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 Hawai’i 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 Pole Houses in 1988 and now offers five basic plans as well as customized plans for buyers with specific needs.
Pole Houses lean towards sustainability in much the same way other “sustainable” prefab homes do. They are intrinsically more eco-friendly because they do not require invasive site-preparation, they are quick to assemble and can be built by local builders using local, renewable materials. The more directly environmental features, such as photovoltaics, wind power, tankless water heating, gray water and composting toilets are all optional, letting you be as green as you want to be.
Most exciting to me is the upcoming product from Pole Houses, called the Solar Powered P-Pod. From what I can tell, 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. The image at the top right is a computer-generated model of the P-Pod. I’m looking forward to seeing some real-life models and finding out just what this little solar pod home can do.