Geoship is promoting its bioceramic geodesic dome as the future home of the future—and it is receiving assistance in its rollout from Zappos, which plans to construct some near its headquarters for the benefit of the unemployed.
In a world where wildfires and hurricanes are becoming more frequent, it would be wise to plan for future housing in order to prepare for the climate disasters that will inevitably occur. As a result, these new structures are not constructed of wood or any other traditional building materials. Instead, they are made of bioceramic, which can withstand disasters and may even result in a significant reduction in construction costs.
Which is using the material to construct new dwellings in the shape of a geodesic dome, with plans to build both backyard cottages and entire communities out of the material. It has piqued the interest of Zappos, which is collaborating with the company to develop a small "village" of domes in Las Vegas, close to the headquarters of the online shoe retailing giant. In order to accommodate some of the many people who are experiencing homelessness in the city, the plan is to make them available for free as housing.
The lightweight material of the dome has a long list of advantages, especially in a world where the effects of climate change—and the increase in natural disasters that comes with it—are becoming more and more apparent with each passing year. Fireproof up to 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit, the ceramic ensures that the house will not burn in an emergency. It reflects more than 80% of the heat emitted by the sun, which helps to keep the interior cool during hot weather. Due to the strength of the material, combined with the inherent strength of the dome shape, the structure should be able to withstand hurricanes. It has insect and mold resistance. When there is a flood, it only absorbs a small amount of water. Because of the shape of the building and the chemical bonding that occurs between the panels, the house should remain standing in the event of an earthquake. According to the startup, the homes will last for 500 years or more. If people are forced to evacuate a particular area, which is becoming more likely as sea levels rise, the homes can be dismantled and rebuilt elsewhere on the property. In the future, if repairs are required, the same material can be re-used because the bioceramic acts as a glue, bonding itself to the surrounding material.
According to the company, all of this can be accomplished at a 40% lower cost than traditional construction. The geometry reduces the amount of material required; for example, a dome may use half the amount of material required by a two-story traditional house of the same size. A significant portion of the ceramic can be made from phosphate, which can be recycled from wastewater. The panels, which are manufactured in a factory, can be delivered in a shipping container and assembled on-site in a matter of days, resulting in significant labor savings. Geoship founder Morgan Bierschenk describes the process as "basically like Legos fitting together. "
The interiors of the houses are flooded with natural light. The natural cooling effect of fresh air coming in through vents at the top and bottom of the dome is enhanced. Insulation, which is made of the same ceramic material that is filled with air, aids in making the home "passive," allowing it to be heated and cooled without the use of external energy sources. There is no indoor air pollution caused by the materials used. For example, the company makes much more dubious claims about the design's ability to "optimize the electromagnetic environment," as well as its alignment with Vashtu shastra, a traditional Indian theory of architecture.
Fuller, a 20th-century architect, is credited with popularizing the spherical, soccer-ball-like structure of the houses. . Fuller envisioned the design as a solution to the housing crisis that arose following World War II, but it was never widely adopted as a result. Bierschenk believes that the use of new materials has made architecture more feasible in the modern era.Temporary shelters and greenhouses can be built with Geodesic Dome Kits.
Bierschenk took a roundabout route to becoming an entrepreneur:As an engineer at Intel in his early twenties, he took a year off to travel the world, then returned with the intention of building a small house for himself, though he quickly realized that the cost of land was prohibitively expensive for him. Instead, he spent the next several years restoring a sailboat and traveling. In 2011, he relocated to Iceland to collaborate with Wikileaks and to develop technology that will enable "liquid democracy," a more direct form of government and alternative forms of currency, among other things. A few years later, he returned to his hometown to assist his brother in the construction of a house made entirely of reclaimed materials. As a result of that process, he says, he and his colleagues began to wonder why they are still pounding nails into wood the way people did 100 years ago.
Among the advantages of the geodesic dome, which is inherently strong and efficient, were some of its aesthetic qualities. A ceramic composite that had originally been developed for use in shielding nuclear waste at Argonne National Labs was also discovered by the researchers as part of their investigation. After some experimentation, they discovered that the material could be used to construct triangular panels for geodesic domes.
In order to save even more money, the company intends to assist communities in forming community land trusts. “We believe that in order to truly solve the affordable housing crisis, we must find a way to transcend the single-family home with land ownership and remove land speculation from the equation,” he says. The startup is developing a platform that will allow groups of people to collaborate on the design of a village of homes, and it will then guide those groups through the process of establishing a community land trust, according to its website. Also in the works is the development of a cooperative ownership model, in which customers will eventually own between 30% and 70% of the company. According to marketing copy on the Geoship website, "this fundamentally reshapes the home building industry, as well as capitalism itself. ""Our success is your success," says the author.
Zappos wanted to contribute to the solution of the homelessness crisis in the area surrounding its downtown Vegas headquarters (CEO Tony Hsieh also lives nearby in a tiny village of Airstream trailers) and recognized the potential of the technology to aid in the construction of long-term, affordable housing for the homeless. The company is assisting in the financing of prototype production. According to Tyler Williams, Zappos's "fungineer" and director of brand experience, "the product is rated for a long, long time and requires very minimal maintenance, whereas the problem with RVs, trailers, or tiny homes is that they require a great deal of maintenance," says Williams. At a later date, the companies will provide additional information about the project.
According to Bierschenk, it will be at least two years before Geoship homes begin to be manufactured. The company is currently raising funds for the construction of its first manufacturing facility. A win for the environment would be achieved if everything goes according to plan moving forward. According to the startup, the embodied energy in one of the homes, which is the amount of energy used to produce the materials, will be at least 20 times lower than the embodied energy in a home constructed with conventional materials. The ceramic itself has the ability to sequester CO2 from the atmosphere, and the company is currently calculating whether the homes could potentially be carbon negative in their energy consumption.