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    United States Avalon Member Dennis Leahy's Avatar
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    Default Looking for creative, aesthetic, small home plan that is high efficiency

    Many years ago, I played around on CAD, drawing a cool home design. The front of the home was a big arc (section of a circle) with passive solar, and I had a lot of fun dreaming of building that home.

    Now, I know that will never happen, and would not want a house as big as the one I designed anyway. It would not really scale-down well, and so I'm starting over.

    I'm downsizing. The medium-sized house I'm in now will be on the market shortly, and I'm seriously considering building a small house (with my own 2 hands.) [If my daughter was grown, I'd probably be looking at Ecuador, but that part of my life will have to wait.]

    I'm back in my CAD program, scribbling away, but I sure would love to see some creative home floor plans for additional ideas (or maybe even find a plan that I love and just run with it.) I have seen a number of "tiny houses" and there is actually a "tiny house movement" of sorts going on. This is very appealing to me, but honestly, I would scale those up a bit from "tiny" to "small" (I have lived in a small cabin, and know that too small can feel... well, too small.)

    The Tiny House Movement:
    http://tinyhousetalk.com/tiny-house-movement/

    http://www.custommade.com/blog/tiny-house-movement/

    http://thetinylife.com/what-is-the-tiny-house-movement/

    There are also a lot of people living a tiny lifestyle that are not technically part of the "tiny house movement." Consider all the people who live in small apartments/flats/bungalows. They generally live in big cities where housing costs are very high (like New York City.) They don't sit out on their porch in the morning with a cup of coffee, they go to a coffee house and make that a part of their lifestyle. They don't have a big pantry full of canned and dried food, they stop by the small grocer/"bodega" and get enough stuff to make a meal. They have downsized but embrace parks, favorite hangouts, libraries, etc. to become part of their living space - and allow the stores to store the stuff.

    One thing that tiny houses do not have is privacy. When everyone in the house is - at a maximum - maybe 20 feet away from any other person, you can basically hear their stomach rumbling when they are hungry, and all phone conversations become conference calls. Maybe some people don't need much alone space. John Taylor Gatto (author of "Dumbing Us Down: the Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling") says alone time/space is a key ingredient for learning. I have a 15 year old daughter and she needs some space. I noodle around on playing guitar, and I need some space.

    I give that background info to explain why I'm not going after a true "tiny house" floor plan, but rather a "small home" floor plan. I'd love to see any links anyone has that might provide ideas... or maybe even "thee" plan.

    Thanks in advance!

    Dennis


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    Default Re: Looking for creative, aesthetic, small home plan that is high efficiency

    Hi Dennis,
    I may be capable of offering some advise and help.
    I wouldn't recommend a tiny house for reasons you have partially already covered here. It is actually refreshing for me to see people are starting to see things for what they are. Tiny spaces, standard schooling, etc.

    As for a developed plan that might suite your needs -- there will always be the need to adapt to local environment and specifics, so I would say it should be more an individual plan than a standard one.

    If you have anything specific in mind or any other specific questions, write here and I will log in to answer, if no other architect, or builder, or anyone who holds the view that can offer an adequate advise, has done it before me.

    Good luck,
    chocolate

    PS. I would suggest that you'll need at the start an approximate area in which you want to build your house so that the position of natural light/wind/etc are more or less clear.
    Last edited by chocolate; 11th October 2014 at 06:01.

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    Default Re: Looking for creative, aesthetic, small home plan that is high efficiency

    As I'm sure you know Dennis, stacked footage (smaller footprint, heat rising to sleeping area), tucked into the side of a hill, southern exposure for light and radiant heat, all plumbing on same wall, steeper roofs (less maintenance and can build living space into the roof areas), etc. are all considerations. I agree, this is typically site specific. Also, if you design it to where you can start out with the main section, and add wings (or not) as the years go by, that can give you options.
    "Lay Down Your Truth and Check Your Weapons
    The Next Voice You Hear Will Be Your OWN"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhS69C1tr0w

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    Default Re: Looking for creative, aesthetic, small home plan that is high efficiency

    Hi Dennis you may like this website http://earthship.com/ its got some fantastic ideas.

