Solar Cubicle near completion:
The solar cubicle is the cheapest, fastest, easiest way to build housing for new people at Factor e Farm. Read our Social Technology Approach to understand why we need to build now (Feb., 2009). As 'unecological' and as pedestrian as this may look, this is the best option we can come up with at present. Campers are much more expensive, and tents are a backup option that only a few people are willing to take.
Note lumber prices went up since initial publication in 2009.
The basic structure is made from an OSB-clad stick frame which makes a cube of 8x8x8' dimensions. A small stove is placed in the cubicle for 4-season living, and R13 fiberglass insulation is used on all 6 sides of the cube. All sides are an OSB-2x4-OSB sandwich, and the floor lays on cinder blocks or other temporary foundation. The south side has a large window for solar gain. The bill of materials (BOM) for an insulated and heated cubicle is:
The BOM for the 3-season cubicle is:
Interestingly, since all 6 sides are identical, structural, insulated panels - the method lends itself to high modularity. New rooms can be added on at will. The hexacube can be moved to a new location by removing 12 pieces of connecting 2x4s from all edges. These are screwed in. The cube can be disassembled and moved. It can also be stacked at least 2 stories high, and possibly 3. It can be turned into a ziggurat structure.
This may be the beggining of Modular Housing Units.
We tried the Hexayurt, but it's not a 4-season structure. Using our methods, it took about 3 times as long to build one OSB Hexayurt, and at higher cost/person for the insulated version and lack of privacy if 2 people share a Hexayurt - we reduce our effort to the Hexacube - Cubeyurt - Hexacyurt - or the Solar Cubicle. There is little risk involved with the latter, as humble as it is.
Here is a video. The second half of it documents the construction of a solar cubicle.