When design and architecture start-up Geoship met its $100,000 equity crowdfunding goal in just five days in January 2020, founder and CEO Morgan Bierschenk knew the fledgling company had something special on its hands. The product? Sustainable, affordable housing in the form of unique geodesic domes that are also zero-carbon.
Geoship built its first prototype dome in 2015, and in 2019, it partnered with Zappos in an effort to address the homelessness crisis in downtown Las Vegas, where the company is headquartered. The partnership has since created a scalable model of villages specifically aimed at helping to eliminate homelessness in the United States by 2030.
So what makes these domes so special? A 100% bioceramic material combined with basalt and hemp fiber (similar to bone and shells) is used to construct the framing, insulation and panels to provide an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional building materials. This ceramic composite is designed to withstand extreme temperatures, making it fireproof up to 2,300 degrees Fahrenheit. The dome shape distributes pressure evenly throughout the structure, a feature that makes it both earthquake- and hurricane-proof, according to Geoship. Additionally, the material doesn’t attract mold or insects and won’t rust, rot or deteriorate.
The minerals used to create the bioceramic can be harvested from sustainable, natural resources, such as seawater desalination plants and non-toxic sewage treatment plants. Old material can either be turned into new panels or used as fertilizer. Currently, estimated turnkey prices for the domes range from $45,000 to $230,000, depending on the size. The price includes everything from delivery, permitting, installation, mechanical systems, interior finishing, appliances and materials for passive solar heating and cooling.
Geoship is unique in that it is structured as a “Social Purpose Corporation,” a multi-stakeholder cooperative where customers will be major owners in the company in addition to the investors and employees, a model that Bierschenk believes consumers were all too ready for. “Old school capitalism makes rich people richer, and everybody defers responsibility, while our planet pays the price,” Bierschenk said. “We’re shifting that paradigm by making our seed investment widely accessible, and distributing equity to customers and the Earth.”
Images via Geoship