    ". . . the Earthship is the epitome of sustainable design and construction.
    No part of sustainable living has been ignored in this ingenious building."

    Design Principles

    - Thermal & Solar Heating and Cooling
    - Solar & Wind Electricity
    - Contained Sewage Treatment
    - Building with Natural & Recycled Materials
    - Water Harvesting
    - Food Production

    My job entails coming up with functional floor plans and I spend a lot of time on spatial planning, I would be happy to help, if you gave me a basic idea of your necessities and requirements it really would be a pleasure to come up with some ideas for you.

    Feel free to pm me if I can assist.

    Good Luck
    Last edited by Sérénité; 11th October 2014 at 12:39.

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    Default Re: Looking for creative, aesthetic, small home plan that is high efficiency

    http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/products/b53/url]

    Their largest building design:

    ManyTiny Houses are built on trailers...

    Tumbleweed has a line of "cottages" as well.

    My current home is two story and 1000square.ft. and I certainly could be as/or more comfortable in a smaller home that utilizes a smarter floor plan.
    Last edited by 13th Warrior; 11th October 2014 at 14:40.
    “Bundinn er bátlaus maður”

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    Default Re: Looking for creative, aesthetic, small home plan that is high efficiency

    Take a look at some motorhome designs for years of innovation, none of us needs a large space to live in, but the "stuff" we collect along the way does need a lot of space - perhaps if you have a lot of stuff- see how much of it you can recycle before you start your design. Try and make it a passive house so you can keep the air clean dry and warm, also try and make it hurricane resistant, and capable of being moved else where. All the best will love to follow your progress.

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    Default Re: Looking for creative, aesthetic, small home plan that is high efficiency

    Hey Dennis, a very simple idea that has worked for me is to build your first, "core" structure with some height to it. That way it is really easy to "shed" off additional rooms/space as needed and finances and time allow.

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    Default Re: Looking for creative, aesthetic, small home plan that is high efficiency


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    Default Re: Looking for creative, aesthetic, small home plan that is high efficiency

    Quote Posted by Dennis Leahy (here)
    I'm downsizing. The medium-sized house I'm in now will be on the market shortly, and I'm seriously considering building a small house (with my own 2 hands.)
    I'm back in my CAD program, scribbling away, but I sure would love to see some creative home floor plans for additional ideas (or maybe even find a plan that I love and just run with it.) ... "tiny house movement" ... but honestly, I would scale those up a bit from "tiny" to "small"


    There are also a lot of people living a tiny lifestyle that are not technically part of the "tiny house movement." Consider all the people who live in small apartments/flats/bungalows. They generally live in big cities where housing costs are very high (like New York City.) They don't sit out on their porch in the morning with a cup of coffee, they go to a coffee house and make that a part of their lifestyle. They don't have a big pantry full of canned and dried food, they stop by the small grocer/"bodega" and get enough stuff to make a meal. They have downsized but embrace parks, favorite hangouts, libraries, etc. to become part of their living space - and allow the stores to store the stuff.

    One thing that tiny houses do not have is privacy. When everyone in the house is - at a maximum - maybe 20 feet away from any other person, you can basically hear their stomach rumbling when they are hungry, and all phone conversations become conference calls. Maybe some people don't need much alone space. John Taylor Gatto (author of "Dumbing Us Down: the Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling") says alone time/space is a key ingredient for learning. I have a 15 year old daughter and she needs some space. I noodle around on playing guitar, and I need some space.

    I give that background info to explain why I'm not going after a true "tiny house" floor plan, but rather a "small home" floor plan. I'd love to see any links anyone has that might provide ideas... or maybe even "thee" plan.
    Dennis
    Hi friend, I've spent decades researching all manner of building a home.
    I highly recommend you look at the work of ANNA EDEY.
    http://www.solvivagreenlight.com/
    Her second book (called "Green Light at the End of the Tunnel") has an amazing group of home ideas and you may want to buy a copy from her website. She has deeply explored this topic over many decades. I could email you a scanned in photo of one of her amazing designs, for I do not see how to upload from my computer.

