9.0 Notes (page 5)

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Develop Alternatives: Introduction[edit]

We identified alternate approaches to all the main functions on the previous two pages. Now we need to quantify these alternatives in enough detail to develop input and output formulas for our numerical models. This will be an incremental and iterative process, since many values will depend on other values. In addition to the actual numbers, we will record the reasoning and references used to reach them. As in the previous pages, Habitation and Transport are addressed first, as they determine part of the outputs of Production. Actual physical construction and operation would start with Production, so that has the lower function numbers.

Estimates do not have to be made entirely from scratch. Sources include:

  • Building construction cost and labor estimating data such as from RS Means.


F.2.1.1.2 Habitation Data[edit]

This section includes data on requirements and alternatives which affect the main Provide Habitation Capacity function as a whole.

Habitation Requirements[edit]

Cost data are based on January 2013 as nearly as possible, and dollar amounts are allocated for the purpose of estimating the design, inputs, and outputs of the various functions. Actual design and cost distribution will be a matter of choice for the participants and residents. The distinction between participants and residents is only whether they live and work at the location, and this status can change with time.

  • 2.3 Self Production - The requirement is to generate 15% of total location x 85% locally = 12.75% of economic value of $156,000/person/year from Habitation, or $19,890/person/yr. The US Consumer Price Index (Nov 2012) assigns a weight of 31.5% to the cost of shelter. US personal consumption in Nov 2012 was $11,258 billion, with a population of 314.8 million, thus $35,762/yr/person. The shelter fraction of this is then 31.5% x $35,762 = $11,265. Therefore to meet the economic value requirement, we need 19,890/11,265 = 1.766 times the US average. US 2012 Price/Rent ratios from Zillow.com are about 10, thus we need about $200,000 of private Habitation value/person.
  • 2.4 Quality of Life - From Zillow.com the average US home price to income ratio over time is 2.9. If we apply this ratio to the total economic value of the location of $156,000, we get an implied value of $450,000 per person for the total Habitation function (not just private space). This would include what are "public amenities" in conventional towns, such as roads, parks, community spaces, and emergency services, and commercial and retail space not itself used in Production.
  • 4.1 Development Cost - This sets a goal of $13.35 million for one-time development cost of Habitation for the first increment of 75 people, and $29 million for the full 660 person location size. This is net of income from the location, which is allocated 20% to Habitation. Thus any income allows for more development expenses. One time costs are for design, prototypes, and testing, separate from recurring location costs. This cost needs to be further divided among Habitation functions and integration (getting the functions to work together as a system). Scaling this back to a single person prototype gives a goal of $3.1 million.
  • 4.2 Location Cost - This sets a goal of 40% of total location cost of $76,000/person = $30,400. This amounts to $2.28 million for recurring net cost of Habitation for the first 75 residents. This is a challenging goal, but it only includes outside purchases (including land). Internal production and outside sales should offset most of the economic value of the finished Habitation. The goal might not be met at first, but as the location develops it should be possible to approach or surpass it as more production capacity is built.
  • 5.1 Technical Risk - This sets a goal for performance and design uncertainties of 7.5%. This is separate from construction cost estimates, which always have some amount of uncertainty due to weather delays or cost of materials. Construction cost includes a reserve or margin above the enumerated component estimates. Performance and design uncertainties are items like the actual output of a solar array or machine tool, or the actual weight and range of a vehicle vs. what was expected. Part of the purpose of program phase 0, Develop Technology, is to reduce the technical risk to an acceptable level.
  • 6.1 Location Risk - This sets a goal of life and property risk of 38% of US average from the Habitation function. This is also a challenging goal. Our approach to meeting it is to rank existing average risks, and try to design features of Habitation to reduce them as much as possible. Examples would be better fire safety and structural strength. Danaei et. al. Preventable Causes of Death in the US, 2009, is a recent review of life risks. FM Global has guidelines for Industrial Safety. Other property risks are TBD.

Habitation Alternatives[edit]

