a user configurable building system utilising existing 2 litre polyethylene bottles.


It's the real thing.

P.E.T. bottles are structurally strong and can be selectively weighted when filled with sand or liquid.   when sealed empty, air makes an excellent insulation material.  with that in mind, i've created a few new components which mate with the existing 1"-8 standard thread on 2 litre soda bottles.  the bottle screwcaps are used elsewhere to secure bracing bars to adjacent modules.  very little needs to be newly manufactured since the bulk of the building's volume is the bottles themselves.  we are simply providing a way of connecting them in a useful way.   no tools are required for construction.  all components can be disassembled and reused for  reconfiguration or absconding.

the building is grounded by driving an L extrusion stake at each of the four corners onto which the walls attach.   these are braced with more extrusions bolted horizontally between the corners.   the wall sections can be stacked ground up.  the roof section is hinged to the wall section and is designed to be openable for venting.  the weight of the roof and its cable controls, double as a tensioning system for the walls.

the wall modules can be used horizontally to create an at grade floor.  water in the bottles acts as thermal mass to buffer against extreme temperatures.  the ground should be excavated past the walls, leveled, and hard packed with sand.  gravel is used to fill all around to aid drainage and the finish grade sloped away from the house.  an above grade raised floor is also possible when skilled labour isn't available or in uses where the occupants must move the house frequently.

in situations where bottles must be supplied, i suggest that they be factory packaged and shipped with clean drinking water inside.  water supply is not only a high commodity, it is also a necessity to  sustaining a community.   dehydration causes lethargy, headaches, diziness, and confusion . even mild dehydration reduces endurance and impairs concentration.  being able to use the empty bottles as housing materials could justify the cost of importing water, making success in remote locations possible.  the same applies to places where the ground water has been contaminated by surface runoff and nature needs time to detox.  unclean water indirectly causes dehydration and affects daily performance in work.

convenient safe water is the best way to impact rural villagers in the developing world in a positive way. in these places,  the men of the community are usually a combination of hunter/gatherers  minding small agricultural plots of land where they grow crops that typically have been grown in their area for thousands of years. the women and children of the community gather water and  firewood, wash clothes and prepare meals. If there is a rural school within walking distance, the children will attend up to about sixth grade. girls will often stop going to school before sixth grade if there is no private sanitation facility located at the school because of embarrassment due to lack of privacy. 

there are life-changing health ramifications associated with providing water to a community that affects disease, hunger and poverty.  providing a water source for an area of villages also impacts education, business opportunities and personal growth.  it takes a lot of time for women and children to access water in many regions of the world. in africa, water can be many miles away and it takes time to walk that distance carrying a heavy resource such as water (weighing 8.3 pounds per gallon). even in developing countries that have a lot of surface water, villagers often must walk down to a stream that may be hundreds of feet below their village (or likewise up to a spring) and then must walk back to their village carrying water-filled containers up (or down) steep and dangerous hillsides.  women and children can only carry 1 � 3 gallons of water (weighing 8 � 25 lbs) under ordinary circumstances so gathering water several times a day is often required. if clean water were made available at home, women and children would have substantial more time in their lives to allow them the time to pursue things such as an education and to be more productive, for instance by weaving products for sale. so besides impacting disease, hunger and poverty, providing a safe water source also opens the possibilities for higher education and business opportunities, especially for women living in the developing world. there is nothing that comes close to making a positive impact for villagers in the developing world as giving them a safe convenient source of water .  housing may be a concern to some, but they already have temporary shelter.  yet without health and vitality, they could never earn the $300 to buy the homes we are designing.  doctors recommend a minimum of 4-5 litres per day for optimal health, so if a person saves their water bottles for a year that is at least 730 bottles.  between 3 people that is already more than enough to build a house.