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    Default Re: Looking for creative, aesthetic, small home plan that is high efficiency

    As with everything else, there is just not 'one size fits all' in architecture. It is always a specific solution, so all kinds of information is valuable, but at the end one needs to balance all out and see what fits best.
    That is usually partially the job of the architect, partially the responsibility of the one perpetuating the process (needing the house).

    I would prefer to keep my words in the open, for various reasons.
    One of them being that people who may have a similar question or questions will benefit from reading what others can say.

    I am an architect, and I am not too fond of earth ships. Sorry, forum. I can justify my position, but (may be) some other time, and not in this thread.

    Dennis, the way this could work in the long run for you is to know what kind of material you want to use (more or less)-- as a part of a natural occurrence (stone, wood, metal, etc.), and as part of a structural system. Also, do you have friends that can give you a hand in the work with any of the mentioned materials?
    Friends do matter .

    All building systems ( wood/metal/stone/concrete/brick) have their advantages and disadvantages. They also come with price for erecting the house and are connected to a time frame.

    Sometimes it is better to build faster, than longer, sometimes it doesn't matter. Do have this in mind, too.
    Sometimes a cheaper version comes with a higher long-term cost in the duration of exploitation.

    Dennis, I am afraid I don't know much about you, haven't been long enough online here, but I am sure if you live in the US, or plan to in the future, you'll need a proper documentation with attached technically qualified people.
    I work from Europe, so I cannot offer only an advice here.

    I collected several very different examples just to show that right now people are going for options that run above the old know-how systems and solutions. Some of those options, if thought out properly, will not be more expensive than a standard concrete or timber structure.

    The examples come with pictures and plans, because a house is a structure best understood as a whole, not by its plan(s). And it is as much a structure as much it is a type of a machine right now.

    Please, take only principals, not the entire houses. Some of them are pretty large, and not what is the task at hand here.

    More or less standard ( it is in fact far from being standard, but we do live in the present after all ):


    http://www.dezeen.com/2013/06/26/mou...te-architects/

    ~( I will split this into several posts )~
    Last edited by chocolate; 11th October 2014 at 17:19.

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    Default Re: Looking for creative, aesthetic, small home plan that is high efficiency

    ( a side note: some of the examples do not strike as 'beautiful', but do have their strong sides )

    A holiday home embedded in the steep slopes of the Swiss Alps Concrete-Timber



    http://www.dezeen.com/2012/08/17/hol...g-architekten/

    ---
    Hungarian forest cabin built in two days





    http://www.dezeen.com/2014/01/23/for...-a-architects/

    ---

    Cabin in a Czech forest




    http://www.dezeen.com/2014/08/22/fam...wooden-screen/

    I have several more that I will post a bit later.
    Last edited by chocolate; 11th October 2014 at 17:33.

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    Default Re: Looking for creative, aesthetic, small home plan that is high efficiency

    Here is a simple recipe for a low-cost affordable home (not to be seen the 'bore' in the thread):
    • compact house in two levels, with a square/rectangular shape in plan,
    • mono-pitched roof; flat roof with the possibility for the house to have an added level; valid if the house is on one level at first;
    • concrete foundation or on stilts-wooden/metal/concrete;
    • metal skeletal structure if no high quality wood is available (as is the situation in my country);
    • prefab wooden/metal/concrete panels for floors/walls
    • possibly drywall finishing, or exposed-panel finish
    • high performance doors/windows
    • installations as the owner sees fit - heating/cooling, water/sewerage, appliances with high energy performance, thermal-pump (expensive investment), use of solar power (also still expensive), use of collected rainwater, use of waste water; etc.

    ---

    A smart and unusual solution - affordable passive house



    http://vimeo.com/multipod/popup-house
    Last edited by chocolate; 11th October 2014 at 19:37.

