11 June 2010

Our container house

For a few years now, Sunshine and I have been researching shipping container houses as an alternative means to affordable housing. The key to a container based house is the portability. Our 60m2 free standing design retains that portability, with all external elements such as roofing, doors and walls, fitting inside a container ready for transport, quick setup and quick break down.

The reason we want a portable house is so we can move it temporarily onto rented land, save up for our own land, and relocate it to settle and extend. Our plan is a two stage approach to home and land ownership, attempting to keep our weekly payments as low as possible while we go.

If you have a small section of land you could rent us, we can offer you between $50-100 rent per week. We'd then secure a loan of $40 000 for the prefabrication, additions and delivery of our container house. The weekly repayments on such a loan would be $250 over 5 years. The land rent and house repayments together would total $350 per week. We think we could save between $100-200 per week, or $5-10,000 per year, $15-30,000 over 3. That's a deposit for our own land, and once we had our own land, we'd move off yours, leaving behind a little fruit orchard, a herb garden, and a small rammed earth pad, where we once stayed.

Costing breakdown - new, recycled and 2nd hand materials:
  1. 2 modified 20foot high cube containers delivered: $10000
  2. Roof and trusses: $7000
  3. Insulation and linings: $3000
  4. 4x (1.2x3m) sliding, timber framed, double glase walls: $5000
  5. 1x (4.8x3m) back wall with window and door: $3000
  6. 6x5m rammed earth floor: $3000
  7. Kitchen: $2000
  8. Waterless toilet: $2000
  9. Shower: $1000
  10. Plumbing, storage, pump, outlets: $3000
  11. Power generator, storage, cable, points, lights: $5000
  12. Rocket fire, thermal mass heater: $500
  13. 2x doors: $1200
$45900 for stage one

If you think you can offer us a small section of land, let's talk.

06 June 2010

The local paper heats my water

The Canberra Times ran a story on our compost hot water system today, after a local radio station rang up for a quick live interview a few days ago.

Patrick Blampied is doing a great job with the media and PR for the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia, and sent out a press release about me after we met through Youtube. I'm more than happy to help build their profile in Canberra, although between the journalist, Pat's press release, and me seeing the story in print, some minor corrections and clarifications are needed:

  • I don't start each day with a warm feeling about environmental sustainability. I get that feeling working towards conviviality.
  • The correct order for being inspired to try this started with a Youtube video by Permascience, leading to information about Jean Pain, eventually seeing a video by Patrick that the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia were using the method too.
  • My pile (version 3 that is) is made of horse manure, straw and woodchip, not paper. Paper is a good suggestion - but slightly harder to come by around here.
  • I don't think or imply this system is for everyone, and I don't think it would reasonably replace existing systems.. not before a bit more research and development was done. I have concerns about the HDPE pipe possibly putting a chemical into the water for a start, and I think the biomass needs to be semi sealed to keep flies away. Patrick and I reckon something like a wheelie bin would probably be good, hooked up to a storage tank, with a replacement bin at the ready each week or so. Either that, or use the V3 system for room heating instead of shower water.
Apart from those minor points, it was great to get some interest from the local paper, and I hope it helps lead me to good local connections for progressing this and other projects. Thanks Patrick.