Domes/Earthships/Cob/Strawbale/Tyre etc...

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by Cly, Apr 21, 2005.

  1. Cly

    Cly Junior Member

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    My partner and I have a deep interest in Dome homes, though also admire so many other types of alternative housing. America is pretty lucky in the sense that you can purchase and raise a Dome pretty cheaply...in Australia you can't - or atleast I can't find any dome builder that offers an affordable dome home for a small family. It seems that here the dome kits and dome homes offered are built far too fancy - nothing just simple and inexpensive - as was the original intention of Dome homes at the beginning of it all, it's a shame it hasn't turned out that way. We don't care for silly frills .. we're just looking for something plain, no new age fanciness, etc. We love the idea of Earthships also though they seem terribly expensive, as for strawbales...well they have their advantages and disadvantages, passive solar doesn't seem to come into the advantages with them - I've read here and there they can be built for as little as $100 - $150 psm...still thinking on that one. Is there any hope for the poorer of the nation to live happily with their family in an eco-achitecture home? We're prepared to help out with the building process as much as we can. Just a simple little dome with a small loft on one side for our bedroom..the space underneath for a bathroom and a small bedroom for our son.

    Domes are inspirational buildings and would dearly love to raise our family in one - a simple..plain one, just walking into one is an experience in itself..very peaceful. Can anyone help us out with any tips, information etc....
     
  2. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    mmm cly,

    dunno with our experiences in designing and the building of our eco" warm-house/cool-house style home, if the aspect of the land is wrong and the orientation of the home on that aspect is wrong we can't see how it will do the intended job of keeping a family comfortable without using or using the very least of heating and cooling, we use non of either. our home is 7 meters wide and 15 meters long and at the current stage cost around $40,000, an extra 7 meters longer would add about another $10,000 to the price.

    this price doesn't include floor coverings or paint and we don't need curtains or fly screens. it's just naturally peacefull and quiet unless the tv is on or such.

    just how we see it.

    len 8)
     
  3. Cly

    Cly Junior Member

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    Sounds like a dream come true :) Congrats.

    Hmm anyone else?
     
  4. SueinWA

    SueinWA Junior Member

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    Here in the U.S., I think domes have faded from view, for the most part. Much of the space is wasted & they're hard to heat & cool. They have to be insulated (I'll bet THAT'S a job!), but I suspect the basic design makes them unsuitable for passive solar. Hwo do you let the sun in in cold weather, and keep it out in summer? Think about it.

    But I think the biggest problem was leaking. The reason for the "fanciness" & expense is probably due to that. I haven't seen a new dome in 20 or 30 years. Some domes that I used to see when traveling aren't there anymore.

    For living with minimal heating and cooling, I don't understand why you're thinking that strawbale and passive solar are mutually exclusive. True, you do have to put a lot of thought into it, and orient it carefully, but you would have to do that with any solar home. If you're on the wrong side of a shading hill in winter, it wouldn't matter what kind of solar you use -- it would be ineffective.

    I think you need to do more research.

    Sue
     
  5. Cly

    Cly Junior Member

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    The dome is just a personal preference for the building itself. I simply enquired as to the expense of these homes, not the capacity for solar passive or anything else for that matter, I'm well aware placement is crucial. I've seen a couple of awesome low cost domes in the USA (I'm in Indiana at the moment), one is a yoga institute and one a full time home for a family and they easily shift the panels when needed or exchange them for winter/summer. One family I know on the North Island of NZ heats their dome pretty darn efficiently and quickly due to the house design and little 'wasted' space like alot of designer domes I've seen out there that go for the 'cathedral' feeling rather than being practical, the insulation is sound and they also gave it a helping hand with paint on insulation. Domes especially in Florida and nearby southern coastal states are on the tips of alot of people tongues, especially concrete domes due to their ability to take severe windload. Concrete sadly is too expensive for me.

    I'm not new to this sort of thing and I am fairly well studied...was simply a question of price and the Australian supply/demand situation, perhaps I didn't make that clear enough which can happen. Tips and suggestions for saving money on various techniques (besides putting in alot of effort yourself) is what I'm looking for from people who have done it or are doing it. Little tips go a long long way in owner building, sanity and money wise and after helping build two homes in QLD - I'm always looking out for new tips and discoveries from other people who are going through/have gone through this.
     
  6. Cly

    Cly Junior Member

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    Cob was something I admired so much...but never dreamed I could do it. I'm about as creative with my hands as "a cluster of colourblind hedgehogs...in a bag". Though after chasing an affordable home for low incomers like myself, I realised a Dome really isn't possible and reluctantly gave up my decade of dreams...though my thoughts went back to cob as it's so versatile. A few old books I picked up years ago came in handy and I read them again with renewed enthusiasm which quickly stifled my sadness about the dome... I'm now glad dome building isn't as cheap in Australia or I wouldn't have come to realise that cob is it for me and my family, cheaper than strawbale, no loud and expensive machinery needed, well insulated and just downright spunky.

    I buggered round the net looking for some good cob sites that I'd never seen before and came up with a gem, this page loads a long video which was so fantastic to watch. Might take a while on dial up but it's really worth a look if alternative building interests you. Made me more confident that's for sure. I used to think long term medical probs were going to get in the way of ever realising my dreams money wise, I was wrong, we have more than enough money now and plenty of family and friends to help. Hubby is slightly wary/amused (me even moreso) at the thought of sloshing around in cob mix..being that he has OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and can't walk on grass without shoes and socks on......but he agrees. Might cure him hah! Our son will be old enough to plop around in it when the time comes, that will be a site.

    Anyone done any building with cob? Whether it be a home, a wall or an oven?

    https://tona.bigbite.org/film/earth-wall-community1.htm
     
  7. Tona

    Tona Junior Member

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    Gosh, I'm glad you enjoyed the clip, Cly. Your post led me to this discussion forum and I'm very glad to have found it!

    The cob wall project that's featured in the film was my introduction to building with cob last year, but it felt so natural that it was easy to get the hang of it quickly. My long-term plan is to build a community containing structures made from cob and other natural/green materials. I'd love to help create something in an urban area, so as many people as possible can learn about all this.

    I've also been very inspired by the earthships that I've seen in Taos, NM. I'm just beginning to learn about it, so I'm no expert yet, but some of you might find this film useful: https://tona.bigbite.org/film/earthships-taos-2004.htm. It's a 10-minute piece I created based on my tour of the Taos earthships last year.
     

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