Extract from an article by Willow Aliento
An innovative Australian company is tackling a number of our pressing problems in one flat-packed prefab package – supporting regional communities and jobs, creating new avenues for Australian manufacturing, and solving energy supply and building sustainability issues.
Colin Ure is a man with a major mission – to see housing become essential energy-generating infrastructure. And his company, iCUE Homes, has projects in the pipeline that look set to prove the case.
The company has designed a prefabricated tiny home that can operate entirely off-grid for energy and water. It can also be flat-packed to send anywhere in the world.
Ure says it all started with researching to find a self-contained unit for his own block in Healesville, Victoria. But none of the manufactured housing companies could give him a quote from “foundation to ceiling”.
Then he happened to come across someone that had invented a concrete-free foundation system, Surefoot. It uses pile driving technology to drive steel pipes into the ground, which then have plates affixed to which trusses can be attached.
Ure says the system takes 10 minutes to put in place – with no earthworks or concrete required.
From there, he evolved the design of a prototype house that uses structural insulated panels for walls, double glazing, and insulated roof and flooring to create a home with an energy rating of between 8 and 10 star NatHERS.
The homes also have solar PV and batteries, a geothermal air management system, waterless composting toilets, a prototype portable grey water treatment system Ure designed himself, rainwater harvesting and underfloor water storage.
The whole kit, including furniture, can be flat-packed into a 40-foot shipping container and sent anywhere in the world, he says. And when it arrives at location, the container itself becomes part of the home as an added bedroom, workshop, laundry or other space.
It is also suitable for just about anywhere, with a Bushfire Attack Level rating of 40, and cyclone-resistant design and foundations..(continues)
SOURCE: Willow Aliento, “Energy-positive prefab housing can tackle Australia’s big issues”, The Fifth Estate, 11 september 2017
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