John Koetsier Senior Contributor
John Koetsier is a journalist, analyst, author, and speaker.
California-based Geoship has raised almost $400,000 from 583 investors in a crowdfunding campaign to create a new kind of housing: affordable, resilient, modular, green, and long-lasting. The inspiration is from Buckminster Fuller, architect and futurist who popularized the geodesic dome.
The invention enabling it?
Bioceramic, the same material used to coat hip and knee joint replacements and found in NFL quarterback Tom Brady’s TB12 “recovery sleepwear” clothing.
A render of what a small bioceramic dome community might look like.
“When Buckminster Fuller was building domes in the sixties and seventies ... he called them ‘wooden spaceships,’ ... the right geometry but the wrong materials,” CEO Morgan Bierschenk told me recently on the TechFirst podcast . “He kind of guessed that it would be fifty to a hundred years until the right material sciences arrived to really produce geodesic domes.”
Watch the full interview here:
Bierschenk thinks bioceramic is the right material.
It’s a new type of chemically-bonded ceramic that forms strong molecular bonds like a polymer. Crucially, bioceramic has the same property that makes cement so useful: the ability to mix it into a slurry and pour it into a mold without using high heat. That makes it cheap (and green) to manufacture, while enabling it to be much stronger than concrete.
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The company’s first project is a permanent geodesic village for the homeless in Las Vegas in partnership with Zappos, the Amazon-owned retailer. Then, Geoship says, it’ll “throttle up until we end domelessness for everybody.”
Lower cost is one key driver. But so is modularity.
Need a bigger house? Add a dome, simply by connecting it to your main dome.
And the price is right, if not exactly straw bale cheap. Geoship estimates housing costs, including delivery, to be between $45,000 to $230,000 for everything in a house. With construction (or, on-site assembly) that would be about $130 to $160 per square foot, Bierschenk says, including all electrical, appliances, cabinets, HVAC, and so on.
An artist's rendering of the interior of a Geoship building.
One of the biggest benefits, however, is ecological.
“The embodied energy calculations of conventional construction is ... somewhere between 80 and 300 tons of embodied CO2 in a typical wood house,” Bierschenk told me. “The embodied CO2 in a bioceramic dome is somewhere in the three to 10 ton range and potentially negative when ... you can cure the panels in CO2-rich environments.”
That’s around 30 times less carbon. Add in the expected lifespan of the building at 500 years, and you’ve got something that's incredibly ecologically effective.
And, perhaps, enables a new kind of community living.
Get the full transcript of our conversation here .
Thanks to: https://www.forbes.com