With all the stories about celebrities building multi-million pound off-grid mansions, its easy to think off-grid living is expensive and out of reach – but that’s just not so! Using off the shelf materials and an open source design guide, the hexayurt – pictured – is an affordable off-grid shelter system using an approach based on “autonomous building,” to provide not just a shelter, but a comprehensive family support unit which includes drinking water purification, composting toilets, fuel-efficient stoves and solar electric lighting.
The infrastructure to accompany the house costs around $100, and complete open source plans can be found here. Depending on how long the unit is expected to last, several different materials can be chosen for the construction. The outer materials have been chosen to be easily available, durable, easy to work with, able to moderate the indoor climate, and be aesthetically pleasing.
* Permanent use: Thermax HD (Dow)
* Temporary use: laminated hexacomb cardboard (Pregis)
* On site fabrication: Tuff R (Dow, widely used)
There are three shelter sizes, of which the middle size is shown in the picture.
* Stretch Around $100 per unit, 6′ high, 72 sq ft
* 8 foot Around $200 per unit, 8′ high, 166 sq ft.
* 12 foot Around $300 per unit, 12′ high, 166 sq ft. Resembles a space age cabin, full standing height throughout.
Units take a team of three people around an hour to assemble. They are assembled using a 6″ wide, 600+lb bidirectional filament tape, and anchored to the ground like tents. No heavy lifting, ladders or scaffolding are required.
Any wood shop or packaging factory can be taught to manufacture units in an afternoon. In emergencies, basic units can be manufactured on site with hand tools in half an hour each (only six cuts are required for each unit.)
* 1 Wood Gasification Stove (burns wood for cooking, 3x more efficient than clay stoves)
* 2 Cold Cathode / LED Flashlights (energy efficient area lighting)
* 1 Composting Toilet (model depends on location)
* 1 Water Purifier (type depends on location)
* Rechargeable AA batteries (for stove, lights, radios etc), for use in solar charging stations.
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