  • Number of Dwelling Units per Structure - This is the choice between single family, multi-unit apartment, or cohousing shared private/common living. We will take the position that this should not be defined in advance. One of the program objectives (1.3) is choice for the participants and residents, therefore the arrangement of living space should be left to them. Instead of defining the housing mix, we will try to maximize the flexibility of the units to change their layout as needed. Conventional construction is not easily re-modeled, so we will try to include features to make that easier.
  • Single vs Mixed Use Areas - Within Habitation, it is the choice between purely residential areas, or having a mix of public community areas, office, hospitality, and shops in the same area as residences, even the same building. For the location as a whole, it includes having Transport and Production mixed with Habitation areas. We will take the position that this is partly a matter of resident choice, but partly set by safety, physical conditions, and freedom from objectionable noise and views. Physical conditions include things like sufficient flat areas for larger production buildings, or access to sunlight or wind for power.
  • Modularity and Flexibility - This is how easily the Habitation elements can be changed according to resident circumstances and preferences. Conventional housing is not built with change in mind. Rather, people move to another existing residence more often than make major changes to their current one. We will try to design for change in habitation layout by using modular sections and movable partitions, and making replaceable facade and interior finish items. We will also reserve a part of production for maintenance and modification to resident preferences.
  • Land Parcels - This is the number, individual sizes, and relative locations of land parcels. This can range from a separate land parcel for every resident and function, to one large piece of land for the entire location. The former is the conventional arrangement in the US for homes and business. We will assume that a combination of choice, available land, legal and physical use limits, and funding does not lead to a single large land parcel for the location. Instead, the location will start with no residents or production capacity at first. Participants will live and work in existing non-program locations. Over time, the program will gradually acquire land and equipment, as funding permits, and develop the location. Individual land parcels should be close enough that transport between them is not time consuming or expensive. We do not have an exact value for this, but will start by assuming half the land parcels are within 30 minutes travel from the center of all the parcel area, and successive halves of the remainder are within each additional 30 minute travel (i.e. 3/4 within 1 hour, 7/8 within 1.5 hours, etc.).
  • Aesthetics - This is the degree the natural condition of the land and optimal design of buildings and equipment is modified by choice to look nicer. This would include things like site layout, color choices, landscaping, visual screening, and camouflaging of items as something else. Normally this is performed by site planners and architects. We think this topic falls under choice of residents and program participants, as limited by physical and legal conditions. For example, it is not easy to disguise a wind turbine to be other than what it is, aside from choice of color to blend with the surroundings.


F.2.1.1.2.1 Protection Data[edit]

This section covers data for the Protect from External Environment function within Habitation. This function includes passive protection from weather, water, insects, and structural support for all of the Habitation elements. The latter might be considered passive protection from the Earth's gravity and failure of the subsoil, which is why it is included here. The protection includes major elements like structure, roofing, and siding, plus secondary items to complete the protective capacity.

Protection Requirements[edit]

  • 1.2 Habitation Scale - We inherited a location scale of 660 people and a 9 year completion time from higher level program requirements. This was rounded up slightly to adding Habitation capacity for 75 people/year to the location. In the Develop Technology phase we accumulate prototypes, funding, and program participants. Depending how fast and where that happens, the first location may inherit some elements that already exist.
  • 7.1 Biosphere Security - The program goals include preserving Earth species outside their natural environment. Habitation is assigned half, or 45 species, and Production the remainder. This can be in living or stored state (seeds/embryos). We tentatively divide this into 35 botanical/zoological species in community space, half living and half stored, and 10 species in gardens, greenhouses, and pets, which are located in private space. Trees are counted as botanical species. The mix may change based on resident choices. The total number of species at this location is small, but it is a start towards preserving life on Earth for the long term.

Protection Alternatives[edit]

We approach the data for this function by starting with a conventional design, then considering incremental alternatives to it. The protection from the external environment task includes structural support for the protective elements, and in turn the ground which supports the structure. The result is this equates to the lot and shell of a conventional house.

Weather Delays - Building the elements for this function is not itself protected from the environment. A weather delay factor of 25% is assumed for a Temperate climate, but this needs to be adjusted for the actual local climate. Once a sufficient level of transport infrastructure and roofing is in place, weather delays will fall off in importance.

  • Conventional Design:

There are numerous options for residence design, so we select those which on first inspection could be produced locally:

Land - The land itself is bought and financed conventionally. We will assume $1/m2 for undeveloped land, though this varies by location and condition. Since mortgage rates are currently (2013) less than high yield bond rates, the least cost approach is to invest enough to cover the mortgage payment. Habitation land area was estimated at 1000 m2/person, of which 200 is building floor area. Prior to doing calculations for them, we roughly estimate other land areas (in m2/person)as: production land outside growing organics = 500, of which 200 is buildings or built equipment, growing organics = 500, timberland for long term maintenance and modification = 6 x built area = 2500. Timber required for initial construction is higher and may require extra land or timber rights. Thus initial total land estimate is = 4500 m2/person (1.11 acres).
Site Work - This is clearing, grading, and installing utilities prior to building construction. This requires heavy equipment, so we look at providing a general-purpose tractor with appropriate attachments. Site work will obviously depend on the specific site, but we will assume 2 meters depth on average for the buildings area, and 0.5 meters depth on the remainder. This may seem high, but excavating and back fill requires moving the same material twice, and clearing of trees requires some depth to extract the roots and then move the debris (we will try to use the lumber from such trees). This gives an earth-moving requirement of 800 cubic meters per person. Utility lines themselves are covered under other functions (ie supply electrical power, water, and sanitation).
Equipment required will vary considerably by task, but we can use 100 cubic meters/day/machine as an initial estimate for clearing and grading. Given 270 work days/year after weather delays, and 75 people per year, this results in the need for 2.25 machines, which we will assume is implemented as 3 or 4 specialized heavy machines with different attachments. If the excavated earth is suitable, some of it may be used as raw materials. Unsuitable material may need to replaced, or fill added from elsewhere, to reach desired drainage and elevations.
Foundation - We assume concrete slab, footer, and solid or block foundation walls, with steel reinforcing as needed. Cement is the highest cost ingredient, followed by reinforcing and structural anchors, so we look to produce those materials those first. To estimate requirements, we assume 0.15 T x 100 m2 slab, and 1.5 H x 0.2 T x 40 L meter solid foundations. This gives 27 m3 concrete/person.
Framing - For conventional framing we assume light lumber or heavier timber pieces, and either panels or boards as fill. This can be assembled in Production into modules, giving an opportunity for automation. We assume 0.2 m of framing lumber x 200 m2 floor area = 40 m3 wood/person. For 75 people/year we then require 3000 m3/year.
Roofing - We assume clay or cement tile roofing, since that can be made locally. It will require somewhat sturdier structure due to weight, so we allow 0.1 m framing x 100 m2 roof plan area = 10 m3 wood/person. This assumes two story construction on average. The roofing itself we estimate at 2cm thick x 150 m2 coverage = 3 m3 tile/person. The coverage is 1.5 times the plan area due to required slope and overhang.
Siding - We assume clay or colored cement brick or block siding. In the case of block, it partly replaces the framing. These are good options for local production, and with automated brick-laying, possibly for assembly also. Windows are part of the building sides. High quality insulated windows may be difficult to make, in which case insulated shutters are an option, along with double panes. Wall area is 6 H (two stories) x 40 L = 240 m2 area. For brick the thickness is 0.1 m, and block is 0.2 m, giving siding volume at 24 or 48 m3.
Insulation - Conventional insulation includes fiberglass and styrene foam. Glass fiber may be difficult to make on a small scale, but a substitute using basalt fiber may be possible. We assume 0.15 m wall and floor, and 0.20 m ceiling insulation thickness. This requires 71 m3 total insulation volume.
Barriers and Sealants - This includes items needed to complete the protective capacity of the major elements above, such as paints, flashing, tar, water and vapor barriers, vents, gaskets, and caulking.
Protective Clothing - Protective clothing may seem unrelated to the Habitation function, but they are needed any time the weather requires it, or tasks expose workers and residents to abrasion, chemicals, shock, or other hazards. The conventional option is simply to buy appropriate gear.


  • Land Alternatives:

Leasing - In early stages of development it is worth considering leasing land rather than buying it. This requires less capital investment at first. Leasing can make sense if funds can be invested at a higher rate of return than the lease cost. This can be either a pure financial investment, or investing in other location equipment and operations. It can also make sense as a temporary location: for program participants and future residents, or for storage and production space, until permanent locations are ready. Modular or mobile living and production space, where the land has minimal development and utilities, falls under the leasing option. This raises issues of transport, safety, and quality, so would tend to be used for very temporary situations. The detriments to leasing are the ongoing expense, eventual need to move, and limitations on how much you can change. Lease costs are highly dependent on location, so we cannot make an estimate until the location is known. They also depend on what land is available to lease vs. purchase at a given time. So this alternative will need to be examined at the time land is needed.

Resource Rights - Rather than buying full ownership to land, buying partial rights, such as timber or mining, rights of way, or equipment placement, may turn out less expensive. This is more likely during initial construction, when extra supplies of materials are needed, or when attaining surplus output as a program goal. Another reason to acquire rights is if the permanent location lacks specific resources. One way to get resource rights without cash expense is by offering a share of the extracted resources, or sales therefrom, to the owner. Another is to offer site improvements, or barter other work for the owner, in trade for the rights.

  • Site Work Alternatives:

An alternative to heavy equipment is to use lighter robotic equipment such as draglines and conveyors, where the equipment anchors itself temporarily rather than relying on sheer equipment mass to counteract the forces of earth-moving. Anchors can be drilled or screwed into the ground, or use local water, earth, or rocks added to lighter containers. Another alternative is to use a larger number of smaller equipment units. This lends itself to quantity production. To reduce human labor, smaller units should be at least partly automated.