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    Default Re: Looking for creative, aesthetic, small home plan that is high efficiency





    Taiki-cho is a dairy farming town. Because it is situated in a coastal area of Hokkaido where salty sea winds blow, other agricultural products are difficult to grow there. Pasture grass stores up solar energy in the hot summer months, and dairy farms use the grass as forage for raising dairy cattle. Taiki’s seasonal culture is therefore centered on the pastures, and the town’s landscape and everyday life are founded on pasture grass as a raw material. Paradoxically, to employ the pasture grass in creating places for people to live, in Taiki, is equivalent to coexisting with the town’s seasonal culture, and this approach has provided a solution to problems sought since the 3.11 Earthquake.
    This house is composed of shelves of two kinds—first, shelves fastened to the exterior walls for forage drying and, second, interior shelves with acrylic cases for fermenting the dried grass in winter, so as to produce heat. The year’s first grass crop is cut and placed to dry on the drying shelves while the house is receiving the powerful rays of summer sun. At this time, due to the moisture it releases, the drying grass functions as a “heat shield panel” and alleviates the harsh summer heat inside the house. The year’s second grass crop, harvested when the sun’s light has mellowed, is more pliant than the grass of the first crop. As the seasons change, the dried grass of the first crop is placed in the interior acrylic cases, and the pliable grass of the second crop takes its place on the exterior walls. Because of its pliancy, the second crop grass can be packed more densely, thereby enhancing the air-tightness of the walls. Thus, the grass performs as a buffer against the cold.
    The grass sealed in the acrylic cases is made to ferment in the cold winter months by adding “bokashi” (organic and slow release) fertilizer and moisture (with ammonium sulfate and slaked lime mixed in). The fermentation process differs, depending on the kind of grass (first crop, second crop, third crop …) and kind of “bokashi” fertilizer employed. The grass can be turned into a 40° heat source that can be sustained for about 36 hours or a 30° heat source that can be sustained for three to four weeks.
    Currently, while learning about “bokashi” (organic and slow-release) fertilizer from the town’s dairy farms, we are working with them to produce an easy-to-use recipe, and undertaking experiments to see how the interior space changes under the effect of the grass in its various states. We have completed the house while carefully confirming the state of the timber materials structuring the house as well. This house attains functionality only with the cooperation of the town’s people in changing the grass of the walls several times a year. In this sense, it displays the same “mutual assistance” among farms that characterizes other agricultural products, and by bringing the town’s people into involvement, a new value not found in cities is obtained. The project is an endeavor to “wear” the seasonal culture of the town, and thereby create and extend the recipe for living that is handed down in the town with pride.
    https://www.japlusu.com/news/recipe-live

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    Default Re: Looking for creative, aesthetic, small home plan that is high efficiency

    ---
    The EcoShell vs. The Monolithic Dome
    http://www.monolithic.org/ecoshells/...onolithic-dome
    Certainly, if you are talking, ultra low-cost housing, you can build an EcoShell. It is best built in a warm climate, such as Mexico or Africa. Some insulation value can be derived by covering an EcoShell with thatching.

    Then too, we can build an EcoShell, spray the outside with urethane foam insulation, then coat over the urethane. In general such an EcoShell appears to be the same structure as a Monolithic Dome – but not really. Its construction is more difficult, it will never be as well controlled or as well constructed, and it will cost at least as much money – if not more.
    Monolithic Domes Floorplans
    2 Bedrooms
    http://www.monolithic.org/homes/floo...oms/2-bedrooms

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    Default Re: Looking for creative, aesthetic, small home plan that is high efficiency

    Wow, you guys. Thank you for starting this discussion.. My wife and I REFUSE to buy a giant home... It is just the two of us and a couple of dogs.. We do plan to have property for a small farm with a garden, ducks, chickens,, etc.. But we will not buy into this crazy idea that our house has to be giant... 6-10 bedrooms???? 4-8?? 2 or 3,,, we only need ONE..

    We constantly brainstorm how we are gonna pull it off. However,,, we are about the two most ignorant people on the planet, when it comes to architecture,, and plain solid thinking regarding building anything that is sustainable..

    Thanks, Dennis,,, And thanks Chocolate... I've been waiting for some clues as how to proceed....


    Jake.
    Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. Yoda....

