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oregonchick

Homes/storage out of repurposed pallets

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I came across this project that was created for an exhibition in Prince Charles' royal gardens, of all places. It was sponsored by a couple of corporations and an environmental organization, and the net result was a 250-sq-ft house that could be built in under a week by 4-5 people, using 100 pallets and simple hand tools.

 

http://www.i-beamdesign.com/projects/refugee/refugee.html

 

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On its face, it's an incredibly valuable humanitarian idea. The pallets we create in the U.S. in 1.5 years could house over 33 MILLION refugees, and this is a practical building material in areas where they are receiving international aid that will arrive on pallets. The number of pallets that are currently dumped into landfills EACH YEAR in the U.S. could actually create housing for 40,000.

 

From a prepper standpoint, this could be a good jumping off point for creating outbuildings at BOL - chicken coops, tool storage, bath house, etc. You use tarps to hold wattle material together (think mud, twigs, rocks, concrete, etc. that is used to cover and fill in the pallets, creating insulation and protection from the elements). Once it was well and truly sealed and the wattle sufficiently dried, it would be a fairly snug enclosure - and certainly a huge step up from a tent or lean-to. Depending on what you used to create the wattle, it may actually be rather durable in terms of fire and being fired upon!

 

There are actually a few models of pallet houses shown on the site, some that are as large as 1,600 square feet. But you could certainly cluster together a group of these into a more traditional home set-up (with a living area, kitchen, bedroom, etc.). It would also be useful if you just had pallets and directions on hand in case you wound up taking in more people after TSHTF than you initially had rooms/beds for.

 

Even buying the supplies yourself rather than constructing from found/salvaged materials, the structure would cost around $400 to build. It's certainly worth considering for those of us who are prepping on a budget.

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I wonder, taking this idea a bit further, how well being partially buried would work with this system, or the possibility of constructing a foundation with root cellar out pallets. That's a good find and a good idea.

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I definitely think some thorough research into what your actual BOL conditions are, available site materials, and so forth, would be necessary. But hopefully you'd do that for ANY potential structure you'd want at your BOL. Having a real foundation (especially with a useful root cellar below) could be fantastic. Or imagine the pallet construction with clear plastic sheeting/clear PVC panels used for a greenhouse?

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I beleve it is a great Idea,but for quick shelter only.Where is the toilet? and the cost of having a water system(catch and the drain)?Rain water runoff is ok but to store and use every day?

I would like to set up one up in the woods for a hunting site or along the Appalachian Trail.

 

Its still a great Idea and works in a pinch..

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I kind of assumed there would be an outdoor privvy constructed elsewhere, away from where you would be concerned about groundwater contamination.

 

By the way, THAT can be really easily accomplished with an empty/old 55-gallon drum as the base for the seat - you dig a deep hole, put in stone or wood footings, then drive the drum in place. Cut a hole in the top of the barrel, overlay with a wood platform and a seat, and you've got a sturdy toilet set-up (obviously, you'd want to build in some flooring, sides, and a roof for comfort/privacy reasons); a few scoops of lime thrown down the outhouse hole will tame the nasty smells, keep bugs at bay and speed up the decomposition of waste. If you have a large number of people who will be using it OR you aren't sure about the availability of lime to keep it under control, cut off the bottom of the barrel before installation so that it can be filtered through the earth. Ashes from campfires and wood stoves can help with smells and aid decomp in that case.

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@PatzerDave, exactly! It's taking a cheap, often overlooked (or discarded) material and finding a way to make it useful. As with most things, it will only be successful if it's used thoughtfully, but cheap BOL buildings are nothing to sneeze at unless you have just won the lottery.

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