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February 15, 2011

Research & Insights

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Some possible materials to use for the structure of our houses are sugar cane and rice hull. In Haiti there is a local rum distillery, and rice farms that could donate or provide these materials at affordable rates.

This design concept gives the occupants an opportunity to modify their house with add-ons. To bring natural lighting into the house and maintain a secure building, we found a window with a unique design. The window is from the tumbleweed tiny house design which props open by itself for cooling in the house, and opens from the inside. http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/houses/

Another addition to help secure the house is the lockable box feature. This concept is from a tent design called myhab, this feature allows personal belongings to be stored securely within the house. http://www.myhab.com/

Inside the house we can provide furniture made from byproducts. It is made out of cheap materials, that fold for easy for shipping. These structures are also very easy to assemble and disassemble. http://inhabitat.com/byproducts-transforms-waste-wood-offcuts-into-flat-pack-furniture/

Pallets are a cheap ad available resource that could be used for elevating the homes to prevent from flooding.

Energy sources
The energy for the community has to provide for group cooking devices, community lighting and individual charging packs. One option is the 1.2 kW Hybrid system. http://www.bergey.com/pages/12_kw_hybrid_system It produces an average of 80-200 kilowatt-hours per month. It is ideal for a community since there is no need for back up engine generators. The hybrid system provides year round renewable energy. This would also work for a system of charging packs, as the batteries can be charged and replaced. These would be an investment of roughly $9,000 a piece but provide self-reliant energy.

Charging centers
With the use of solar panels or the hybrid system you can make these areas charging centers that distribute power and lighting to a large area. This provides security, comfort, and visibility during emergency situations and evening hours.These energy hubs would allow people to either charge their devices at the energy source or replace battery packs to take back to their individual homes.

We want to build a community that provides water, food, education, energy, and medical aid. If our community contains 210 people, we feel it should be broken into six smaller sub-communities containing five houses each.

Charging Lockers
Charging lockers allows people to leave and replace their batteries without the concern of their devices being stolen. http://solarnexus.wordpress.com/2010/02/25/battery-charging-lockers-for-haiti/  If each house came with a battery pack system chances are they would take care of these and having a secure locker to both store and charge enables the continuation of this.

Solar ovens

The Solar oven is a similar concept to the sizzler in that it focuses heat into the center with reflective panels. http://www.sunoven.com/international/haiti.php  There are many of these ovens currently being donated to villages in Haiti.

Solar sizzlers

The solar cooker is made from aluminum triangular pieces that piece together to create a circular reflective mirror that centralizes the sun in the center. http://www.solarsizzler.com/index.html  This concentration of sun creates a heat source that rises below the pan cooking your food. It is easy to assemble and can be personalized to different widths for different sized pans. The Solar Sizzler is sold online for roughly $30 a unit however on their website there are a number of different diagrams and instructions on how to build your own. These would be ideal as an addition for a sub-community or individual houses.

Nano Scale lanterns are easy to convert from traditional lanterns.http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=sbUUoNmsx5g They provide necessary light for education and interaction within the houses. They can be sold or traded for profit once they understand how to construct and use them.

Water Centers
A solar water pasteurizer would be ideal to provide clean water to a community. http://www.safewatersystems.com/ Once installed it uses no electricity, pumps, chemicals, or water pressure. It is easy to install and operate, and does not require a technician. Since it relies on solar energy, there is a back up option for rainy days or nights. It disinfects water for less than $.00125 per liter which equals to $ 1.50 per person per year.

The compostable toilet is not only a great way to eliminate odor but is a sustainable way to treat waste. It uses no water and creates a use for organic waste like Bagasse, the fibrous matter that remains after sugarcane or sorghum stalks are crushed. The waste can than be composted to create a nutrient rich base to garden with.    

Food & commerce
more than a year after the earthquake, there is still much that needs to be rebuilt or repaired. Organizations such as International Development Association and Worldbank have helped provide over $10 million a month to rebuild government, communities, and schools. http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/LACEXT/HAITIEXTN/0,,menuPK:338184~pagePK:141159~piPK:141110~theSitePK:338165,00.html  By hiring the people in these communities to rebuild roads, and architecture it would greatly help the community to get back on their feet. this money should also be used to educate the people in farming, and other means of employment.
The idea of the playpump windmill in Africa is installed in a playground that serves as a merry-go-round and, uses the boundless energy of children to pump water out of the ground. It can pump up to 1,400 liters of water per hour at 16rpm from a depth of 40meters.



For inspiration we looked into the Hexayurt design which is public domain and has no copyright or patent. It is made from plywood for less than $100 for 166 square foot building. The benefits of this design include a solid sound barrier which could be enhanced depending on the material used for the 1" thick insulated wall. This design fits in the $300 price range, has low maintenance costs, and is easy to transport and set up. The spacious interior allows plenty of room for storage and bedding. This concept could easily be modified for varying sizes, and materials.
               "In bed we laugh, in bed we cry
                 And born in bed, in bed we die"   
                -Issac DeBenserade

Often luxury is not thought of when designing a relief house. A house becomes a home when one feels safe and comfortable. A bed is a simple luxury that we as designers can provide. We looked at the traditional western bed and concluded that there are to many flaws associated with them. The element of the western bed we like is the off ground aspect. Both cots and hammocks provide this off ground element but have a added level of mobility. When researching we looked at what is considered the all-around healthiest sleeping position. "Many doctors say it's lying on one's back, with the head slightly elevated, about 10 - 30 percent. This is postulated to give the brain optimal blood circulation rather than congestion and also allows for more un-obstructed breathing, says Dr. Steven Park, a head and neck surgeon and member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine."source  The hammock provides this and there are over 10 million people sleeping in one every night.
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1 Comment

good research guys! Keep it up :)