How to Make Your Own Basic Shelter with Super Green SIPs
Eric Pante, the designer of the unique building system, set a rigorous set of goals and met nearly all of them in prototyping his Basic Shelter Kit.
His primary concern was with making affordable and easily erected shelters for disaster relief operations like after earthquakes and hurricanes.
With this in mind he developed a list of attributes to design towards: having a minimal number of components, with no part weighing more than 30 lbs, with zero waste, and completely recyclable.
All the components had to be reusable, so the building had to be able to be disassembled and reassembled easily to be shipped and installed at new locations.
It had to be accessible, so all the parts to build a 120 sq foot shelter had to cost under $2,000 and be able to fit in the back of a pickup, with nothing longer than 10 feet or wider than 4 feet. The components to build 12 shelters, each 120 square feet, must fit in a standard 40 foot container.
The finished building had to withstand 100 mph winds, 2 feet of snow and moderate earthquakes, as well as be wind and watertight and well insulated.
Here’s his solution. He built his own metal SIPs or structural insulated panels.
Two basic panels are the building blocks: Here he is bending the metal exterior part of his SIP wall panel, which will contain 1 1/2″ foam sandwiched inside for insulation, and the other side of the SIP will be finished with a 1/8″ interior wall panel.
Here you see his homemade structural insulated panel in birds eye view, with the foam inside
The panels are connected together on the interior wall using these ‘c’ shaped clips he devised to slide over the special bent flanges he made to finish the metal exterior of the SIPs.
The effect is quite chic. And the SIPs are made with no waste. This is just the proportions you get if you chop up the standard sizes of the materials, the metal, the foam, and the interior wood, leaving nothing over.
Here you see how the metal curves over the flanges connecting the SIPs.
I would love to know if these gorgeous practical SIPS turn out to insulate as well as expected. Even for non-disaster buildings, but just practical, affordable, super easy-to-build-with SIPS, I think Plante is really on to something great here.
The easy-to-carry proportions turn out to be really easy on the eye too. I love the way this structural element looks. Oh, and the failure in this designer’s mind? That he couldn’t build it for $2,000, and put the first prototype together in 8 hours.