Free State Project Forum

New Hampshire -- The "Live Free or Die" State => Moving & Housing => Topic started by: RidleyReport on October 03, 2003, 07:48:35 pm

Title: Build an earthship?
Post by: RidleyReport on October 03, 2003, 07:48:35 pm
Earthships look like they might be an awesome option for Free Staters!

Basically they are "off-the-grid" houses built in an environmentally friendly way and can be very cheap!  Also they save you money by allowing you to build on cheap, remote land that lacks utilities.  Another advangate is they are tornado/hurricane/blast resistant, I believe.

Someone on this forum got us started talking about them last year, but I don't remember where the thread is.

You can learn more about earthships at:

http://www.earthship.org/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=36

For those who already are in the know about this...any insight as to whether this particular company does a good job or not?

What are the chances of finding or getting folks in NH who are good at building these....
Title: Re:Build an earthship?
Post by: rdeacon on October 03, 2003, 11:21:33 pm
I have been to the earthship site a few times, and I get very psyched to buy the plans each time I go there.  The design looks cool, its definitely something that I'd be interested in, though I think cost is an issue.  The idea is great.  If we get enough people willing to take part in building these it would take the entire labor cost off their per house estimate ($120/sq foot).

My only concern is that I'm not thrilled about the use of tires.  I've heard bad things about "toxic tires" in landfills.  The site says that its not a problem, and that the tires don't break down into toxic compounds when they're used in rammed earth construction, but I'm not entirely convinced.  I'd need to get some third party reassurance before I went ahead with it.
Title: Re:Build an earthship?
Post by: thegotoguy on October 04, 2003, 06:36:29 am
My only concern is that I'm not thrilled about the use of tires.  I've heard bad things about "toxic tires" in landfills.  The site says that its not a problem, and that the tires don't break down into toxic compounds when they're used in rammed earth construction, but I'm not entirely convinced.  I'd need to get some third party reassurance before I went ahead with it.

Very smart.  In God we trust, everyone else, we watch.
Title: Re:Build an earthship?
Post by: Summerlin on October 04, 2003, 12:18:46 pm
The prices are too high in my opinion.

I'd rather have a nice custom Log Cabin built for the same price.

http://www.loghomes.com/  'log home packages' links.
Title: Re:Build an earthship?
Post by: DustinD on October 04, 2003, 04:30:03 pm
www.aidomes.com (http://www.aidomes.com) for concrete geodesic homes, cheap to build, less than half of the heating/cooling costs of normal houses, and will stand up to anything.

www.monolithic.com (http://www.monolithic.com) for monolithic dome houses, a little more money, smoothed shape instead of geodesic, and I believe a bit stronger.

I am planning on a geodesic kit.
Title: Re:Build an earthship?
Post by: arouse on October 04, 2003, 06:54:41 pm
Yeah, I really like the domes as well. I've seen a few around here that are like the ones http://www.domesintl.com/homes/residential.html this place sells and they're nice looking structures. I'd love to have a dome like one of these, or a geodesic, as a home.
Title: Re:Build an earthship?
Post by: arouse on October 04, 2003, 07:23:14 pm
http://www.domes.to Geodesic dome company located in South Tamworth, NH
Title: Re:Build an earthship?
Post by: Reaper on October 04, 2003, 09:09:48 pm
Very cool stuff.

I think I will buy a more remote (if such a thing exists in NH) lot of a few acres and build one of these myself.

I'll just have to have a camper of some sort to stay in until it's far enough along to live in.
Title: Re:Build an earthship?
Post by: Penfist on October 04, 2003, 09:21:38 pm
Reaper,

The entire northern half of New Hampshire is "remote."
Title: Re:Build an earthship?
Post by: rdeacon on October 05, 2003, 10:37:43 am
The price is high to start with, but you save money on heating, water, electricity, etc.  Water is a collect on the roof and recycled, electricity is solar with battery backup, and heating is a combination of greenhouse effect, earth emanation, etc.  These factors add up to great savings in bills.

The prices are too high in my opinion.

I'd rather have a nice custom Log Cabin built for the same price.

http://www.loghomes.com/  'log home packages' links.
Title: Re:Build an earthship?
Post by: telomerase on October 05, 2003, 12:42:59 pm
I can vouch for the Monolithic Dome; their factory is near here and local schools and churches have them for tornado protection.

