Would Styrofoam Housing Work?

August 25 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: The Home   Year: General   Rating: 6 Hot

I recently came upon an interesting article about a village in Japan being built entirely out of Styrofoam. The walls of these buildings are pretty thick, but it only takes three people a few hours to assemble and a layer of mortar and paint ensure protection from the elements. Here’s a short clip of the actual assembly…

Having grown up in a Bucky Fuller dome structure, I immediately took a liking to this shape. Not only is the dome incredibly strong, but it also uses less material than the average home. But having also been raised by hippies, any mention of the word Styrofoam sends chills down my spine. I agree, it’s a great material for a dome structure in that it’s highly insulated against cold and hot temperatures and, like in the video, very easy to build. But there are myriad problems with such a building material.

For instance, the disposal of the houses would be an environmental catastrophe. Also, imagine the toll that 20 years of sun and rain would exert on such a light and highly corrosive structure. There’s a reason water is called the Universal Solvent – it can eat through just about anything given enough time. The idea of an entire village, much less a country, having all its Styrofoam houses replaced is staggering (maybe ship them to war-torn countries to be made into napalm?).

Continue Reading

Technology as a better building block for the future

September 21 2008 / by TonyManfredi / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: The Home   Year: General   Rating: 6 Hot

By replacing valuable natural resources and costly labor with technology we can change the very equation around which the inputs and outputs of our built environments are constructed. The justification: we need more for less.

Our environments are poised to become hosts to ever more powerful technologies in the coming years that will seek to cause deep rooted and meaningful change in our everyday quality of life. These technologies will be increasingly pervasive, as they become commonplace in our schools, our offices, and more importantly our homes. Our homes, arguably the most important and widely used of all life’s platforms, are already on the brink of dramatic change. Environmental degradation, a crisis of sustainability in home-ownership, the need for enhanced learning and education, millions of people aging in place, and ever increasing demands on our time are the driving forces that have resulted in these social imperatives:

1. Reduce resource consumption
2. Integrate learning into everyday activity in the home
3. Allow people to live long and healthy lives in their homes
4. Save time and improve decision making through better access to information.

With this understanding major companies and universities are striving to foster a massive convergence of off the shelf and cutting edge technologies with homes of the future.

Continue Reading