  • Foundation Alternatives:

An alternative to mass concrete foundations is to use treated wood or reinforced concrete poles embedded sufficiently deep. This can be in conjunction with ground-level construction (pole barn style), or raised platforms to "float" the building above the terrain. The latter may be desirable to reduce excavation in difficult terrain, avoid ground water, gain better views, or use the space underneath the platform. Regularly spaced poles lend themselves to modular construction and modifications. Another alternative to mass foundations is discrete deep pilings, which get their load bearing capacity from depth rather than distribution horizontally. An alternative to concrete is to use mortared stone, which mainly differs in separating the cement/sand mix into mortar layers around larger stones, rather than an intimate mix in concrete. To distribute loads and isolate ground water, a gravel trench or layer may be used between footings or slabs and subsoil/bedrock. This is commonly seen in highway and railroad construction, but can also be used for buildings.

  • Framing Alternatives:

Conventional alternatives to wood framing includes light gauge steel studs and trusses, heavier structural steel tubing and shapes, concrete block or structural brick, or reinforced concrete columns, walls, and precast panels, with or without included insulation. Less conventional alternatives include stabilized rammed earth using a percentage cement or other binder, mortared stone, truss framing, composite materials, domed structures, and underground construction, where the bedrock serves as the framing. Any given building can use a mixture of framing systems. The heavier alternatives do not lend themselves well to fabrication elsewhere, or later modifications. They would need strong personal choice or cost advantages to be preferred. Steel, concrete, brick, cements, and excavation will most likely be needed for other reasons than framing, so the processes and general equipment would be available. What would shift is the quantities needed and detailed equipment.

  • Roofing Alternatives

Alternate roofing materials include:

- A composite of tar and gravel (standard flexible shingles), with fiberglass reinforcing. This is not preferred unless easy ways to provide the ingredients and process them are found.
- Fiber-cement shingles using wood pulp or glass fibers.
- Solid wood shingles, which are easy to make but have durability issues. Painted wood shingles may last longer if properly ventilated.
- Metal shingles or extended panels. This is an option if the right type of metal can be produced in quantity. Purchased metal roofing is relatively durable and not much mass is required (most of it is in the roof structure to support the metal).
  • Siding Alternatives

Conventional alternatives include molded vinyl, wood board or shingle, fiber-cement board, stucco, sheet metal, or mortared stone.

  • Insulation Alternatives

Papercrete (paper-cement mix) is a substitute with decent insulation value, and easy to make. Natural mixes like straw-clay may provide adequate insulation while sufficiently fireproof. Wood is moderately insulating across the grain, but a large amount would be needed for modern levels of insulation. Rock wool is similar to fiberglass, but made from local rock.

  • Barrier and Sealant Alternatives

For foundations, dense concrete is relatively waterproof, but additional coatings like tar can be added, or layers of waterproof plastic. Adequate trenches and drainage pipes may be needed to guide water away from the structure. Plastic sheeting may be used under slabs or crawl spaces to reduce moisture rising from underground. A water barrier underlayment is generally used under roofing and siding to drain off any water that penetrates the outer protection. It is also used to slow water vapor and air infiltration. Paints of various kinds protect other materials from direct exposure to water and sunlight. Flashing is thin metal which rises above penetrations of the exterior, such as at roof vents and windows. The risers guide water away from the penetrations. It also is used as a drip edge at exposed corners, so water does not seep under exterior protection. Tar and caulking are used to seal small gaps. Gaskets help seal larger penetrations, and vents allow moisture and hot air to escape while keeping water out.

  • Protective Clothing Alternatives

Portable shelters are an alternative to wearing thick clothing in bad weather. This may consist of a flexible waterproof layer, insulation, and lightweight frame which can be moved from place to place as needed. A portable heater is used to counteract cold conditions.


F.2.1.1.2.2 Control Internal Environment Data[edit]

This section covers data for the Control Internal Environment function within Habitation. It includes control inputs and sensors (such as thermostats), and active hardware which produces the desired changes, such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Passive thermal insulation was included in the previous function, and lighting, windows, and window coverings are included here as active devices. Emergency systems are also included here.

Control Requirements[edit]

It is not stated as an explicit requirement, but the control function must keep the internal environment within limits of human comfort and adjust to personal preferences. This includes controlling at least temperature, humidity, lighting, and acoustics.

  • 2.3 Autonomy - The goal is to control 85% or more of Habitation functions locally. Conventional home and building operation has been by direct human control plus simple automated devices like thermostats, so it historically has been local. Modern automation and smart grids can reduce the need for human input, and optimize timing of tasks to level utility loads. The decision making for control can be retained locally, while information to make those decisions is exchanged from outside the location.