I know more about construction of things smaller than .22 micron across, but I've read that local building codes are a big barrier to mass-produced housing since the codes vary from place to place. Domes, underground houses etc. also tend to run afoul of codes. This is something a mayor or city council member can work on.

I'll check out the Earthship site. (Can always use some reinforced rammed-earth over the dome...)
Title: Re:Build an earthship?
Post by: Terry 1956 on October 06, 2003, 09:12:48 am
Very cool stuff.

I think I will buy a more remote (if such a thing exists in NH) lot of a few acres and build one of these myself.

I'll just have to have a camper of some sort to stay in until it's far enough along to live in.
                                                                           
 I don't know how it is in NH but around here a body can get a  mobile home built in the 70's and sometimes the 80s free if you will have it moved which can run 400 to 800 bucks. Usually these  mobile homes are the 12 feet by 60 feet or the 10 feet by 50 feet, in various shapes with just a little work to make them livable to a lot, the smaller ones  seem to be in the best shape most of the time. I bought a one bedroom 10 by 40 in 1988 for 1,400 dollars with moving  and set up included. I spent about 400 fixing it up and I lived in it until 2000. These mobile homes can make decent tempory  homes or even permanant, a lot of people around here add on and build around the trailer with variety of results, some are shoddy looking but some add ons with house type roofs added look like houses. I have even seen plans for a earthberm trailer.
Title: Re:Build an earthship?
Post by: mark on October 07, 2003, 04:58:29 am
I am very interested in alternative housing / environmental design as well as alternative financing options to reduce the barriers to ownership and equity building as well as to reduce the loss of capital from the local community.

One thing I can suggest is the C-housing concept (http://www.cohousing.org/) as a housing and community services model. For financing perhaps a community bank and credit trust could be created by porcupines?


Just off the top of my head:

1,000 porcupines invest $1000 each (or 2000 porcs at $500 each) to a $1,000,000 fund at a flat service fee of 20% to be collected as their "interest" (20% is actually very high for this type of deal but I would be willing to pay it).

20-40 units along with central community services buildings and private utilities could be built at an average $25,000-$50,000 per unit (these aren't permanent dream houses here people, just high efficiency apartments and such).

Equity-rent payments between $500-$1000 per household (20-40 units) would yield $20,000 per month and $240,000 per year which would pay off this loan in only 5 years with a return of $20000 and full home equity ownership for the first 20-40 households. Monthly payments could be returned to the investors or either reinvested in new construction ($20,000 a month). Ofcourse many potential households would have their own larger savings and current home equity to bring into building such a housing development.

Labor could also be invested. Assuming a typical hourly wage of $20, I, for example, could be willing to labor for a minimal per diem to cover living expenses (and perhaps one of the first apartments to be built?) or 25-50% ($7.50-$10) per hour to be paid with perhaps a 25% return (total $25 per hour) monthly on a longer time scale.

A major reason for all of this is to avoid the politics and destructive effects of aquiring and paying off compound interest FedRes loans. Let's cut out the middleman and opperate like a real community. Renting doesn't build equity and the downpayment barriers to ownership are too much for even many "capitalist pig" libertarians like myself.  :P
Title: Re:Build an earthship?
Post by: mark on October 07, 2003, 05:11:13 am
Btw, poured earth (http://www.michaelfrerking.com/pouredearth.htm) offers many competitive advantages to rammed earth and monolithic domes (which only creates the outer shell). The clay earth you escavate for a basement, underground or earth covered house can be recycled into the housing structure.
Title: Re:Build an earthship?
Post by: mark on October 07, 2003, 05:18:46 am
I know more about construction of things smaller than .22 micron across, but I've read that local building codes are a big barrier to mass-produced housing since the codes vary from place to place. Domes, underground houses etc. also tend to run afoul of codes. This is something a mayor or city council member can work on.


This is a way for alternative housing enthusiat porcupines to take the high road. It's amazing how statist can play to bleeding hearts with cries of environment disater and poverty to justify their control over other peoples lives but then put up roadblocks to private initiative that could solve such problems.  ::)
Title: Re:Build an earthship?
Post by: mark on October 07, 2003, 05:25:12 am
www.aidomes.com (http://www.aidomes.com) for concrete geodesic homes, cheap to build, less than half of the heating/cooling costs of normal houses, and will stand up to anything.

www.monolithic.com (http://www.monolithic.com) for monolithic dome houses, a little more money, smoothed shape instead of geodesic, and I believe a bit stronger.