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    Default Re: Looking for creative, aesthetic, small home plan that is high efficiency

    This is a great topic Dennis .Down sizing makes allot of sense. I think there is a lot to consider when designing a house from the ground up.
    For me being able to go off grid and perhaps off oil looks appealing. In the north country I would include a wood stove for sure.

    As a rule I don't watch much TV,but this show (buying Alaska) always has my attention.
    You tube is even better with less interruptions. You might get some ideas.


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    Default Re: Looking for creative, aesthetic, small home plan that is high efficiency

    Thank you ALL for all the great (and generous!) replies!

    I would hope this thread is useful for others, and so welcome ideas to be expressed that might not work for me, but may be perfect for someone else.

    Two Seasons: Winter, and Here Comes Winter
    I live in Duluth, MN and need a house designed to keep occupants warm in an area that is "6 months of winter." We can get deep snow, and sometimes it is wet and heavy, so the home needs to withstand that weight - and probably realistically must have a pitched roof. The Solviva blog is definitely interesting, and I'll have to see what the cost is for that 2-layered metal roof, plus thermal mass, plus air movement would cost (but radiant floor heat is the most comfortable I have experienced.)

    Legal, Legit, Unassailable
    I need to get a COA (certificate of occupancy), to be able to legally inhabit the house, and in order to sell it when the time comes. It will need to meet (or exceed) local building codes, and undergo inspections during build stages. I wish this wasn't true, I wish we had more freedom (even the freedom to fail), but at this point, I am resigned to jump through those hoops. I would have exceeded code for electrical wiring anyway - for safety. Even though my heart soars when I see homes built of earth and of straw (hey, just like the little piggies story!), I need the house "built of brick" - to continue that analogy. (Actually, a concrete slab and frame construction.) I also love the look of "river rock" and wood together. I may even be part Hobbit!

    Two Turntables and a Microphone, er, I mean, Two Strong Hands and a Big Heart
    I have worked professionally as a cabinetmaker/architectural millworker, and as a rough carpenter. I have done plumbing (I have put in a dozen solar hot water systems, a sprinkler system including sand-bored well done by myself), and many plumbing repairs. I have installed at least 100 electrical outlets and many light switches, lights, fans. I have done some ductwork and have done furnace repairs. I have done roofing (asphalt shingle), concrete forming, have installed plenty of sheetrock and taped and sanded and painted, have installed carpeting, linoleum tiles, ceramic tiles... In short, I have never built an entire house, but I know I can do it. I do have some friends who can help me when I need help.

    Lay of the Land
    I have a (free) ad out locally, looking for a small piece of land that is relatively close to my daughter's high school (3 years to go, and there are a LOT of trips back and forth to and from the high school.) As gripreaper said, I am looking for a south facing hill (if in a hilly area - much of it is hilly here), and may earth-berm part of the house to gain the insulating value of earth. Because of the expense of digging a basement (and, in this area, the VERY strong possibility of hitting bedrock before getting to basement depth), I figured a concrete slab (with vapor barrier beneath, and PEX tubing inside, for radiant heat) would be wise. I would look into a variety of ways to heat the water in the slab - remembering that in this long-winter climate and temps that can go to -20°F (~-30°C) every day for a month, you cannot have water-based solar hot water panels, and an anti-freeze-based system requires a heat exchanger (probably too expensive and not practical in winter here anyway.) I won't have the luxury of waiting until property is purchased and then designing something to harmonize in that space - I heed a sort-of universally harmonious floor plan and then to find a chunk of land to plop it on.

    Lost in Space
    Even though 90° corners are by far the easiest to do, my eye, my aesthetics, prefer: round, rounded, arcs, and organic lines. I have to be careful not to go too crazy with this though, as it could GREATLY lengthen the amount of time to build, as well as reducing the market for the average, GMO munching, TV watching, literally in-the-box thinking humans that might be interested in buying it when it is time for me to move on. Yes, this would not be my last move. I love this area and will always love it, but once my daughter graduates high school, I will head for a warmer climate with a longer growing season. (Or, If Guy McPherson is correct, no matter where you are it will get a lot warmer.) If I was planning to live here longer, Grip's and Joe's idea of a central core structure that is built-out as time goes on is a good one - but in this case, whatever size I build will probably be the final size (though if I cannot afford to immediately build an attached greenhouse, that would be something I would do as finances permit.)

