My first thought is that here is an opportunity to make small amends to the Haitian People for the egregious behavior that has characterized how Haiti has been treated by the United States for about one hundred years.
Here is a
great (but brief) history with a bit of gallows humor: http://www.rall.com/2010/01/syndicated-column-haitian-earthquake.html
not a social worker. I
have been researching the design of a home for a
client here in Oklahoma that specified lightweight aerated concrete as
being the basic
material for their home. A steel post and beam frame supports
a second floor system
and a steel roof system with tin. There is no wood involved. It will
never rot, is insect proof, is totally fireproof and would withstand
opinion) an Oklahoma tornado or a sizable earthquake.
scaled down and modified version of this home would be a perfect
fit for Haiti
or for that matter anywhere that
needed thermally efficient, low cost, strong and sustainable “green”
housing. Much of the concrete is to be lightweight cellular concrete
thermal efficiency and savings on the actual volume/cost of cement used
the EPSCrete is
that polystyrene that would normally
wind up in the dump would be turned into a great building material.
The Homes Could Be Built In Phases - Get a roof over their heads quickly
Download rough sketches for hut click here
would get a basic
roof over peoples heads. Footers appropriate for the local soils
conditions would be poured. The post and beam steel frame would be put
up and covered with the hand applied ferroccement (FC) skin (see plan)
on the walls and roof. This structure would be very strong and
weatherproof but not very comfortable because concrete and steel offer
construct building. The steel frame could be fabricated on site
local labor. It would require a welder on
site to tack the frame together. Once the steel frame was up anything
at hand could be used to skin the walls and roof. FC seems to be
the ideal choice for the skin.
|• Recycling old
to use as fill and to make new concrete is a proven money saving and
very green technology
• Properly done cellular concrete is a proven very cost effective, strong, thermally efficient and green building material that has been around for a long time - see:
• The collapse of the structures in Haiti was due, in large part, to poor building practices. Anything that is going to be a permanent structure should be built to specifications that would resist the next earthquake, hurricane or what ever nature throws at them. Cellular concrete would be a great choice for strength - see:
• Haiti has an enormous problem with sanitation. The earthquake has made the problem worse. There is a simple and cheap solution. Composting Toilets.
It looks like, to me, the Haiti disaster offers a great and worthy laboratory to perfect building technologies and systems that would be applicable world wide. Not only for disaster zones but everywhere.
Cellular concrete is a prime candidate for green, cost effective, thermally efficient (comfortable), sustainable, green construction in Haiti.
Cellular concrete was developed in Sweden in 1914. It is not pie in the sky, over the rainbow technology.
This would not be the first time cellular concrete has been used after a tragedy.
Cellular concrete was used extensively to rebuild Europe after WWII - See:
Also see my page on concrete technology: http://www.greenearthstructures.com/aac.html
-organize a fund to build a prototype and see how it works? If it
looked promising get a few more funded. If it worked like I think it
Why Not - gear up and produce large quantities of modular concrete forms that could be used to quickly erect, strong, low cost, thermally efficient cellular concrete homes for the displaced people of Haiti? Cellular concrete can be formed into block and panels and erected where it would be hard to get equipment. The block can be easily carried by hand and assembled like the CMU block used in a lot of the construction there now. However if properly done it would be much stronger than the CMU construction they have been doing. It would also be very thermally efficient adding greatly to the comfort level in the home.
Cellular concrete can also be used as cast in place walls. For larger structures and homes easily accessable to bulk concrete.
Why Not - take the same cellular concrete technology and quickly build new hospitals, schools, businesses, government buildings, etc.?
At the same time you would be recycling vast quantities of rubble and training Haitians to build using this technology.
Why Not – bring in equipment to re-process all of the steel scrap, from the demolished buildings, cars, etc. into reinforcement for the concrete structures that will be built? Build these new buildings right. Training Haitians to run this equipment would make more skilled jobs. On The Job training is the best kind.
Why Not – use this heart breaking tragedy to develop building systems and technologies that would not only vastly improve the lives of the people of Haiti but be applicable for people world wide?
Why Not - along with cellular concrete for walls, floors & roofs - use the myriad other sustainable, green technologies that are available in the rebuilding of Haiti. Wind, wave power, water harvesting, solar hot water, phototvoltaics, efficient lighting, engineered natural ventilation - you name it should be part of the package for every home and neighborhood.
Sewage Is A Big Issue In HaitiWhy Not - Make composting toilets a standard feature of every home built? This is old proven technology. A cheap to construct, efficient solution to the problem. Again you would be training Haitians to build using simple technology that can be passed on to improve the whole societies living situation into the future. Win Win. See: http://www.jenkinspublishing.com/sawdustoilet.html and also http://www.ecobusinesslinks.com/composting_toilets.htm
Grassroots energy is what is needed. Small solar panels on every roof.
Why Not - Figure in a minimal amount of solar power for each home. Solar hot water is (I am told) the biggest bang for your buck going. What would the relatively small investment in solar hot water do for the sanitary conditions of Haitians? What would be the return on investment of better health and less medical care?
What would enough solar electric to power lights at night do? What about enough to run energy efficient lights and a refrigerator?
I just stumbled onto an organization that looks like a poster child for doing what I am talking about:
Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF) see: http://www.self.org/ their goals say it all. Please contribute!
I have watched with fascination, as Greensburg Kansas rebuilt "green" after a devastating EF-5 tornado leveled the town May 4th, 2007. http://www.greensburgks.org/
Greensburg's web page says it all - Greenburg: Better, Stronger, Greener!
Why not - Haiti: Better, Stronger, GreenerWhy not – The World: Better, Stronger, Greener!
“Imagine a business where the business derives its power from the people who work there and capital is used as a tool to serve the people instead of the other way around as it is with most corporations.”
Keep it grassroots. Eliminate, as much as possible, recreating the top down society the people of Haiti (and most of the rest of the world) suffer under now.
- In the process of setting up companies to rebuild Haiti - use
tried and true democratic principals.
in all of the fields necesssary in building
sustainable infracture for Haiti and make sure the business model used
is just as sustainable.
into employee owned cooperative
businesses to involve the
people in developing their own neighborhoods and their society overall.
Companies formed by local people to do this massive undertaking should reflect a new direction for the Haitian people.
company here in Oklahoma called the Oklahoma
companies in Haiti seems to be a no-brainer.
Email Paul Wellman - USGBC LEED™ Certified AP