I am planning on a geodesic kit.

I bet if local planners veto any building plans they'd just call them "ugly". But I think they look like the Skywalker ranch on Tatooine.  ;D Just vote those punks out of office by telling local voters who are part of the two Star Wars generations about them not allowing fellow Star Wars fans the chance to build their own Skywalker water harvesting ranch.  :P


edit:

ps Roger Dean (http://www.rogerdean.com/architecture/willowater.htm), who did the artwork for many rock album covers you might recognise, developed similiar sprayed concrete designs for alternative housing and even large-scale community designs.   :D
Title: Are tires toxic?
Post by: rodschmidt on October 07, 2003, 05:45:25 am
My only concern is that I'm not thrilled about the use of tires.  I've heard bad things about "toxic tires" in landfills.  The site says that its not a problem, and that the tires don't break down into toxic compounds when they're used in rammed earth construction, but I'm not entirely convinced.  I'd need to get some third party reassurance before I went ahead with it.

Tire Crafting FAQ
http://www.tirecrafting.com/04FAQ/04faq.htm

4. Are tires toxic?

  This question is asked often. We are not chemists, but from our extensive and on going research since 1983, which includes OSHA, EPA, USDA, “TOXICS A to Z”, Material Safety Data Sheets, and others, we are convinced that nothing leaches from a clean tire while in it’s solid form.

  If you would like a free copy of the research that brought us to this conclusion, just ask, and include a self addressed, stamped envelope.

  If you have any facts concerning tire toxicity, we and our readers would appreciate this information.


Re: Arrested for collecting tires for an Earthship!
http://csf.colorado.edu/forums/essa/nov97/0080.html
In Wisconsin, your are required to file a 4 page permit request to the DNR for the aquiring of tires.
Title: Re: Are tires toxic?
Post by: rodschmidt on October 07, 2003, 06:13:41 am
http://montana.sierraclub.org/news_tires2.html

Tires are composed of styrene and butadiene, which are both being classified as human carcinogens; extender oils, which contain carcinogenic benzene derivatives; up to seventeen different metals, many of which are toxic; and carbon black, a fine particulate matter produced by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. Tires are not considered a hazardous substance—until they are burned.


http://flux.aps.org/meetings/BAPSGEC96/abs/S280001.html
Evaluation of Ash Toxicity Generated From the Thermal Plasma Pyrolysis of Used Automobile Tires


http://www.sisweb.com/referenc/applnote/app-37a.htm
Volatile Organic Emissions From Automobile Tires


http://www.mde.state.md.us/Programs/LandPrograms/Recycling/Education/auto.asp
About Tires

Nearly 200 million used passenger tires are generated each year.

Tires are recycled into products like hoses and doormats. Others are burned as fuel or retreaded and sold again.

Approximately 400 million gallons of oil are saved each year due to the retreading of tires.

Properly inflated tires extend wear and increase the ability of a tire to be retreaded.

Under-inflated tires can waste up to 5% of a car's fuel.


http://www.dot.state.mn.us/environment/research/shredded_tires_paper.html
Chemical analyses performed on the chipped tires and wood chips leachates and the control water.


http://www.enn.com/news/enn-stories/2002/01/01072002/tire_914.asp
Beneficial role found for used tires


http://www.organictree.com/Toxic%20Zone.htm
Tires are a toxic waste when they are burned. Tires are made out of materials that are considered toxic when they are in liquid form.  These are released when they are burned.  


http://216.239.57.104/search?q=cache:rtaR4WcmOgoJ:www.ilgard.ohiou.edu/em/environmental_ed/greensweep/FactSheets/ScrapTires.pdf+tires+toxic+&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 (http://216.239.57.104/search?q=cache:rtaR4WcmOgoJ:www.ilgard.ohiou.edu/em/environmental_ed/greensweep/FactSheets/ScrapTires.pdf+tires+toxic+&hl=en&ie=UTF-8)
There are many examples of practical, effective uses for discarded tires, including:
• filler in new tires
• molded goods and manufactured parts, ranging from doormats to jewelry
• automotive applications
• artificial fish habitats and erosion control in national forests
• landfill cover, composting medium, drainage systems and absorbent

