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Posts Tagged ‘low cost’

HNC Earthbag House (click to enlarge)

HNC Earthbag House (click to enlarge)


“The Haitian National Congress (HNC) asked me to conduct training next May for bright and eager Haitian adult citizens who want to become entrepreneurs, nudge their country more toward functional democracy, learn problem solving skills and learn free enterprise practices that will increase their personal income. These trainees will then return to each of Haiti’s 10 departments to teach others about developing cottage businesses, managing money, establishing new markets, increasing vegetable production and more.

Haiti needs more housing stock. For the individual Haitian, owning a home and building equity in it is a way to better oneself financially. HNC is working with folks who have minimal income. HNC encourages them to build wealth which helps the country build a stronger economy. That leads to more jobs, more children getting educated, better health care, etc. To have value in the housing market, they need a house that is modern (plumbing and electricity), durable (earthquake and hurricane resistant) and of course, affordable. With a modern and durable house as collateral you can borrow money to start a small business. Lack of access to capital is a major barrier in the third world to individuals lifting themselves out of poverty. Earthbag houses are perfect. Hands on learning how to build an earthbag house will be an important part of the HNC training. The trainees will learn, and they will in turn train others in earthbag building. Modifications can be made in the field in response to local feedback.

Dr. Owen Geiger took my basic ideas, enhanced them greatly and developed an attractive plan. It is a durable and leak proof ‘core house’ with a multipurpose room (kitchen and living room), bathroom and bedroom. There is a covered, raised, and railed front porch for Haitian style outdoor living and for social gathering. Also, Dr. Geiger designed the walls a bit higher than 8’, dropped the ceiling slightly and put two ladder accessible lofts above. There are covered porches around the entire house that can serve as outdoor cooking, food preparation and work areas. They can also be easily converted into additional rooms. HNC and I are happy with this earthbag house plan that offers so much flexibility. The owners will have several options for sleeping, storage and work areas. While the disaster resistant core house remains the same, the lofts and porches allow each family to set up the house just the way they like it in order to meet their specific needs.”

HNC Earthbag House floorplan (click to enlarge)

HNC Earthbag House floorplan (click to enlarge)


Specifications: 288 sq. ft. interior, 274 sq. ft. loft, one bedroom, one bath, covered porch area: 903 sq. ft., footprint: 31’x43’

Source: Dr. Jerry Epps Teach Democracy
HNC House website with free plans coming soon

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$300 Earthbag House (click to enlarge)

$300 Earthbag House (click to enlarge)


Description: 11.1 sq. m. interior, 5.4 sq. m. sleeping loft, 11.2 sq. m. patio for cooking and socializing. Single units can be expanded by adding on in any direction or joined to create multi-unit structures. Almost all materials are free or recycled: grain bags, rubble, clay, door, security bars, earthen plaster and floors, or locally available, natural materials: bamboo, rice hull insulation.
$300 Earthbag House (click to enlarge)

$300 Earthbag House (click to enlarge)


This is my entry for ‘The $300 House Open Design Challenge.’ Over the next two weeks I’ll be adding more drawings and fleshing out my proposal. The challenge is to design affordable housing for the world’s poorest. You can view other proposals here. Several other earthbag house designs have already been submitted. The $300 House was first described in a Harvard Business Review blog post by Vijay Govindarajan and Christian Sarkar. More info at The $300 House.

$300 Earthbag House with Additions (click to enlarge)

$300 Earthbag House with Additions (click to enlarge)


Option B: Starter Home with Additions
This is the same house with two rooms added on. One of the key advantages of this design is the ability to add on in any direction, so I wanted to show what this could look like. This larger version doubles the living area from 27.7 to 55.4 sq. meters, including the porch.
$300 Earthbag House with Additions (click to enlarge)

$300 Earthbag House with Additions (click to enlarge)


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Earthbag/Geodesic Dome (click to enlarge)

Earthbag/Geodesic Dome (click to enlarge)


Specifications: 24′-6″ diameter with 471 sq. ft. interior, one bedroom, one bath, Footprint: 28′-6″ x 28′-6″

Description: Many readers prefer rounded domes. However, rounded domes cannot be built by earthbags alone. This solution — inspired by Richard Laurens — uses a 24′ diameter geodesic frame set on 42″ high earthbag walls. Metal and wood geodesic frames are available as kits through various suppliers, or you could build your own. Lightweight bags of insulation cover the entire dome. A key feature is the expansive window wall that provides a sunny, pleasant home. Most dome homes, in contrast, have insufficient or poorly protected windows.

Earthbag/Geodesic Dome (click to enlarge)

Earthbag/Geodesic Dome (click to enlarge)

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L-Shape (click to enlarge)

L-Shape (click to enlarge)


Specifications: 552 sq. ft. interior, 1 bedroom, 1 bath, Footprint: 32′ x 32′

Description: The main characteristics of this house include efficient use of space, while offering basic necessities and a few extras like a wood stove, good-sized computer desk and excellent passive solar design.

L-Shape (click to enlarge)

L-Shape (click to enlarge)

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Earthbag Cluster Lodging

Earthbag Cluster Lodging

Specifications: 94 sq. ft. interior per unit, Footprint: 11′ x 13′

Description: These small shelters provide lodging for all types of sustainable communities, including ecovillages, training centers, youth camps, spiritual retreats, eco-resorts, and for refugee and natural disaster relief efforts. The curved shape adds interest and stability, while relatively straight end walls enable units to be joined for maximum efficiency. The design below shows two units joined together. Many other combinations are possible. Note: this plan is now listed in the free shelter category.

Earthbag Cluster Lodging (Double Units)

Earthbag Cluster Lodging (Double Units)

Earthbag Cluster Lodging (Double Units) South Elevation

Earthbag Cluster Lodging (Double Units) South Elevation

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Economizer Earthbag House

Economizer Earthbag House

Specifications: 432 sq. ft. interior, 1 bedroom, 1 bath, Footprint: 19′ x 30′

Description: This plan is designed to be compact and efficient. Most houses this size do not have as many features — washer/dryer, wood stove, and modern kitchen and bath. An archway separates the bedroom from the main living area, yet maintains a sense of privacy with a room divider. Note: this plan is now listed in the free shelter category.

Economizer Earthbag House East Elevation

Economizer Earthbag House East Elevation

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Earthbag Resort Rental

Earthbag Resort Rental

Specifications: 232 sq. ft. interior, 1 bedroom, 1 bath, Footprint: 15′ x 25′ excluding carport

Description: There is a good market for durable, energy efficient vacation cabins/resort rental units and this plan is designed to fill the need. It can be built as shown for hot climates or flipped 180 degrees and used for cold climates. The area under the extended roof can be used as a carport or covered patio area. Note: this plan is now listed in the free shelter category.

Earthbag Resort Rental West Elevation

Earthbag Resort Rental West Elevation

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