Building Shelter for Millions With a 20-Page Book
Building Shelter for Millions With a 20-Page Book
This book shows you how to build a shelter that provides protection, water, power, food, lights, furniture, ventilation & sanitation.
This book shows you how to build a shelter that provides protection, water, power, food, lights, furniture, ventilation & sanitation. Read more
About this project
My goal is to publish a 20-page construction book with global impact. This 20-page book shows you how to build a 165 sq. ft. rigid walled shelter for displaced people that can provide protection, clean water, food and herbs, power, lighting, storage, furniture, ventilation, and sanitation. And prove that good emergency shelter is affordable. It's that simple. But getting there is not.
Why we need your help…
Most of the world’s 100 million refugees lack adequate shelter. Exposed to the elements, they face disease and even death to say nothing of a humiliating lack of privacy. I dream of the day when relief agencies can speed thousands of portable, safe and reliable shelters to those in need.
Since the 2010 Haitian earthquake left tens of thousands of displaced people, I’ve been thinking about a better way to provide shelters in refugee camps. Tents have been the traditional approach, but they tear easily, provide little protection from extreme temperatures and are lacking in amenities.
So, working with a team, I’ve developed the Human Occupied Modular Emergency Shelter, the “HOME Shelter.” This inexpensive portable structure provides protection from the elements so people can live with safety, health and privacy.
I want to share this concept with the world. With funding from people like you, my team and I will produce:
- A simple 20-page construction document so relief agencies and governments can easily prepare and package the HOME Shelter components using local resources and speed them to the disaster area;
- A video version of the document to allow Internet training of personnel and eliminate the requirement that relief workers be able to read detailed, complex instructions;
- A mockup of a HOME Shelter to prove the reliability of our construction techniques.
Your support will help us with the engineering costs of refining the design, the production costs associated with the video and the materials and labor for building the mockup.
If we’re successful, we’ll hold a celebratory event in beautiful Rhode Island to showcase our work to the community and government officials. As a bonus, The Avenue Concept, recognized as 1 of 20 emerging arts organizations in the United States, has agreed to paint original murals inspired by the project should we reach our Kickstarter goal.
The HOME Shelter - A Four In One Project.
The HOME Shelter Kickstarter project is really four projects in one. It's a publishing project since we're designing and publishing a handbook. It's a video project since we're producing a video of the construction of the first HOME Shelter to promote and educate global viewers and users about the innovative construction techniques. It's an art project since we're sponsoring The Avenue Concept to paint 24 murals on the first HOME Shelter walls that depict the events that force refugees and displaced persons to leave their homes and solutions. And it's a design project since we're designing and building a new form of integrated, multifunctional architecture. Wrap all these things into one project and it will take a lot of time and effort and backing.
Please, help us design something to improve humanity.
I spent 33 years at Lockheed Martin as a human factors engineer. That’s technical talk for someone who finds ways to make assembling stuff easier for the people who actually put it together. I worked on everything from spacecraft to submarines.
I learned a lot in my career but, importantly, I learned a design must be simple or people won’t use it. That underlying theme has driven the HOME Shelter design. The shelter requires no written directions and no tools to assemble and almost every component is multifunctional.
How the HOME Shelter Works
Wall and roof panels slide easily into simple connectors called splines. The door is a sliding cutout on a track so it uses no hinges – hinges can break. Cutouts in the door serve as handholds for sliding the door and eliminate exposed doorknobs and metal parts that can break or jam in harsh environments.
Wind tunnel testing shows the shelter’s hexagonal design and panels can withstand 60 mph winds. That’s because the structure undergoes compression that enables the shelter to get stronger with the application of an external force like wind. Unfortunately, most refugees live in tents that rip apart above 35 mph.
The HOME Shelter gathers rainwater in a sump liner or rain barrel. A mesh grid filters out particulate matter and a colloidal and clay filter removes bacteria and water borne parasites. The result is drinkable water right outside the door.
On the roof, a solar panel produces 80 to 100 watt-hours per day of electricity with no fuel other than the sun required. That’s enough to power a few lights or small electronics.
To moderate the interior temperature, the HOME Shelter has two doors and 70 portholes to provide circulation. Because door panels are easily moved, a resident can easily change the circulation pattern whenever the winds change. To block the breeze, stick a plastic bottle cap in the pothole. It’s a low-cost solution that provides ventilation, light, and interior cooling; plants suspended from portholes help cool the exterior, too.
Those plants, hanging from recycled plastic planters, also provide a place to grow vegetables and herbs. Called “vertical agriculture,” this method maximizes usable space. A resident can move plants around by lifting them out of one porthole and moving them to another to optimize sun exposure.
Imagine refugee camps where these plants serve as a means of barter for refugees with little to do except wait for the next meal or water truck. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of vegetables and herbs, like soap plant, to help refugees help each other.
We also want to build a home, not just a shelter. Privacy is important in any home and especially in refugee camps. The HOME Shelters rigid walls, sliding doors, and portholes enable 360-degree views outside yet privacy inside. Portholes are drilled two feet above the ground level to prevent rodents, a disease vector, from easily entering.
The interior design is as important as the exterior. We've designed furniture that transforms from one useful item to another. The “transforming chair” flips into either a 3-step stool or a table. There’s a built-in, wall-mounted platform that can be a table, a blackboard or a sleeping platform. And suspended shelving provides storage.
The Money Details
The HOME Shelter is simple and inexpensive. I've estimated less than $2,000 US. But its design is not. We need to harness powerful software such as Solidworks and CAD to model our design and costs. We need to partner with engineers to ensure our shelter works around the world under most conditions. And we plan to partner with engineering, architecture and environmental students at the University of Rhode Island and Roger Williams University to involve young minds and make this a true community project.
We also need to purchase the supplies and pay for labor to construct our model shelter. And we need to cover the costs of producing a video and documenting our progress. Plus, the 20-page book!
All in all, we believe it’s a small price given the potential to provide shelter for hundreds, thousands or even millions of people.
Risks and challenges
Risks for this project are low. I’m committed to producing a model HOME Shelter and the documentation so others may reproduce it.
The completion date of the model shelter and its construction documents and videos will depend on the support of people like you. The more support, the faster we can reach our goal.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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