With the unpleasant prediction of more devastating weather patterns over the next twenty years (and beyond), safety and resilience are becoming top priorities for builders in disaster-prone areas. A company based in Hawaii has taken a traditional building style that traces its roots back to indigenous Polynesian, Japanese, and African cultures, and applied 21st century principles to create sustainable prefab dwellings that hold up to earthquakes, hurricanes and high water. Tim Cornell began building his PoleHouses in 1988 and now offers both building plans, and prefabricated pole house kits.
PoleHouses use large-diameter wooden posts to create a skeleton frame that bears the entire load of the home, making both interior and exterior walls moveable without disrupting the structural integrity (making it semi-modular). The poles are bolted to concrete footings and carry the floor girders, roofing rafters and everything in between.
These structures lean towards sustainability in much the same way other sustainable prefab homes do: They’re intrinsically more eco-friendly because they do not require invasive site-preparation, and they’re quick to assemble and can be built by local laborers using local, renewable materials. The more directly eco-friendly features such as photovoltaics, wind power, tankless water heating, gray water systems, and composting toilets are all optional, letting you be as green as you choose to be.
One of the most exciting products created by PoleHouses is the Solar Powered P-Pod. This is an entirely off-grid modular home with a wide variety of layouts ,and the option to design your home online using a Flash modeling system.