Control Alternatives[edit]

  • Electrical Power - In conventional homes and buildings temperature control and artificial lighting are major users of electrical power. We therefore assign all power supply for Habitation to this function to avoid listing it in multiple places. It then includes wiring and outlets for Food and Drink and Personal Items functions, as well as outside power use such as street lighting. The conventional approach is to supply all power from an outside utility. We will strongly consider integrated solar in the Habitation buildings. Resident choices will likely want to avoid visible devices like wind turbines, and trees and buildings reduce available wind. We can consider rooftop installation in larger non-residential buildings, where they would be less visible, or micro-turbines if they can be made very cheaply, since those could be unobtrusive, but more likely this kind of generator will be placed in the Production areas.
From US household energy use data, we can make a rough estimate for 160 m2/person of private space that an average of 3,500 W of total energy is consumed. This may be all electric or a mix of energy sources. The remaining 40 m2/person of public Habitation space, for want of a better estimate, is at the same rate, giving 900 W/person, for a total Habitation energy use of 4,400 W. Grid-wide utility daily power use peaks at about 25% above average demand, and we can make a rough estimate that our location will have a similar use curve. Seasonal household energy demand is estimated to peak at twice the average, and hourly use can peak at twice the daily average. Therefore peak energy capacity is very roughly estimated at four times the average use. Peaks may be met by a combination of storage and outside supply, but this will not be decided until later in the design process.
Total US energy use in 2011 was 10.3 kW/person average, and we will allow a 50% increase for a high quality of life and active production. So our first estimate of location power requirements is 15 kW/person. These energy estimates will need extensive updating when more design details are known, and the extent of surplus production and growth. Current use rates can probably be improved upon by efficient design and integration of functions.
  • Temperature and Humidity - The conventional approach is to use a split unit air-source heat pump with excess water drain. Centralized heating and cooling plants are an alternative to the conventional approach of a unit in every building. A ground-source heat pump uses the larger thermal mass of earth and ground water, avoiding supplemental heat for very cold days, and supplying summer cooling capacity. The building design can maximize seasonal use and avoidance of solar energy with passive and simple active devices. This includes window and sun room placement, thermal masses, air or water thermal collectors, and movable reflectors and insulators to increase or decrease heating.
  • Lighting - Windows and window shades are the conventional way to provide natural lighting, with fixed and portable artificial lights for areas that need extra light or at night. Alternatives for natural lighting include skylights or sun rooms (rooms with a lot of exterior glass) to supplement standard windows. Additional options are light pipes (highly reflective tubes), interior glass panels or walls, or fiber optics to bring natural light to interior spaces. For artificial lighting, the current standard is fluorescent, with a tendency towards LED as their prices decrease. There may be some new lighting technology worth investigating.
  • Acoustics - This covers control of the auditory environment. Conventional fiberglass insulation reduces sound transmission from outside and between rooms. Layout of rooms to separate noisy and quiet areas helps avoid unwanted sound. Rock wool or other manufactured sound insulation are alternatives. A modern alternative is active noise cancellation using speakers and sensors to track where occupants are, and computers to generate quiet zones. Acoustics also includes generating desired sounds, often music or entertainment audio channels, but also voice transmission. There are a large variety of sound systems available at low cost, so we will likely not try to design new ones.
  • Emergency Systems - This includes active detection of intrusion, fire, flood, carbon monoxide, and other hazards, and active response by requesting outside help, sprinklers, and other devices. It also includes non-automatic devices like portable extinguishers, fire blankets, breathing masks, and escape ladders. This task also covers design features implemented in other functions, such as fire-rated structural design.


F.2.1.1.2.3 Food and Drink Data[edit]

This section includes data for the Provide Food and Drink function within Habitation. It includes supply of actual food and drink materials for residents and guests, local storage within Habitation areas, food preparation, serving and dining, and disposal of food and drink wastes. The latter does not include human wastes, which are covered later.

Food and Drink Requirements[edit]

  • 2.3 Automation - Along with other Habitation functions, we would like to reduce human labor by 85% if possible. Preparing food is one of the more labor-intensive tasks within Habitation, so we list this requirement under it. The approach to automating this function involves looking at food supply as an integrated system rather than many separate appliances and components. Although we have a goal of automating this task, if residents want to prepare food for their own enjoyment, this should be provided for.

