of what I have often considered building: a sculpted Finnish sauna, using the earth to reverse-mold a dome of the appropriate size. The benches, the fire pit, practically everything could be easily shaped in the compact, undisturbed soil, then cobbled with a thin layer of concrete, say two inches thick. The earth then removed from underneath the shell after it has set. If desirable, the dirt could then be placed over the structure, and landscaped and planted with grass.
The sauna could be built completely above grade, partially above grade, or completely underground. About the only cost would be for a few bags of concrete, and sand. American Indians, I understand, made small sweat lodges in a hole dug in the ground, covered with a hide, but this would be much more permanent.
Aesthetically speaking , the shape could be sculpted practically anyway one's imagination and time allows. The structure would be fireproof, and require no maintenance. It would also make a great storm shelter, although I have heard of few tornadoes in Vermont (g). Never know in these days. Openings could be molded into the shell for ventilation and light, and covered with glass or operable vent covers. I can't foresee any difficulties or problems with this, for a sauna. If you haven't seen my rough drawings and animation for the Liberty House design, check out www.geocities.com/newlibertyvillage/shelter.htm then go to 'More details'. If you try these methods, I would like very much to hear how it turns out. Maybe you can build a gymnasium for the school while you are at it (g) I would like to hear more about your college, when you have the time. Does it have a web page? Jerry B
January 22. 2000
Mike & Tammy, firstname.lastname@example.org,
low cost housing
Kevin and Donna,
Your web page [EarthStar] is great. It gives me new hope. I own a few acres of land in the Missouri Ozarks and have been looking to build a low cost home between the rent we pay now and all the other bills it leaves us. With very little to save, we have been able to scrape together a couple thousand, but when looking at material costs, and the fact that we have only minimal construction experience, we have been discouraged. Your web page has given us new hope. Did you use any green lumber to build? I know using green lumber would cut our costs by at least 1/3. I would like to know what other people's experience was building with less than dry wood. Please let us know, Mike & Tammy
January 13. 2000
I have found that housing is a short, middle, long-term thing; yea even longer. A person who is young and has access to amenities can build a lean-to in a different place every two to three nights and be happier than a monkey with a peanut machine. Careful exposure to the elements enhances the life force, strengthens the immune system in the sense that natural problems are not such. Of course, this also weakens one to the man-made (enhanced) viruses existing in buildings, hospitals, and other breeding grounds. (TANGENT - sorry).
A yurt can go where the space is - simple. My personal desire is that of a dwelling that can be used in three generations future with minimal upkeep. A structure that is underground partially, or fully would be happy. A structure set in rock at a higher elevation is desired to avoid flooding (an obvious difficulty). Granted - the desire for such a solid state dwelling is in light of drastic climate changes, and storms in areas where the likelihood is high. Radon gas emission is worth testing for as this can be a cause for more than a headache. This is the reason that the government at large does not permit citizens to build dwellings completely underground. The stated reason. More or less --- it's hard to tax someone you can't find. Heaven forbid they own firearms - it would be ever so much more difficult to raid such a 'compound'.
O K; Fruit trees are a step up (or laterally) from the sprouting phase of nutrition. Our bodies are designed to eat and digest fruit. We would take generations to bring ourselves collectively back to this as we have ingested and mutated through our observance of hedonisms and 'What we could get'.
Pardon the pun, but fruit trees don't come to fruition over night. A generation down the line would be never without if fruit trees are planted as shelter/shade. As in the Permaculture principle, the heat exuded from a house or dwelling would allow survival of fruit trees in climates that would usually not allow their survival in the winter (if a house is above ground as the Benedictines utilized-they just didn't call it Permaculture- God's laws, I think they called it).
Large rock is a laborious method of developing a structure, yet up to now was grand for insulation rating as well as repelling the most drastic of elements. With the induction these pressed straw and/or earth blocks easier variations are available. I still have an affection for the novelty of the stone. Temperature six to eight inches beneath soil remains a relatively constant 59 degrees. Obviously creating a desire for a wood stove. Electricity can be provided by solar panels for blowers on the woodstove (if desired, and if the structure is of any size), a cooler, and a freezer (key), juicer, airflow and purification unit(s), freeze-drying (or vacuum-sealer), and so on.
The biggest catch is probably achieving a perk site. The Hunzas had a well in the 'basement' of their homes that they pulled water up from. They also lived in a climate that needed no freezer as the steep angles on their roofs allowed food to be stored in the attic in closer proximity to the outside snow and ice (like a dunces hat).
One of the draw backs to this (dwelling) or even the Liberty dwelling is being near (remotely) the effects of human 'betterment' projects. The water tables have been run askew from us so bad that many plants have been added to the endangered species' list for 'local' areas. Not because the plants are not available in abundance in a region - but because the environments in an area have been destroyed in the sense that water does or does not sit with consistency anymore (Acorus Calamus is an example - similar to 'cat-tails'). This damage to the water tables can affect the dwellings' supply of water as well as availability of water to wildlife, medicinal plants and so forth.
The finding of a cave(s) would be a score in which to build on in my opinion. Steel girders may be desired as safeguards, in light of a structure lasting until a century or two away. The freemasons have information that was collected from the Arabs and elsewhere that allows for buildings that work with acoustics, air flow, and other methods of western 'feng-shui'. The mechanical engineering dept. at NCSU has access to nifty stuff in this vein, as do other places I'm sure.
Granted, this may seem like a hermit lifestyle but only if one wishes. There are entire cities underground in Switzerland, China, and elsewhere. An entire community could reside in such a place. I envision such an environment that could allow a couple to five families (or more) using central facilities ie. library, float tank, etc. Or more integrally, a community of youths that are learning and growing beyond the media & death culture, for adapting to, and learning to survive, in a rapidly changing world.
