Saturday, 24 September 2011

Home Sweet Home

Everyone in Lyttelton has issues with their house after the earthquake. Maybe there are only a few cracks in the interior gib-board walls or a door and window doesn't shut, the floor is uneven and you feel constantely drunk when walking over it. There might be more serious issues with leaking roofs, collapsed foundations and unstable retaining walls. Some people had to leave their houses altogether: to wait for repairs, for destruction or rebuilding or because of rockfall threats.

Our house is still habitable, but will need large sums of money to fix up, and our insurance might well say that it is cheaper to rebuild. This suddenly has made me become more interested in the different kinds of housing that are out there.

I am not the only one. One of the silver linings after a disaster is the outside- of- the- box-thinking that happens in its aftermath. I always have been interested in modular housing, and I want to share the latest of these with you.

Here is the link to an innovative company :

Their pod-houses are either round or oblong and can be combined into different sizes.

There are many advantages to the pods:
  • no structural earthquake/hurricane/flooding damage possible
  • easy and fast to errect by only 2 people.
  • energy efficient.
  • the designs are pre-approved for use anywhere in New Zealand having been tested thoroughly during the NZ Building and Housing certification process. Building consent should be issued within 10 working days.

Even the prizes are very reasonable: $75.000 for a two bedroom house, $10.000 more for each bedroom.

As far as I can see there is one major drawback: the building material is polyethylene,- yes, the stuff we all hate as supermarket plastic bags are made out of it.

Wikipedia ( ) says about polyethylene:

'The political environment has a divided approach towards the use of plastic. As plastics are mainly based on oil or natural gas, there is a general trend, as well as political pressure, towards increased use of renewable sources...
...Other elements go in favor of increased use of plastics. The low weight reduces energy use and cost related to transportation compared to goods made from wood or paper ... In this respect, plastics are considered to have a favorable environmental profile. However, there is no clear consensus whether or not increased use of plastics reduces CO2 emissions.'
The Breezepod website says that their houses are 100% recyclable, as the whole pod, including roof is all out of the same material.
Me, I've always been a wood-person - old villas and log houses and maybe straw bale houses. I never considered living in a house made of plastic.
Look at the website and let me know what you think!

written by Bettina Evans

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