One of the fastest growing markets for recycled tire rubber is playground cover. Playgrounds can be a source of great happiness and joy for children, as well as a source of injury. According to the Mayo Clinic, about 70 percent of playground injuries are a result of falls. While various materials provide shock protection, some of the most protective surfaces are being provided by scrap tire derived materials. The two types of rubber playground surfacing materials on the market today are loose fills and solid mats. Loose fill consists of washed chips of rubber that are free of asbestos, fiberglass, and all non-rubber materials. Mats can be either pour in place matting or conventional matting that is one large piece or smaller pieces that lock together. Some advantages of tire derived playground cover are:
• non-flammable
• clean and non-toxic
• does not produce toxic leachate
• resilient
• does not attract or maintain moisture
• economical, lasts for years
• reduces dust and mud around playing area
• does not attract cats, dogs, rodents or insects
• will not rot or decay
• not susceptible to reduced performance due to rainy weather or freezing temperatures
Title: Re:Build an earthship?
Post by: Reaper on October 07, 2003, 09:32:32 am
Are building codes in NH set by state, county, town or all of them?

Need to make sure I'll be able to build my dome before I buy.   ;D
Title: Re:Build an earthship?
Post by: Zack Bass on October 07, 2003, 09:48:10 am


Are building codes in NH set by state, county, town or all of them?
Need to make sure I'll be able to build my dome before I buy.   ;D


You're outa luck.  Just last year (or this year) they passed a STATEWIDE BUILDING CODE that every single new building in the entire State must abide by.  No County or Town or City can possible opt out of it.  The Statute states clearly that any County Building Code must be at least as harsh and restrictive as the State Building Code.

The good news is, Dalton has no Zoning, so we can build a patchwork of tenements, shops, factories, and houses - although they will have to conform to the Building Code.  It's already Incorporated, so the County can't suddenly impose Zoning.

Title: Re:Build an earthship?
Post by: Zack Bass on October 07, 2003, 09:51:30 am

I don't know what kind of fancy formatting one of you is doing on this thread to make the page extra-wide (thus creating horizontal scroll bars on my browser), but cut it out.

Yes, I do know.  It's that long URL.  You can put in a short description between  the open tag and the close tag; don't repeat the entire URL there!  That's the purpose, so long URLs will show as manageable strings.

Title: Re:Build an earthship?
Post by: Reaper on October 07, 2003, 10:23:31 am


Are building codes in NH set by state, county, town or all of them?
Need to make sure I'll be able to build my dome before I buy.   ;D


You're outa luck.  Just last year (or this year) they passed a STATEWIDE BUILDING CODE that every single new building in the entire State must abide by.  No County or Town or City can possible opt out of it.  The Statute states clearly that any County Building Code must be at least as harsh and restrictive as the State Building Code.

The good news is, Dalton has no Zoning, so we can build a patchwork of tenements, shops, factories, and houses - although they will have to conform to the Building Code.  It's already Incorporated, so the County can't suddenly impose Zoning.



Thanks Zack.

I'll go look up the code at the NH Statutes site and see if it would prevent any of these alternative houses.

Unless someone here knows already.  Let me know if you do.
Title: Re:Build an earthship?
Post by: Zack Bass on October 07, 2003, 12:11:07 pm


I'll go look up the code at the NH Statutes site and see if it would prevent any of these alternative houses.


I'm not saying that the Building Code Rules are in the Statutes; they merely enable some guys to make up and enforce Codes.
In Florida, for example a lot of what the State says you must obey is in the "Florida Administrative Code".  You don't have a copy.

Often Building Codes on Florida are in COPYRIGHTED books, and you have to buy the book to find out what Rules you must follow.  Sweetheart deal for the Publisher, obviously.
Once upon a time in Florida there was some minor Government functionary, or maybe he was a private contractor, I forget, but I know he was making the text of the Building Code available free to the Public.  He had paid for one copy, or his Department had bought a copy, and he was, I think, serving it up on a Web site or something.  He got into a LOT of trouble, threatened with CopyRight Violation etc.  Pure corruption.

There is a similar scam in Legal Journals.  Most Courts require that all citations be made in a certain format; that format is copyrighted by, I believe, a company called WestLaw.  There are books that contain the exact same citations, but in another format, and they are a LOT cheaper.
Once upon a time there was a legislator who tried to pass a bill stating that legal cites could be done by "Chapter-and-Verse", just like in the Bible, so everyone could bypass WestLaw and use cheap books.  He, as you can tell, got nowhere.  The WestLaw Lobby is purest Evil
Please note that WestLaw doesn't own the copyright to the Court decisions themselves, only the Format.  And they're making an undeserved bundle on it.