Food and Drink Alternatives[edit]

  • Supply Alternatives - We expect there to be a mix of food produced at the location, and some obtained from outside. This is because some items will be difficult to produce locally due to climate, regulations, or skills and equipment. Beyond the general split between the location and outside supply, is distribution within the location. Food growth can be concentrated in Production areas (i.e. a farm) or mixed into the Habitation areas. The latter can include community or private gardens, greenhouses, green roofs, and productive trees and landscaping, where they serve both aesthetic and useful purposes. To some extent this will be personal preference of the residents.
  • Potable Water Alternatives - The conventional alternatives are local wells or public water supply systems. Local wells must stay within ground water recharge levels to be sustainable. Surface water is an option if available, along with rainfall collection from buildings and drainage runoff. Lastly, recycling any water used throughout the location is an important choice. To make recycling easier, consideration is given to a dual grey/black water return. This separates organic and other chemicals in waste water. Any water aside from public supply systems needs purification and testing for human consumption. We also consider a split supply with drinking quality water for human use, and lower quality for irrigation and production use.
  • Equipment Alternatives - The conventional alternative is purchased kitchen and dining equipment. This includes appliances, cabinetry, furniture, and housewares. Furniture and cabinetry are the easiest to produce locally, followed by ceramic, metal, and glass wares and some electric appliances. Conventional kitchens are not designed for automation or modularity, and design as an integrated system rather than many separate components may produce a better result. Another choice is the degree of centralization. Centralized systems minimize the number of locations to construct and can provide more efficient storage. They don't reduce the volume of storage since human needs are the same regardless of how it is divided up. To maintain our quality of life goal, we prefer to have restaurant level rather than institutional level centralized food supply. One way to approach this is a central kitchen surrounded by different dining areas for different experiences. In addition to feeding residents, centralized systems can also support visitors and guests to generate economic value.
Shared equipment reduces the conventional setup of a complete kitchen in every dwelling. It has full community kitchen areas shared between some number of dwellings and reduced individual equipment. The distributed equipment option is closest to the conventional approach, with a full kitchen in every unit, although perhaps using automated and modular elements. We think the level of centralization and automation for this function will be a strong personal choice, and should allow flexibility in design to accommodate it.


F.2.1.1.2.4 Maintain Health Data[edit]

This section includes data for the Maintain Health function within Habitation. Supply of residents and visitors is an input to this function, and a percentage of human time for labor is an output. Eventually this function must account for demographic changes among the residents, and flow of visitors and guests, but at first we can use static averages. The tasks include supporting basic needs for sleep, sanitation, exercise, cleaning of persons and the environment, and filtering the latter, health monitoring, first aid and emergency services, and local examination and treatment.

Maintain Health Requirements[edit]

We can allocate a large percentage of Habitation risk reduction to this function by providing exercise, cleaning and filtering, and local health monitoring and services. At best we can make such features available, but we cannot force people to use them.

  • 2.3 Cyclic Flows - The goal is to recycle 85% by mass of total location outputs, of which a portion is allocated to functions within Habitation. Water outputs from this and the previous function are likely to be the largest contributor to outputs, so we list the requirement here, but it applies across all of Habitation. Recycled mass is returned to Production to be used again, and the remaining waste mass from all of Habitation needs to be transported elsewhere for disposal.

Maintain Health Alternatives[edit]