    I need some air!

    A "one room" solution may be perfect for a single person or a couple, but not for a father and daughter living under the same roof. She needs her space. Hell, I need my space. That means walls, and doors. A well thought-out radiant floor heat system solves the heat issue but not ventilation. And so, the house will need to have well thought-out air circulation (heat recovery ventilation would be best, if I can afford it.)

    Dennis


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  31. Link to Post #18
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    Default Re: Looking for creative, aesthetic, small home plan that is high efficiency

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSIba-eKAbE one of my favourite episodes of Grand designs.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-K_O7JZzzc The Cruck frame house.
    Last edited by sheme; 11th October 2014 at 22:25.

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    Avalon Retired Member
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    Default Re: Looking for creative, aesthetic, small home plan that is high efficiency

    Got ideas, but need time for them to ferment.


    ---
    In the meantime:
    An experimental house from Kengo Kuma
    http://www.dezeen.com/2013/01/16/mem...nd-associates/

    This translucent cabin by architects Kengo Kuma and Associates is an experimental house in Hokkaidō, Japan, designed to test the limits of architecture in cold climates.



    The Experimental House was constructed around a coated larch frame and it has a thick layer of polyester insulation sandwiched between the polycarbonate cladding of the exterior and the glass-fibre fabric of the interior.



    The fundamental idea of Chise, "house of the earth," is to keep warming up the ground this way and retrieve the radiation heat generated from it.




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    Avalon Member Delight's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for creative, aesthetic, small home plan that is high efficiency

    I did not see hempcrete mentioned. Is hemp legal yet in Minnesota? I didn't read through all this Minnesota Industrial Hemp Legislation


    Quote Rolf B. Priesnitz, Hemphasis.net & Wikipedia

    Houses built from hemp have been found to use less energy, create less waste and take less fuel to heat than conventionally constructed homes.

    Hemp is perhaps best known for its Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids that make it a great addition to a healthy diet, and as a cotton substitute in ecologically-sound clothing and bedding. But it is also a versatile, environmentally-sound building material.

    A hemp crop can be grown without the use of herbicides or insecticides and produces up to four tonnes of material per acre per year. Hemp is categorized as a bast fiber crop. It has a stem consisting of an outer skin containing long, strong fibers and a hollow wood-like core or pith. Processing the stems results in two materials: hurds and fibers, both of which have properties that make them extremely useful in building construction.

    A variety of wood-like products, such as fiberboard, roofing tiles, wallboard, paneling, insulation and bricks, can be made from the compressed hurds. The fibers can also be used like straw in bale wall construction or with mud in a sort of modified cob style of building.

    Foundations can be made out of hemp hurds. A hemp plywood frame is filled with a hemp hurds combined with lime, sand, plaster, some cement and enough water to dampen, and then let to set for a day and to harden for a week. A sixth century hemp-reinforced bridge in France is testimony to the stone-like strength and durability of this material, which has come to be known as “hempcrete”.

    Hemp building boosters claim that hempcrete foundation walls are up to seven times stronger than those made of concrete, half as light and three times as elastic. This superior strength and flexibility means that hemp foundations are resistant to stress-induced cracking and breaking, even in earthquake-prone areas. The building material also is self-insulating; resistant to rotting, rodents and insects; and fire proof, waterproof and weather resistant.

    Irish builder Henry O’D Thompson of The OldBuilders Company is a fan of using hemp and lime on old stone walls for insulation, condensation, sound muting and breathability. A restoration and conservation specialist who once lived in Canada, he says that lining walls with the hemp/lime mixture makes for a healthy house that doesn’t grow toxic mold.

    Pipes can be made out of hempcrete and they, too have greater flexibility and greater elasticity than other those made from conventional materials, and they are resistant to cracking. Stones can also be made out of hemp by wetting the stalk’s cellulose, and forming it into a hard black rock, which can be cut, drilled, cast, carved or formed into any shape.

