Over the years, we have developed and done a lot of experimenting with our EcoShell 1 and our EcoShell 2. Today I want to continue the dialogue about the EcoShell 1.
A really simple dome
Here are the steps involved in the construction of an EcoShell 1: A floor is poured, and the Airform is attached to the floor and inflated. A rebar cage is placed over the Airform’s exterior and embedded in concrete. After the concrete sets, the Airform is deflated and removed from the dome’s interior.
To complete the shell, that interior surface is then hand-plastered. The resulting EcoShell is extremely tough and durable. It will last for centuries with minimal maintenance. It has become our favorite low-cost structure.
In much of the developing world, labor rates are so low that it’s foolish to use high-dollar equipment to apply concrete. Most people of the world know how to work with concrete. For the EcoShell, it’s simply a matter of hand-applying the layers of concrete on the exterior to create the dome’s shell.
The wonderful thing about the EcoShell is its inherent strength. Because of the strength achieved by the shell’s shape, generally two or three buildings of equal size can be constructed with the same amount of building ingredients, as compared to square-shape buildings. In most parts of the developing world, labor is a fraction of the cost of materials. This means that the materials just go two to three times further for building structures. And by using Basalt rebar/roving in place of traditional steel reinforcement, we reduce overhead costs in material two-fold.
Again, a simple Airform can be used for a hundred buildings. That means the forming cost per building is almost negligible.
Obviously, a fan to inflate the Airform must be used, but that fan is the same fan that is used in a commercial car wash. It’s small and compact and takes very little power. It just pushes pressure to hold the Airform while concrete is being applied.
It’s truly sad to see people having to rebuild a house, virtually from scratch, every few years simply because the materials cannot withstand nature’s forces, rot and rain.
A tornado, hurricane or earthquake often destroys most structures. But a concrete thin shell EcoShell, in most cases, will have little or no problem surviving.