House in a can

Tuesday 30 Jun 2009

Recyclables and agricultural methods used to create eco-house design

The Homestead House is a conceptual design for alternative housing that explores the potential use of a commercially availablesteel, prefabricated, modular, high strength, low cost, arch building system normally used for agriculturalpurposes. Its architect, Michael Jantzen was inspired by his experimental design work in the late 1960s as an undergraduate at Southern IllinoisUniversity and decided to re-examine this work.

The steel arches and straight panels used in the building system are formed from thin recyclable steelsheets, which can easily be bolted together with simple tools, and with unskilled labour. Once the archesare bolted together, they normally do not require an additional secondary support structure. As a result,very little material is required to form an extremely strong envelope that can be taken apart in the samemanner in which it is assembled. In this way, the entire structure can be recycled by erecting it againin a different location for a different function.

The extreme modularity of the Homestead House designallows for a great degree of flexibility in the way in which the modules can be clustered together toaccommodate different needs. The size and shape of the entire structure can easily be altered over timeby adding or subtracting complete modules, and or by adding or subtracting one arch at a time.

There are various ways to insulate the Homestead House. In the present design, an entire second structure(made of much lighter gauge material) is erected inside of the outer shell and cellulose insulation(ground up newspaper) is blown in-between the two structures in any thickness needed.This Homestead House is designed to function off of the standard utility grid but it would be able togenerate its own electricity with photovoltaic cells and with a small vertical axis wind turbine.

Thestructure would be passively solar heated and cooled and the domestic water would also be heatedby the sun. Rainwater would be collected off of some of the roof arches and directed to above orbelow ground storage containers. Many other alternative energy gathering and storage systems canbe employed, including the possible use of solar and wind powered hydrogen manufacturing, for usethroughout the house.

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