    When hemp hurds are mixed with a combination of lime products, they can produce a light weight insulating plaster, which can be cast around a timber frame or sprayed against a wooden or even stone form. Interior walls can be left exposed or finished with a natural paint. In France, the use of hemp plaster is common, partly because of its high insulation properties but also because it works in old stone buildings.

    Steve Allin, a pioneer in the use of hemp as a building material in Ireland and author of the new book Building With Hemp, mixes his own hemp products, which he calls Hemphab, and describes hemp plaster for interior use as having the texture of “sticky muesli”. That, he says, makes it attractive for self-builders who may not have the necessary skills to use the more commonplace plaster. It can also be molded into shapes, textures and finishes.

    He cites a social housing project in Suffolk, England as providing a good example of the superiority of hemp as a building material. Suffolk Housing Society built the first two hemp houses in England, as part of an 18-unit social housing development, then studied their performance compared to the regularly constructed buildings. A report was issued in 2002 by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) in regards to the sustainability, economic and environmental differences between the two construction methods. The report’s principal conclusions are that while the hemp homes have far less impact on the environment – they use less energy to build, create less waste and take less fuel to heat – they cost about 10 percent more to build than brick and block houses.

    In North America, there are a few hemp houses. In the U.S., the Lakota on the Pine Ridge reservation have constructed a community-based hemp house that was built as a model for sustainable economic redevelopment. The house used hemp and adobe bricks, hemp insulation, and experimented with hemp fiber reinforced cement board.

    Another hemp demonstration house, which was much more ambitious in nature, is the rural Ontario, Canada home of Kelly Smith and Greg Herriott, the founders of Hempola, a manufacturer of hemp food and body care products (pictured above). The walls of their spectacular 4,500-square-foot octagonal home north of Toronto are filled with hemp bales in a technique similar to straw bale construction. The floor and ceiling beams of mostly reclaimed wood are stained with hemp oil and the roof is shingled with hemp composite.

    With over 120 different projects in the last nine years having used the material in Ireland and over 250 in 16 years in France, this revolutionary but simple material has now come of age. And thus the number of commercially available hemp building products is also increasing. Washington State University has produced hemp fiberboard, which is lighter, twice as strong, and three times as elastic as wood fiberboard, plus it has sound proofing and pressure isolative characteristics absent from wood fiberboard. The process involves chipping the hemp stalk, bonding it together with resins and glues, and clamping it down into molds under high pressure until it hardens.

    A company in Chatham, Ontario called Wellington Polymer Technology Inc. is trying to keep up with demand for its maintenance-free Enviroshake brand roofing product, which resembles cedar shakes. Enviroshake is made from hemp, in combination with recycled materials such as post-industrial plastics and crumb rubber from tires.

    Hemp is the main ingredient in a French product called Isochanvre. The manufacturer has developed a method of crystallizing the hemp sap and the resulting product has found its way into numerous building products and materials. Isochanvre is mixed with hydraulic lime and water to bind it together, then packed into timber formwork and left to solidify like concrete.

    A number of companies are using hemp in insulation products, due to its high thermal resistance, ability to absorb and release moisture, and lack of mold growth, dust and other pollutants. Thermo-Hemp, from Ecological Building Systems in Ireland, is available in both mats and rolls.

    England’s Natural Building Technologies, which is a leader in developing sustainable building materials, has a competing product called Isonat, a high-insulation material made from hemp and recycled cotton fibers treated with inorganic salts to provide fire and pest resistance.

    Hemp-based paints have even been created and have proved their superior coating and durability characteristics, although the cost of the oil will prevent any mass marketing of them until political climates allows widespread cultivation of hemp One hemp enthusiast has estimated that there are 13 broad categories and upwards of 25,000 specific applications for industrial hemp. Having been used for centuries around the world, it’s certainly poised for a come-back in modern housing construction.

    Hemphasis.net

    Hemp can be made into any building material, including fiberboard, roofing, flooring, wallboard, caulking, cement, paint, paneling, particleboard, plaster, plywood, reinforced concrete, insulation, insulation panels, spray-on insulation, concrete pipes, bricks, and biodegradable plastic composites which are tougher than steel.

