Life on Mars – or the Mississippi River…

10 Jun

Greetings, Campers!

In Joplin, we’re still struggling, trying to provide aid to families in the aftermath of the tornado that tore the heart out of Missouri. Many, many families are still trying to figure out their next steps as they continue to try and salvage anything they can, after Mother Mature vented her wrath.
As the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers continue to swell to overflowing…
Families try to recover, sitting on high ground watching their lives get washed downriver.
The Banks of the Mississippi River look like a disaster area, as most areas affected remain in a heightened state of emergency.
In Montana, Sheriff Leo Dutton said, “The water may peak tonight, but it’s going to peak in the higher elevations, not in the lower elevations. If you have water or are expecting water we’re going to get more water in the Valley. You can expect more groundwater, in other words your basements are going to get water.”

Floodwaters in the Helena Valley are now heading north and east…

And that means more and more families will soon be treading water.

We’re already hard at work with aid agencies, developing “Response Housing” for families caught between water and wind.

We ARE  building an ISBU/Earthbag Hybrid home as a prototype. 

In cooperation with guys like “Dr. Genius” – Dr. Owen Geiger (a guy I usually refer to as “Mr. Earthbag”)… 

This home, which I’ve talked about earlier, will allow a small family to actually take shelter in the ISBU Core of the home as they build out the walls, using earthbags (and every relative/volunteer they can muster).

They aren’t “temporary” homes or FEMA trailers fraught with horror stories.

These are honest to goodness “permanent homes”, small in footprint but HUGE on delivered safety and energy efficiency. More importantly, they’re inexpensive to build using local materials and the sweat of your brow….

We’re working on ISBU “modular homes” that will allow families to obtain “pre-configured”  ISBU units (pre-configured as bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens). Once transported to site, they can be assembled in several configurations, allowing the creation of  Corten Steel homes in very short periods of time.

Beyond that, many of our Corten Cavalry Members are working on “Response Housing.”

I thought that I’d give you a look at some of the homes we’ll be talking about in the weeks to come.

Much can be said for “envelope building.”

Building in an envelope means exactly that. What if you built a gambrel BARN large enough to harbor ISBUs inside?

Here’s what Craig Moorhouse (one of our most esteemed members of the “Corten Cavalry”) has been thinking about:

Craig says:

Take (2) 20ft ISBU  10ft apart (simular to Paul Stankey’s Holyoke Container Cabin) – gambrel roof ( needs window dormers near the back) and a 27dia. corrugated, grain bin sidewall semicircle at the back of the structure that has a circular gambrel roof ( which would be kind of like a fez hat cut in half).

The semi circle corrugated wall would hold its shape with vertical channel stiffeners bolted to the sidewall on the inside of the structure – and lag bolted to the cement pad. circular pipes can be bolted to the stiffeners with u-bolts above the windows to make the structure super strong.

 The rounded back of the home would work to shed the cold northern winds of winter. This area would be great for storage – laundry – mech. room – This area of the house would be kept cooler then the rest so it would also make a great place to put a freezer.

There is a 4′ x 36′ space between the semi circle and the square front of the house – two doors, one on the west and one on the east – one as a downstairs access to the outside and other as a stair entrance to the top floor ( a separate entrance to the two “granny flat” living spaces upstairs).
I think this design would give great flexibility in living space organization – still a work in progress but I was wondering what you thought of it?
Let’s talk about this a little bit. Start thinking out of the box, campers. Imagine an ISBU home that get’s immediate shelter, upon it’s arrival to your site. Perhaps even by placing the boxes inside a pre-insulated space, removing ALL the difficulty of having to insulate “Corten Steel Cavities”…
And remember, you can still reserve your copy of my new book;
100% of the proceeds will be put to use immediately, helping families in crisis as they begin to recover.
They NEED our help and WE’RE going to give it to them. To do less… well, that’s just not thinkable.

3 Responses to “Life on Mars – or the Mississippi River…”

  1. portable cabin guy June 23, 2011 at 3:28 am #

    Hi, I have a blog that I operate for our company; If you would like a plug for this project just write what you want and I’ll post it with any links you require, just send me an email. Cheers and good luck.

  2. Michel Weber July 11, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

    I’m watching alternative and cost efficient home building for while.
    Although I’m a big fan of 100% ISBU buildings due to their geometeric advantages.

    However,I like this idea as the combination of earthbags with ISBU core which seems to be
    a less costly way to go.

    • Renaissance Ronin July 11, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

      Hi Michel,

      Using ISBUs and Earthbags allows a cost effective, energy efficient building program that can be mastered by almost anyone using basic hand tools.

      Guys like “that Geiger character” will tell you that Earthbag homes can be constructed for about $10 a square foot. The Doctor is no quack… he’s RIGHT.

      The ISBU core is the most expensive part of this program. Inside it lurks the entire service core of your home. From day one, you have a fully functional kitchen, bathroom and even a “hidden” double bed. If you fabricate this CORE in your garage or backyard, you can actually haul it to your site with a big Pick-Up Truck to sit on the foundation of your choice.

      If it’s ME… it’s small sonotube and rebar based concrete pilings. Once it’s set into place (and providing that you’re doing it rurally), you can even sleep in it while you work on the house. Sure, it’s not going to be Shangri-la, but you can eat, sleep and shower in comfort at the end of the each day after a long battle with bags and blisters…

      Once the core is set, you start “sweating with the oldies”… or anyone else you can trick into heading to the boonies to fill bags with soil.

      Top the Earthbag Wings with a SIP (Structural Insulated Panel) / SSMR (Standing Seam Metal Roof) roof system and you have a winner for sure.

      The end result? In just a few weeks site-time, you have a solid, affordable, energy efficient home that you built with your own two hands… and about a hundred blisters. 😉

      Did I mention the blisters?

      Who cares if your relatives and neighbors never offer to help you, ever… ever… again? You got a house out of it! 🙂

      And just ignore them while they whine about their… blisters… 😉

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