Wednesday, October 28, 2009

(Tool) Housing

With the housing bubble completely deflated across the country, I think it's worth taking a look at scaling back and looking at the important issues pertaining to homes and construction. We now have the technology to build super energy efficient and environmentally friendly buildings, but cost and acceptance are the biggest roadblocks.

I read an interesting article on about this designer/builder renovating an old gunsmith shop in Roxbury (village in Boston, MA). The guy was using 12 inch foam panels for insulation and was talking about heating the entire house (albeit only 750 sf) by making a batch of pancakes on the range?!

It was really cool and I totally agree with his ideology of using Passive house standard to retain heat. But then I took a look at the house and I saw was about as boring as a block of ice. I'm sure the interior looks fine, but the styling is so bleak, it makes me cold just looking at it. Plus, at 250k that's $333 per square foot, a bit excessive.

I have always been fascinated with small, inexpensive buildings/housing. I bring to the table, my inexpensive pallet house, built from common building materials. Start with common sized pallets 40"x48" and frame in with common 2x6 framing studs and plates.

Once framed, the wall structures could be filled with expanding poly foam. The foam would serve many functions:
-R-30 insulation and vapor barrier
-stiffening/rigidity - every pallet like a little SIP- (structurally insulated panel)
-sheathing/solid nailing for interior and exterior finishes

It's a very versatile system- with pallets being readily available and easily integrated with current wood frame construction practices and materials. And it's cheap