  • Sleep - Conventional alternatives for sleep include purchased mattresses of various kinds, bedding, support furniture, and a suitably quiet and dark sleep space. One unit of sleep equipment is needed per person. Every human sleeps on a daily basis, so sleep equipment is ubiquitous, and we therefore do not expect to design new types. We can look at local manufacture of sleep equipment and modify the conventional designs to increase the percentage made locally.
  • Sanitation - Wet flush toilets are the conventional alternative, with chemical cleaning agents. Automated alternatives to keeping the unit clean include heat, water jets, and UV. Dry composting systems or vacuum removal are alternatives to the conventional flush method. This reduces the amount of water contaminated by wastes that then needs to be cleaned again. An alternative to piped sewage is to use holding tanks which are cleaned periodically, and the wastes transported for recycling. Mentioned elsewhere is to separate household cleaning and food/human waste water flows to narrow the range of water contaminants and simplify recycling.
  • Exercise - It is known that exercise is necessary to maintain health. Modern conventional lifestyles, and even more so with highly automated systems like we are attempting to design here, do not require significant exercise, so many people don't get enough. One way to obtain health benefits and reach risk reduction goals is by design of the location to encourage some physical activity. Examples include designing workstations for a standing position and having virtual/remote control use physical motion for input, arranging the location so that walking and bicycling is convenient, and building transport and production systems that use power amplification so the operator is not sedentary. Additionally, active social and athletic/exercise facilities should be included in the location for additional exercise opportunities. We recognize that some people are not physically able to exercise, and others will choose not to, despite it being available.
  • Body Cleaning - The conventional methods include full body bathing/showering, faucet/sink fixtures for partial cleaning, and equipment for oral hygiene and personal grooming (mirrors, lighting, cabinets, supplies). We have not identified alternatives for this task aside from equipment details. Water and mild cleaning agents seem to be the only safe options for this task.
  • Environment Cleaning and Filtering - The outdoor environment naturally includes dirt, dust, and other contaminants, humans shed material, and daily activity creates debris. Since most people want a relatively clean habitation space, there is a need for this function. The first step is to minimize entry of outdoor contaminants. The barriers and sealants and protective clothing tasks under Protect from External Environment help with this. A changing area and direct access to washing at entries, along with entry mats, reduces the amount of dirt carried into the habitation space. In addition to prevention, mechanical and electrostatic air filters can reduce dust levels, and water filters can reduce any contaminants in the incoming water. Cleaning appliances include laundry and vacuum systems. There is an opportunity to automate these functions.
The Earth's surface is full of living things that tend to spread to any unoccupied location, including living spaces. This includes items like insects, mold, and even larger animals. Aside from regular cleaning of interior space, periodic inspection and cleaning of less used spaces like ducts, attics, and crawl spaces should be planned for, and exterior cleaning of buildings and the surroundings. Less accessible spaces like wall interiors need to kept dry and clean by design to prevent growth and infestation, and preferably include a way to access them for inspection at longer intervals.
  • Health Monitoring - The human body has limited means to detect it's internal condition. This task includes periodic self-examination and self-testing. Conventional means include devices like a scale for weighing, and glucose measuring for diabetics. An opportunity here is to improve the sensors and data collection to better monitor health on a continuing basis. Alternatives include heart and motion monitors, and collecting breath and bodily waste samples.
  • First Aid - First aid covers unplanned medical situations, which ranges from minor items like cuts and headaches to life-threatening ones like a heart attack. The conventional alternative is to have first aid kits along with resident training for immediate response, and provision for ambulance and helicopter transport in severe cases. An alternative it to use the remote control technology to provide first response care and begin transport, then meet up with emergency vehicles en-route.
  • Examination and Treatment - Regular health examination and treatment requires special training and equipment, which a community of 660 or fewer residents is unlikely to support on their own. It is a fairly large portion of conventional expenses, so consideration should be given how to reduce them or to automate the tasks. Options include having a nurse or physician among the resident population or participants, and obtaining group health coverage for project members. Since the location will have other features to reduce risk and improve health, this may lower group rates. Otherwise the existing health care system is used as it currently exists. Consideration should be given for alternatives like telemedicine and automated diagnosis and treatment, but the cost of developing such alternatives is likely beyond this project. The location may serve as a test bed for others working on such technology.


F.2.1.1.2.5 Personal Items Data[edit]

This section includes data for the Provide Personal Items function within Habitation. It includes the internal volume for private living and storage space, and community space such as meeting rooms, athletic areas, etc. It also includes contents of this space such as furniture, decorations, and non-protective clothing. The total living space then becomes a design requirement for the Protect and Control Environment functions.

Personal Items Requirements[edit]

  • 1.2 Habitation Scale - The program goal is to provide a high quality of life for a stated number of people, which we interpret partly in terms of ample living space relative to US averages. Numerically we use 200 m2/person divided into 80% private living and storage space, and 20% community space. Part of the private space gets used for the tasks listed under Providing Food and Drink (conventional kitchen and dining), Maintain Health (conventional bedroom and bathroom), and Provide Information (computer and entertainment areas), and the remainder in this function. In calculating living space we do not count ground level landscaping, which is part of the land area. For partly enclosed areas like decks and terraces we count it fractionally according to the number of permanent structural surfaces (floor, roof, and walls). Thus an inset terrace open on one side with sliding panels or windows would count as 5/6 of it's floor area. In terms of height, we will assume 2.5-3.0 meter ceilings as the nominal range. Above 3.0 meters we will use 50% of the excess height as a multiplier to the floor area.

In addition to the nominal occupied capacity of 75 people per year and 660 total, we allow an additional capacity of 5 per year and 40 total of vacant space to account for people in transit, remodeling, guests, and other reasons for space not being actively occupied. Corresponding land allocation is also required.

Personal Items Alternatives[edit]

Part of the Habitation space is assumed to be used during prior phases and construction as temporary offices and storage. As permanent facilities get built, these get moved to permanent site operations and storage spaces.

