Extreme Green Living - Floating Homes!
Floating homes are not a new idea. In the 1950s loggers or other homeless people would just tie pieces of floating wood together and fashion rustic homes. They were not luxurious by any means. It was a way to survive. The idea has gained popularity over the last several years as people began to realize the effects of flooding and the threat of a lack of land. Amsterdam has lost 20% of it's land mass due to rising water levels. Entire cities have been constructed on water.
Floating homes are not the same as a houseboat. A house boat propels itself forward and can move around. A floating home is generally anchored down and it doesn't double as transportation. The importance in this distinction is how you can purchase them if you need financial backing.
You can get a mortgage - and possibly one that you can also refinance after several years. Typically the lender will ask for about 20% down. There are few lenders that work with this type of home loan.
There are floating home communities that have been around since the 1950s. At one time, it was a trendy thing for celebrities to purchase. There have been communities that were groups of artists and hippie's. Soho on water. There was much dissension between people that lived in the area and the floating communities in Sausalito and a battle became inevitable as citizens tried to push the floaters out to build hotels or other buildings. It was at this point that the Floating Homes Association was formed. It is currently a group of more than 400 volunteers and they stick together and help to protect their communities in every way.
Here are a variety of just a few floating home communities.
Self Sustaining Floating Home
The Home of the Future?
Floating homes are increasing in popularity because they make a sensible alternative to buying property. Land is literally disappearing as it is covered by water. Threats of flooding and injuries due to disastrous weather have prompted designers to take a look at the practicality of floating homes.
Bamboo is a very cheap, easily grown and available. It also floats very well in an up or down motion. It would be a much safer and cost effective means of housing. Floating homes are also not difficult or expensive to build. As one environmentalist pointed out, it takes about 100,000 years for styrofoam cups to totally disintegrate. That material can easily and cheaply be used to mold into a floating foundation. I see that as a win/win.
Some floating homes can cost millions of dollars. They are used as part time residences but there are also people who use this as a means of living off the grid. The video clip I included is of a couple of artists and the village they built for themselves. They live there full time and the home is completely self sufficient.
Solar panels and generators are common ways to power these vessels. Many people pump the water in from several feel under the surface of the water and boil it before they drink it. I read about some people who only use a generator to warm their shower water or they bathe in the clear blue water as their area is more secluded. They use a wood burning stove for heat and the firewood floats right up to the door.
"All human beings are also dream beings. Dreaming ties all mankind together." ~Jack Kerouac
It's Just Julie's House!
This engineering firm has designed an interesting prototype for a city! These homes are built on sturdier foundations. They can float and move independently at will or lock together like Lego pieces to form a stationary unit. The problems that are being worked out are related to power and self sufficiency. They admit there are large obstacles to overcome but it is not impossible.
Cities such as this would be practical for numerous reasons. Disasters that occurred such as in New Orleans was the inspiration for this particular design. These homes are buoyant and would be constructed to withstand the rough weather or move away from it any threats.
I would be interested in living this type of lifestyle and I have a friend, Julie that owns a floating home. She does not live in her floating home. It is more of a summer retreat for her family but I asked her about what it is REALLY like to live in this kind of home and I wondered if it would be comfortable accommodations for everyday living and here is what she said.
Floating homes require more maintenance than a typical land based home due to wear and tear. In my friends area, there are many spiders and mosquitoes that visit. They don't cause any issues other than being a nuisance. Floating homes do move during storms or if the water gets really choppy. The anchor to her home was loosened once and her home was found floating in the middle of the lake! Another boat owner retrieved it and tied it down for her.
I looked all over the internet to find out what the con's to this type of living were. The only complaints I found were of people that reported they have to carry their groceries down a dock. They all agreed it was worth this way of life for them. Each community appears to help and support each other and many agree that it is a matter of "birds of a feather."
This seems to be a very exciting way to live. It could be the home of the future for us all!
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