FLOATEC project develops new floating house technology for low-lying countries
Venice may soon be sharing its "Floating City" moniker thanks to a research project developing "amphibian houses" that are designed to float in the event of a flood. The FLOATEC project sees the primary market for the houses as the Netherlands, whose low-lying land makes it particularly susceptible to the effects of rising sea levels. Such housing technology could also allow small island-states in the Indian and Pacific Oceans that are at the risk of disappearing in the next 100 years to maintain their claim to statehood through the use of artificial, floating structures.
The lead research partner in the FLOATEC project is Dura Vermeer, a Dutch company that over the past 12 years has become a market leader in the floating building market. Although it might seem difficult, Dura Vermeer's Edwin Blom says building a floating house is actually a relatively easy construction process. As you might expect, the secret lies in the foundations, which are made up of multiple layers of light plastic foam supporting the concrete, allowing it to float.
However, the technology used up until now has had limitations as there is a maximum size and weight beyond which a structure loses its buoyancy and simply sinks. To solve this problem Dura Vermeer teamed up with Spanish company, Acciona Infrastructures, and a Spanish engineering consultancy, Solintel, to develop a new way to build floating structures that were simpler, more solid and used lighter materials.
The new building method they developed uses expanded polystyrene (EPS), which Blon says is, "the same kind as is used for packaging and which people are familiar with: little white balls glued together." This modified polystyrene is inserted in multiple layers in between stratums of composite and concrete and divided into beam-like modules that can easily be assembled into a bigger supporting structure a bit like building blocks. The modules are arranged in a floating grid into which the concrete is cast.
Blom says that although the new technology is more advanced than traditional methods, it is still much cheaper as there is a reduction in the amount of material used. "Smaller blocks can now support bigger structures and, in the end, the cost of the whole building is reduced," he said.
FLOATEC is a European R&D project underwritten by EUREKA, an intergovernmental network established to support market-oriented R&D and innovation projects by industry, research centers and universities across all technological sectors.
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Utilities (sewer, water, electric), Roads Transportation (how do you get stuff into and out of the units / or general area), and wind storms, or when the water freezes.
In an area with frequent flooding, homes on stilts would be the way to go, open area underneath and attached floating platform or floating garage for storage of vehicles during flood periods. Both floating and stilts better suited to low density in any case, if the are used something like single family homes.
I just don\'t get it. Some google hits of floating homes that since they exist (or are well underway), they are somewhat workable in their environments, though they may
be more expensive, and less convenient, on a routine basis than some nearby alternatives.
I don\'t think this is intended to be an overnight replacement, it seems to be more of an immediate alternative with long term (100 year)potential for expansion&growth.
As for septic/water/electric/materials, those are not any more difficult than the MASSIVE problems facing many cities concerning issues of decay, landfill overload and insufficient water.
Couplings can be flexible and I personally believe that technology has enabled people to overpopulate areas such as Southern California in entirely unbearable amounts.
Phoenix and SoCal are fighting over the Colorado River, the Salton Sea is a runaway nightmare and meanwhile the Ural Sea is lying in wasted ruins on account of the similar abuses of water and irrigation.
My point is that more responsible management of resources, (both public and private) personal alternative energy&composting/incinerating toilets are essential to the future well-being of man&planet.
I would assert that more efficient/effective personal dwellings/places of business are definitely part of the answer.
Blind,mindless mass expansion of metropolitan areas is a huge part of the problem.
The Southern California area was virtually uninhabited 111 years ago.
If the water/electric/septic/trash services all were temporarily disabled, what would happen?
Remember: New Orleans was largely evacuated when the levees failed.
Even if you had the warning and the willingness to evacuate SoCal,where would everybody go?
In summary, I am simply saying that utter mass dependence on central services and distribution with no contingency plan is neither safe,healthy nor advisable- in good times or bad.
More personal responsibility and less dependence on central services is better all the way around.
This is not an overnight proposition neither,on a personal note, do I think that it should it be done for the lazy or the parasitic.
HOWEVER- if smaller remote \"island nations\" rise to the challenge, maybe they can learn from the larger over-populated/overindustrialized population centers and pursue a more balanced sustainable manner of living that is more in harmony with their surroundings.
Maybe we can all learn something and not just have to find out the hard way- before it\'s too late.
To make this idea viable, you need: - every house designed to float - each house with an emergency boat to get around in - floating shops (for food) - floating usable gas/petrol stations to keep boats and generators running - a slow flow rate of water in and around your area - good re-supply for shops,fuel stations - sewage and clean water delivery system that works during floods
Having said that- electricity, clean water, and sewage are all the same problem that can be fixed with a simple room in the house that is a biomass digester combined with a Honda 5kw multifuel compressed gas generator.
Add a small rubber raft with an electric engine, and your emergency transportation is assured.