cocacola  made the following claim on their website:  "In 2009, The Coca-Cola Company announced a $30 million commitment over the next six years to provide access to safe drinking water to communities throughout Africa through its Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN). Implemented by The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, RAIN will provide at least 2 million Africans with clean water and sanitation by 2015."

let's hold them to their words.  in the course of their business enterprise, water that could be serving people is turned into a product that dehydrates.  would it be so horrible for them to deliver affordable water along side soda pop?  cocacola operates bottling plants in: nigeria, ethiopia, kenya, tanzaniya, mozambique, south africa, and nambia.  they have the necessary infrastructure to distribute bottled tap water.  in 2011 they announced $62 million will be invested over the next 3 years in kenya alone to increase production and distribution capacity.  and per nsonne's request for practical localization, i am basing my project assessment in kenya. 

ironically, kenya's capitol nairobi, takes its name from a maasai word meaning "place of cool waters".  however, demand is outstripping demand and  the majority are paying a high price for it.

getting water to all who need it in nairobi is complicated by the fact that current laws fail to acknowledge informal settlements, and thus impede proper planning in the matter of water provision to these areas. government figures indicate that about 75 percent of nairobi's population of some 2.6 million lives in sub-standard and informal housing. 

there is also the problem of private water vendors operating in the slums who see the government as competition and sabotage official services.  in fact, they get their water through illegal connections to water pipes, at a cost to consumers elsewhere. up to 50 percent of water goes unaccounted for in nairobi, something also ascribed to leakages.

it is estimated that people in informal settlements pay about eight times more for water than those living in wealthier areas.  as of 2011 slum dwellers pay approximately five to fifty cents for a 20-litre jerry can of water, depending on the fluctuating availability.

much of the delivered water is unsafe.  the pipes pass through the sewers.  sometimes they are punctured and the sewage seeps into the pipe mixing with the water. many of these pipes were laid down before independence in 1963, and are showing their age.

10% of kenya's population is homeless and lack of land rights is the reason. unofficial shantie towns exist outside nairobi where the jobs are.  there are over 250 shanties per hectare, with an average of 6 people sharing each room.  there is little or no access to water, electricity, or sanitation.  the shanties are owned by local slum lords who set and collect the rent.  we can lure people away from these shanties by at least providing affordable bottled water.  57% of kenyans have no access to clean water.  they could set up in unincorporated areas and relocate if necessary by disassembling/moving their homes when forced eviction occurs.   let's give them a coke and a smile. otherwise they may soon be living seven up.

because i don't assume labour or any local building materials are free, my house proposal works anywhere in the world.  in cold winter conditions, the walls could optionally be sheathed in mud or snow to further insulate.


cost estimate for basic one room kit consisting of 4 walls a roof and a floor
assuming each bottle is obtained at full market value of $0.05

684 roof bottles= $34.20
1296 wall bottles = $64.80
324 floor bottles= $16.20
-84 door bottles = -$4.20
-12 window bottles= -$0.60
2208 2L PET bottles @$0.05= $110.40

injection moulded ABS plastic connectors
180 triangles @$0.21 =$37.80
381 squares @$0.26 = $99.06
173 stamped steel brackets galvanized @$ 0.18=$31.14
12 heavy duty nylon hinges @ $0.22 = $2.64
2� width L extrusion 72ft @ $0.17 per foot= $12.24
44 nuts and bolts + 48 screws = $4.11
12 sq. ft mosquito netting = $2.60
house kit parts total= $189.59

(bottles + house kit ) total= $299.99
in most cases, the bottles will be free or reused after drinking, so the true cost will be up to $110 less with good planning.  that is more than enough budget to add a standard 24"x 60" prehung wooden door and lock.  anything left over should be spent on polyurethane bushings or house moving casters.  due to ease of assembly, the house is continually upgradable as wealth permits.

NOTE:  what you are looking at are simplified abstractions of the real parts.  there is also a tongue and groove system at play which makes the modules water tight, but i won't display that and other details unless the improbability of winning occurs.