A world in which the most prepared individuals are going to be taken by surprise and knocked off center by the paradigm shifts striking us in this outdated and ineffective milieu that has conditioned the use of time, self-image, motivation, and the vision among youth of helplessness and a narcissistic world view. My love, Ted
May 31, 1999
Rick and Grace, email@example.com
Sustainable Housing Okla Tornado
There are a number of people in Oklahoma interested in alternative housing, especially straw bale, since wheat is in abundance. I am trying to create an outreach to find homeless tornado victims who would be interested in building alternative housing, and perhaps a foreman, architect, and volunteers. Also, people who could donate materials. We need to do this as a start in Oklahoma.
December 25, 1998
Kevin & Donna, firstname.lastname@example.org
Voluntary Creative Simplicity & the BELL
Hi, just a short note about what we are doing. When we met in 1992, Donna and I were looking for another way to live, outside of the entanglement and consumeristic society. Since then we've made incredible progress and feel motivated to share our discoveries. In reading about earth-friendly alternatives we came across the idea of a simple dwelling called the B.E.L.L. (biogenic ecodesic living lighthouse). It is a 309 sq ft 8-sided, circular dwelling that contains 22 windows all the way around. Construction cost less than $5000. It facilitates a healthy lifestyle in communion with nature, and minimizes fuel and utility costs. One can actually live in a BELL without the need of electricity, or at least, rely on a PV system only. Heat is by wood stove. The major advantage is the use of space and the ability to grow indoor greens, such as wheatgrass, buckwheat and sunflower, because of the abundance of fresh air and light. The indoor greens make up 50% of our diet, thereby reducing our food bill significantly. We are able to minimize the need for a large kitchen and garden, are able to catch rainwater, which also reduced our need for installing a well or relying on city/rural water hookup. We are hoping others are interested in this unique life-generating lifestyle that promotes ecological and environmental responsibility.
Re: Voluntary Creative Simplicity & the BELL
Jerry B email@example.com
ICQ chat number 22180390
Kevin and Donna,
Merry Christmas! Every statement you made about your BELL house; heating with wood, growing indoor greens, your diet, your rainwater catch system, etc. has filled me with questions. Of what materials is the house built? Did you build it yourself? With that many windows, is loss of heat a problem? What part of the country do you live? You must be familiar with the writings of Ann Wigmore concerning wheatgrass, sprouts and other live foods? My wife and I want to know more about your diet. How has your diet helped you? How much detail are you willing to share? Could you kindly send us any other comments or articles? If you can send drawings and plans, or photo's we will publish them here in this site. When we begin building the new online community, we can include your type of house, and if you wish, will devote a separate web page to it. Sure hope to hear more! Jerry B
December 9, 1998
Subject: Sandwich Houses
I would like to know if anyone has any information on the subject of sandwich houses ?
It's similar to adobe but the mixture is different. Please supply any information you have. It would be
greatly appreciated. Thanks.
August 6, 1998
subject: alternative housing construction
I scanned a book several years ago and now, of course, cannot find it. The subject matter of the book was the construction of housing for third world areas using clay, one of the world's most abundant resources. The clay was formed into bricks, stacked up, and then "fired" (they used 55 gallon drums of kerosene placed on the structure's top, hoses and a small hand pump to route the fuel for the fire) into a solid brick house. The structure was largely covered with bermed dirt then. The architect was Iranian or Iraqi but I don't remember his name. I believe housing has been constructed in this country on Native American reservations. I do not recall anything more about this construction process and would like to hear from anyone who knows more about it. Thanks! John Martin
The architect was probably Nader Khalili, now working in Hesperia, California. The URL for his website is http://www.calearth.org. I want to read further about his in-place firing of the structures, but it would seem to me that if these methods were widely adopted, there would be great environmental repercussions from the burning of whatever fuel chosen was to heat the brick. His use of bags of on-site earth materials, without firing, seems more ecologically sound, to me, and is a method I also want to experiment with further. Jerry B.
Nov. 28, 1997
subject: Alternative Earth-friendly Housing
I live at City of the Sun Foundation near Columbus, New Mexico. We, as members are vastly distinct personalities, but many wish to build sustainable alternative homes, or just explore what can be built. Would like to communicate with like-minded builders. We are in touch with the Southwest Environmental Center in Las Cruces, and also with Alternative Construction Workshops at Kingston, New Mexico, some of which links back to the Nader Khalili workshops in Hesperia, California. Many people need and can benefit from alternative homes, composting toilets, solar energy. Thanks, Maya
Nov. 28, 1997
Is the Foundation you are a member of a type of intentional community? You mention the Nader Khalili workshops. I just recently visited his Cal-Earth web-site, (slow loading graphics) and was introduced to their use of earth bags in construction. Do you know anyone who has attended the workshops in California, or are actually building earth-bag dwellings to live in, in New Mexico? Do the Alternative Construction Workshops have a web-site? I am interested in learning more about this method, which uses any available soil or sand to fill bags, and barb-wire to keep them in place. I was very impressed with the appearance of their structures. I wonder if they ever berm or cover the structures with earth, and how difficult it is to line the inside surfaces. Do you intend to build a house yourself?
I recently have came across another related
site you may be interested in, http://www.auroville-india.org/csr/ertharch.htm#Diversity
especially their work with CEB, (Compressed Earth Blocks), another new concept to me. I want to further explore and experiment with this method when the weather clears. Your New Mexico sands should make good reverse forms for shoring either compressed block or sprayed or poured concrete domes. Jerry B.
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