    Foundations can be made out of hemp hurds, a processed based on ancient technology adapted for modern use. To do this, set up a plywood frame (preferably hemp plywood), then fill with a mixture of hemp hurd (wood chip-like substance) and combine with lime, sand, plaster, some cement, and enough water to dampen, and let the mixture set for a day. Then take the frame down, but let the mixture continue to harden for about a week. The lime and the hurds create a chemical reaction which binds the mixture together. Amazingly these structures continue to get harder and stronger everyday until they fossilize, as is testament by a 6th century hemp-reinforced bridge in France. After this happens, the hemp foundation walls are as strong as stone.

    Hemp foundation walls are 7 times stronger than concrete foundations, half as light, and three times as elastic, which means that these building will bend, but not break. Because of their superior strength and flexibility, hemp foundations are resistant to stress-induced cracking and breaking. Even earthquakes and other natural disaster cannot break or crack these structures.

    Hemp foundation homes and buildings are self-insulated, including thermal and sound insulation, resistant to rotting, rodents, insects, and they are fire proof, waterproof, weather resistant, and the walls breath so the rooms do not get stuffy. Hemp homes stay warm in the winter, and cool in the summer.

    If hemp were legal in the United States, it would be the cheapest source of raw material for concrete-like foundations. Plus hemp hurds can be processed in existing wood mills without major changes to the equipment. Hemp-foundation homes are ecologically appropriate because they are inexpensive, and can be prepared on site using only a cement mixer, and the material would be cheap and abundant.

    Foundation floors can be made in much the same way as the foundation. Hemp resists seepage, and so hemp cement is applicable for pouring onto a soil base to make a foundation floor. The floor insulation hardens into a solid mass which will not shift under pressure.

    A German company produces a product called Mehabit, a hemp hurd substance covered with coal-based bitumen, which is sticky, and when leveled out on a hemp cement floor, will dry to form a thermally and phonetically insulated floor.

    Washington State University has produced hemp fiberboard is lighter, twice as strong, and three times as elastic as wood fiberboard, plus it has sound proofing and pressure isolative characteristics absent from wood fiberboard. These composites are also resistant to pests, moisture, and funguses.

    The process involves chipping the hemp stalk, bonding it together with resins and glues, and clamping it down into molds under high pressure until it hardens.

    Concrete pipes can be made out of hemp fiber which cost 1/3 that of polypropylene. These pipes have greater flexibility, greater elasticity, and are resistant to cracking.

    Stones can also be made out of hemp by wetting the stalk's cellulose, and forming it into a hard black rock, which can be cut, drilled, cast, carved, or formed into any shape.

    Hemp building material could allow us to replace the need for wood, bricks, and fiberglass insulation.

    Germany and France are using hemp for construction material, replacing drywall and plywood. A French company has built over 250 homes using hemp materials. Hemp homes have also been built on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Using hemp is economically smart and ecologically appropriate, plus the homes built with hemp are as hard as stone and are not subject to natural disaster. Wow, sounds kind of like a miracle, doesn't it? What are we waiting for?
    - See more at: http://www.hemp.org/news/hempcrete-h....IMjsdlcV.dpuf




    Edit



    eco-fabulous home called the Nauhaus (now house), which was designed as a model for urban sustainability. It features passive solar energy a living roof, and hemp-crete walls which make is cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and keeps the space extra quiet.....in one of America's first-ever hemp house!!more pictures

    Benefits of Hempcrete

    High thermal insulation
    50% - 70% energy savings
    Fire resistant
    Termite resistant
    Breathable walls
    Design flexibility
    Prevents mould
    CO2 sequestration
    Negative carbon footprint
    Healthy living environment
    Inherently Airtight
    High acoustic performance
    No waste
    No Dry Rot
    Natural Substrates for Plasters and Renders
    Low Air Infiltration
    ZERO LAND FILL
    Hemp Technologies/

    Building with Hempcrete
    Last edited by Delight; 12th October 2014 at 19:10.

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