  • Provide Personal Space - This includes non-specialized interior finishes for floors, walls, and ceilings for all internal space. Specialized means surfaces like tile or stainless steel which are needed in bathroom or kitchen areas for functional reasons. Those are accounted for under their respective tasks. Conventional alternatives include hardwoods, plaster and paint, carpeting, tile, stone, brick, and decorative trim and moldings. The choice of interior finish is personal, so we will assume flexible production according to resident choices, and modular interior units so they can easily be replaced. An example of modular design is to use screw inserts and support framing for gypsum panels so they can be replaced by other interior finishes without destroying them.
  • Provide Personal Storage - The conventional alternative includes closets, shelves, cabinets, and similar storage built into personal living space. For less-used, overflow, or seasonal storage, modular community storage areas can be provided. A modern option is to have the modules portable to ease loading and unloading. Another option, both in private and community areas, is to use sliding, rotating, or lifting storage units to increase storage efficiency and access. For example, basement storage can be on a mobile grid system and delivered by a lift to the living space. Item retrieval would be via selecting it on a tablet device, and waiting for the correct rack to be delivered. The personal and community storage can be integrated with internal transport to provide a complete storage network.
  • Provide Community Space - We allocated 20% of total Habitation space for community areas, which are indoor areas open to all residents and the public. This includes meeting rooms, dining areas, recreational facilities, office, and retail. It also includes outdoor community areas designed into the location. Conventional suburban design separates private and community areas geographically. As an alternative we consider a village model with mixed use or flexible use that can change from private to community, and a site plan that includes both separated private spaces, mixed use areas, and dedicated use areas. To a large degree this will be directed by resident choices, and site planning should accommodate such choices where possible.
  • Provide Furniture and Decorations - This includes movable items not already covered under other functions. These will be almost entirely personal preference. The alternatives will be for residents to bring them when they arrive, purchased from surplus funds, or made locally by Production. Because of the diversity of possible designs, we can supply a design library and plan maximum production assuming all would be made locally. We will assume furniture and decorations amount to 100 kg/m2, which is half of standard residential floor loading, and that 5% of the contents are changed per year. Given 200 m2 of habitation space/person, this becomes a Production requirement of 1000 kg/person/year.
  • Provide Non-Protective Clothing - These are clothing chosen for personal rather than weather or work reasons. The conventional alternative is to simply buy clothing from existing suppliers. Weaving of fabric and sewing garments are very large industries, so producing them locally will be a challenge. One alternative is to supply body scans to generate custom patterns, and have a specialist to do custom work in addition to purchase.


F.2.1.1.2.6 Information System Data[edit]

This section includes data about the Provide Information function within Habitation. Modern computers and networks are very capable and flexible, so we expect to share the same systems across the location for communications (text, voice, and video), education, entertainment, and general information like news and weather. The same systems are also assumed to be shared for internal location design, production control, internal transport, remote location operations, and outside work where possible. IT systems are rapidly changing, so flexibility to update all the system elements should be planned for. For instance, cabling should be installed with room to pull additional lines or replace existing ones without having to dig up the landscape.

We do not expect to design and build our own information system components. Those items are mass produced, relatively inexpensive, and highly specialized. Where we expect to innovate is in how they are integrated by design into a location and community, their physical installation, and custom software for tasks not normally carried out electronically.

Information System Requirements[edit]

There is not a higher level requirement for information passed down to Habitation. Instead, we derive information needs from the goals of Autonomy and Self Production (2.3), a high Quality of Life (2.4), and low Location Risk (6.1). The ability to control and perform most tasks locally leads to a need to communicate outside the location, for example to order food supplies that cannot be grown locally, or do office jobs for outside customers from home. Our concept of a high quality of life includes ample contact with other people, access to education, and entertainment. Lowering location risk includes physical design for safety, such as strength and fire resistance of construction, but also active monitoring and response to hazards, which has an information component.

Information System Alternatives[edit]

  • Outside Network - This includes connections to outside the location, including other program locations. Conventional alternatives include fiber-optic cable, coaxial cable, ADSL, wireless broadband, and satellite. Unconventional alternatives are to build a custom relay tower or provide internal ISP services with a connection to a backbone network. Because of bandwidth requirements for production operations, residences, and remote operations it is likely that fiber-optic cable is the preferred option.
  • Internal Network - This includes connections internal to the location, including non-resident participants. Conventional alternatives include fiber-optic cable, coaxial cable, wireless broadband, and wireless LAN (wi-fi).
  • Processing and Storage - This includes the devices which process and store information. Conventional alternatives include personal computers, servers, network storage, notebooks, tablets, and offsite backups.
  • Displays and Interfaces - This includes stand-alone monitors, 3D displays, interfaces to sound systems, cameras, audio input, motion sensors, and manual input devices (keyboard, mouse, hand controller, data glove, etc.)
  • Safety and Emergency Systems - These are elements which are designed to operate in case of emergency or primary system failure. These systems can overlap with the normal information system elements, but should be designed with hardened and redundant elements which can continue to operate in spite of general failures. This would include multiple links to outside the location, with independent power supply. Examples are battery backup for Habitation safety sensors, and a backup generator for wireless/voice tower.

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