I say, if a government requires that you follow a Rule, it must make that Rule available to you without charge.  How much does a Web site cost anyhow?

Title: Re:Build an earthship?
Post by: tlekas on October 07, 2003, 02:33:06 pm
There is a law about this.  See - http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/xii/155-a/155-a-2.htm  Note that the code can only be enforced localy, not by the state except for state buildings.

I was not aware of this one.  I did not notice it when it was passed.  One thing to note when I or anyone else posts particular laws, there are often more than one law that effects an activity.  There is also the question of case law.  Part lawyers job is to be aware of all law that might effect their area of specialization.  They should also know about any case law and the actual legal and political realities.

The first step might be to contact a real estate agent who is familiar with the area.  They might be able to let you know if there will be a problem.  However if no one has tried to do something similiar they may not know.

If you are actually going to spend the money to buy land and build an unusual home I suggest contacting a lawyer in NH who could answer these questions.  If a group is planning to do something similiar you might be able to split the cost.
Title: Re:Build an earthship?
Post by: rdeacon on October 07, 2003, 02:49:50 pm
Yeah, somebody needs to justify their margins or something like that.
Title: Re:Build an earthship?
Post by: Zack Bass on October 07, 2003, 05:17:40 pm


Yeah, somebody needs to justify their margins or something like that.


What does that mean?  You mean like SetBacks?  Or Profits?  Remember, we don't have to worry about Zoning at all!

Once we Liberate Dalton and change its name to West Berlin, we can stop all Enforcement of this crapp.  The problem is getting in the door.  If you can wait a while to start building, I (as the new Building Inspector) can guarantee that you can build any damn thing you want there, I don't care if it crashes to the ground the next day, that's on you, it's your PRIVATE PROPERTY THAT YOU OWN.

Title: Re:Build an earthship?
Post by: rdeacon on October 07, 2003, 06:15:45 pm
Umm...I was just talking about people's posts stretching off the side of the screen.

 ;D



Yeah, somebody needs to justify their margins or something like that.


What does that mean?  You mean like SetBacks?  Or Profits?  Remember, we don't have to worry about Zoning at all!

Once we Liberate Dalton and change its name to West Berlin, we can stop all Enforcement of this crapp.  The problem is getting in the door.  If you can wait a while to start building, I (as the new Building Inspector) can guarantee that you can build any damn thing you want there, I don't care if it crashes to the ground the next day, that's on you, it's your PRIVATE PROPERTY THAT YOU OWN.


Title: Re:Build an earthship?
Post by: adonis79 on February 25, 2004, 09:18:48 pm
  I loved living in these : ) they are cheap and very versatile http://www.yurts.com
Title: Re:Build an earthship?
Post by: Tracy Saboe on March 03, 2004, 02:34:58 pm

You're outa luck.  Just last year (or this year) they passed a STATEWIDE BUILDING CODE that every single new building in the entire State must abide by.  No County or Town or City can possible opt out of it.  The Statute states clearly that any County Building Code must be at least as harsh and restrictive as the State Building Code.

Abolishing this should be a top priority. Along with abolishing the State Property tax education mandates.

Tracy
Title: Re:Build an earthship?
Post by: Pat McCotter on March 12, 2004, 04:55:17 pm

You're outa luck.  Just last year (or this year) they passed a STATEWIDE BUILDING CODE that every single new building in the entire State must abide by.


http://www.nh.gov/safety/bldgcode/bldganswers.html (http://www.nh.gov/safety/bldgcode/bldganswers.html)
Q. DOES THE CODE COVER THE ENTIRE STATE?
  A. The State Building Code applies to all buildings in New Hampshire, excluding one- and 2-family dwellings.
Title: Re:Build an earthship?
Post by: NHHomes on March 24, 2004, 12:33:00 pm
I am getting ready to create a resource guide for Eco-Conscious Living and Homesteading for New Hampshire and Vermont.  Please let me know if you have recommendations for suppliers, vendors, products, services, etc. that I should check out and include.  Also, if you have ideas for categories of things you'd be interested in learning more about, please also let me know and I will investigate it.  If you are interested in a guide once the project is finished, email me and I'll happily send one along.

- Gretchen from Hanover, NH