Special report from Edge of Seven:
Our work with Earthbag building in Nepal now covers the expanse of nine years. We have completed four dormitory buildings for girls getting an education in the Solukhumbu region of Nepal for both their college and university education. We’ve also built 6 classrooms using the method and all buildings have been successful in a variety of ways.
One, the earthquake resilience was sufficient to withstand the twin earthquakes of 2015 where not only were the buildings still standing after the quakes of April and May, but they were not damaged as many of their standard construction buildings were. Our tour of the area and the community’s sites after the earthquake showed significant damage to other buildings while the earthbag buildings were essentially untouched. Perhaps even more importantly the community leaders relayed to us that these buildings were critical as places where people took shelter after their own homes were destroyed. They told us, “these were the only buildings where we truly felt safe after the earthquake.” And in rural Nepal, many days walk back to a road, much less a town of any type, the feeling of safety and knowledge that there was somewhere safe to go, is the highest order of recommendation and accolade that we could receive.
If you’re a young family who want to move into a tiny house, this could be the perfect design for you! Built with the modern family in mind, this home is constructed to be completely non-toxic, using natural materials and has been designed to include a separate room for the kids as well as a private home office space.
Bryce’s videos just keep getting better and better. This is one of the first tiny house videos I’ve seen that carefully addresses the various issues of natural building – low toxicity, good air quality, insulation, etc. Good job. I encourage the builder Ben Garratt of Tiny Healthy Homes to write a book.
“This family is hitting the road and doing it in style! They have converted a simple school bus into an unbelievably comfortable home. The entire bus is designed to be off-the-gird giving them perfect freedom to roam wherever they choose.”
The interior is very nice. Like Bryce says, it doesn’t even look or feel like you’re in a bus. They pretty much did a total rebuild — raised the roof 20”, reduced the number of windows, fantastic kitchen, etc. This video has already had nearly 3 million views in just a few months, so obviously there are lots of people interested in school bus conversions.
Here’s another advantage to tiny house living: due to the low cost of tiny houses you can pay off the home fairly quickly and be mortgage free in your retirement years. I found two interesting videos on this topic so I’ve combined them into one blog post.
“Single Mother Builds Tiny House to Create Retirement Plan:
Michelle ” MJ” Boyle is a mother of two and as her kids were coming of age she realized she had no plan for retirement. Michelle built a tiny house so that she can have an affordable place to live.”
Luxury Tiny House – No Mortgage Retirement:
Super beautiful interior design. “Ray, a 57-year-old engineer, spent two years building a Tiny House with innovative slide-outs so that he can retire without a mortgage and age comfortably in the space.”
This design would be expensive and difficult to build. I’m showing it mostly because of the interior design. It looks like a custom home in many ways. Some may consider it overly extravagant, but it’s 100 times more efficient than the typical suburban home. This type of design may very well convert thousands of people to ditch their big homes and downsize.
“Beautiful to behold, this spectacular tiny house cafe is a remarkable specimen of skilled labour and artistic vision.
Chantal and Mike are a truly dynamic duo, one with a dream of starting a boutique coffee shop and the other with a zeal for eco-tiny house building. When these unique passions were combined to create Le Bon cafe, a wonderful and rare work of functional art was the result.”
Sacred Earth Trust (SET) is an NGO based in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India working on sustainable development in Sacred sites, headed by Lillian Sum. The main focus has been on developing environmental education through practical eco solutions.
12 inch wide earthbag walls filled with local sandy soil are braced with rebar
SET has been building an Eco training and plastic up-cycling centre, that introduced hybrid design concepts to demonstrate low cost effective technologies which are also earthquake resilient, insulated and easily accessible for local adaptation.
The Earthbag concept was introduced and modified to suit the local needs. To address issues regarding availability of space the ‘Thin-bag’ was adopted for local use to construct the office and machine rooms on site. Instead of using the original earthbag of 18” inch width, the method was adapted and resulted in 12 inch width wall. This not only contributed towards the reduction of the total cost by using less earth, manual labour and materials resources, cement, rebar, chicken wire netting and plaster work, it resulted in the reduction of embodied energy of the overall carbon footprint of the construction process, whilst still providing the earthquake resilient and insulation properties required. SET has been working in partnership with UNDP, MEFC, CEE, GEF on the eco and plastic up-cycling centre infrastructure development.