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Shelter - Keeping out the elements. 

Staying warm and dry, and keeping a roof over our heads, is one of the most important things we accomplish in our life. There are many methods of using renewable resources in the construction of our homes. Important goals are Energy Efficiency, Security, and Weather Resistance.


The Underground (earth bermed and sheltered) Home Web Site - - I have found very little information on the web about underground (Earth berm and sheltered) homes or houses. When I search via yahoo for "Earth berm" I get poor links, when I search for "underground homes" I get underground construction or underground music sites. There are numerous sites dealing with alternative power and computer control but only the Earthship sites come close to conventional underground homes. However, the Earthship pages deal with making house with tires and other throwaways. I only want info on making energy efficient houses for cold and hot seasons. Searching for "Earth sheltered" homes does appears to get some very interesting finds.

The Nature of Form: A Layman's View of Organic Architecture - Eric Hunting: Introduction: In his book "The Millennial Project" author Marshal Savage notes the use of 'organic architecture' as an important feature of the Aquarius marine colony. Other futurists have also mentioned this form of architecture as being important to the design of future habitation and the Nexus marine colony, proposed by architect Eugene Tsui, also makes use of this style. But what exactly is this organic architecture? A search through the architecture section of the typical library is unlikely to provide a single title that even mentions this phrase. Our only clues to its nature are often found in the works of futurists and science fiction writers and rarely adequately described or illustrated.

The Monolithic™ Dome is the most disaster resistant building that can be built at a reasonable price without going underground or into a mountain.

A wind of 70 miles per hour blowing against a 30 foot tall flat walled building in open flat terrain will exert a pressure of 22 pounds per square foot (see sidebars). If the wind speed is increased to 300 miles per hour the pressure is increased to 404 pounds per square foot (psf). Wind speed of 300 MPH is considered maximum for a tornado. It is far greater than that of a hurricane.

[Cars can be parked on 100 psf. The side pressure on the building could equal the weight of cars piled 4 high. No normal building can withstand that much pressure. Many Monolithic Domes are buried up to 30 feet deep. They must withstand pressures up to 1 ton per square foot (2000 psf)].

Against tornado pressure a Monolithic™ Dome 100 feet in diameter, 35 feet tall would still have a safety margin of nearly 1½ times its minimum design strength. In other words, the stress created by the 300 mile per hour wind would increase the compressive pressure in the concrete shell to 1,098 psi. The shell is allowed 2,394 psi using design strengths of 4,000 psi.

The fact is the Monolithic™ Dome is not flat and therefore never could the maximum air pressure against it of 404 pounds per square foot be realized. Neither is the concrete only 4,000 psi. It is always much greater. The margin of safety is probably more like three or four.

Since 1994 the Monolithic Dome Institute has had hundreds of students attend and complete a Monolithic Dome Builder's Workshop.

With so many new builders, it is obvious that there is a need for a resource to bring everyone together and create a way for efficient networking for-- and advancement of-- each new builder.

This website is a place for Monolithic Dome Builders to find the supplies they need, get their questions answered, and advertise to potential customers. Monolithic Dome Builders

With today's innovative concrete homebuilding systems you can build beautiful concrete homes in any style with all the added benefits like energy efficiency, safety, and peace and quiet. Concrete is simply a better way to build a better home. - In this article, we have focused on shelters against nuclear fall-out made of concrete that could be built anywhere in the country by any contractor having experience with steel reinforced concrete. ABOVE GROUND SHELTERS, By Marcel M. Barbier, Ph.D.

Emergency and extreme weather shelters, made from industry standard shipping containers.

All Season Mobile Living Quarters:
The All Season Mobile Living Quarters basic unit will consist of a drop center design similar to the line drawing below:

Sustainable Building Sources

Cordwood masonry is an old building technique whereby walls are constructed of short logs laid up widthwise in the wall within a special mortar matrix. The wall derives excellent insulation and thermal mass characteristics from insulation sandwiched between the inner and outer mortar joints. Cordwood houses are low in cost, use indigenous materials, and are easy and fun to build.... Cord Wood Buildings

The IceBox is an affordable, lightweight, and packable tool for building snow shelters in any snow conditions. An IceBox igloo engineered for strength, stability, comfort, and ease of use is the added advantage you've been looking for. You already know the advantages of winter camping. No noise, no crowds, the awesome beauty and serenity of nature, the picturesque quality of the backcountry winter landscape. Now discover the new and affordable way to enhance the adventure. Whether you're a novice camper, snowshoer, or an experienced winter mountaineer, you'll appreciate the IceBox advantage. The IceBox. Enhance the adventure. THE ICEBOX ADVANTAGE (Igloos)

Rammed Earth Works, inc., established in 1978, has distinguished itself as the world's leading company in the research and development of modern earth construction technologies. Founder and President, David Easton, is the internationally recognized developer of PISE, Terratile, the Easton forming system for rammed earth and cast elements, and construction systems for engineered earth walls which are code compliant and compatible with current building trades. Rammed Earth Works, inc.,

Fibrous cement (also called papercrete, fibercrete, and paper adobe) is a revolutionary (and very inexpensive) building material utilizing recycled paper and cardboard. Building with Papercrete and Paper Adobe

If you are interested in cordwood house construction (sometimes called stackwood or stackwall construction), alternative housebuilding, self-sufficiency, renewable energy, permaculture or living a simpler lifestyle (whew!) -- you've come to the right place! Alternative Building Technology

There is a hint of the mad scientist about Pliny Fisk III. Take his teacup experiment. Had you first seen him on the day he discovered a substitute for concrete you might have dismissed him as a wacky chemistry professor. Picture Fisk, an animated fifty-one-year-old, with steel-rimmed glasses, a walrus mustache, and shoulder-length hair receding on top, stirring a couple of spoonfuls of water into a teacup filled with fly ash from a coal-fired power plant.

Back in his kitchen (or "earth lab" as he calls it) Fisk's teacup of ash soup set up nicely. "In twenty minutes the fly ash turned into something you couldn't break with your hands, so we took it seriously and made a proper mix and tested it," he recalls. The result was a substance so hard that it broke his compression tester. This experimental material later tested out at 6000 psi (pounds per square inch), about twice the strength of Portland cement. Eventually Fisk came up with a recipe for his alternative cement that he now makes out of 97 percent recycled-content materials: fly ash and bottom ash from aluminum smelters mixed with a dash of citric acid, borate, and (unfortunately, he adds) a chemical in the chlorine family for which he is seeking a substitute. Fisk promptly registered this new substance under the name AshCrete. Pliny Fisk III: The Search for Low-Impact Building Materials and Techniques

I am the Director of the Development Center for Appropriate Technology, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, in Tucson, AZ.  Much of our work is in the area of energy- and resource-efficient building technologies.  Thus my comments are related to the climate change aspects of buildings, materials and systems of construction, and building regulation.  Some reflect the huge potential for using agricultural residues as very energy-efficient building materials which also act as carbon sinks.  Others relate to finding lower-impact ways of building and changes in codes.  To address the impacts of building requires a comprehensive approach that identifies technical, institutional, economic, and cultural barriers to needed changes and addresses them.   Here are my suggestions: Sustainable building ideas





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