Meet infrastructure requirements in an environmentally friendly way
In almost every industry the trend is towards smaller, customer-specific, agile and modular capabilities. In the real estate sector, too, we are now seeing planned developments in which retail, office and residential are next to each other. And wherever such approaches are used, they lead to better, more robust products. They improve the lives of their residents and others who work or attend the community.
But we still have massive infrastructure that dominates our cities. Huge water / sewage systems, regional power generation, and massive supply chains are often fragile, as we saw recently.
However, the technology has developed so far that we can meet all of these infrastructure requirements flexibly, locally and in a much more environmentally friendly manner. We can create sustainable communities that are cleaner, healthier and more liveable.
To truly create a sustainable community, we need to address both the individual buildings and the infrastructure that the community supports. The communication infrastructure has already evolved from wired connections to wireless connections. There are movements to locate additional infrastructure elements such as electricity, water and food.
In previous articles for Think Realty, I talked about 3D printing for houses. The technology is now there to build a beautiful, well insulated, fireproof, mold and mildew resistant, earthquake and storm resistant, carbon negative and net zero home. While all the technologies have yet to be combined in a single project, a mix of 3D printing, panel construction and volumetric module could enable luxury homes to be built in a matter of days. This approach will cost less (maybe up to $ 100,000 less for a 1,500 square foot home) and use sustainable and renewable biomass like hemp as the bulk of the material.
Since 3D printing can print any shape, we can design houses that have more natural shapes (straight lines aren’t natural). We can design houses that are more aesthetically pleasing and more comfortable. And we can design neighborhoods that follow natural design patterns like the golden mean, fractals, and spirals.
But in many areas of the country, other factors such as water, electricity or sewage limit the possibility of building new homes. To complement the buildings themselves, we need to create an infrastructure that doesn’t rely on massive, centralized projects.
To provide electricity, alternatives such as Marshall Energy’s “Switch Fuel Device” use a variety of fuel sources including wind, biofuel, solar energy and electromagnetic energy. These devices can be used at the neighborhood or small town level to meet the entire power demand for the local area. One device can support 1,000 households. In essence, technology like this can be the powerhouse for development and does not require expensive expansion of existing utility companies or subject to major political factors that can cause a community project to fail.
Similar to the issue of electricity, water supply can be a major challenge, especially in the southwest. In many cases municipalities will not expand because they do not have the capacity to provide additional water. And the ability to drill new wells is limited by water rights and exhausting aquifers. But there are technologies like the atmospheric tsunami water generator, which can take water directly from the air to supply individual houses or small neighborhoods. The air naturally distributes water as moisture, and there are trillions of gallons of water in the atmosphere. These systems are efficient and come in a variety of sizes that can meet the water needs of a home to a neighborhood or small town. These devices can function even in environments with low humidity (up to ~ 7%). Providing water from the atmosphere eliminates the need for water rights and dependence on city water. And the water produced is pure and usable for everything you need.
As we saw during the COVID pandemic, disasters can lead to food shortages. The transport of food can collapse. But even in good times, the long-distance transport of food places demands on harvest and processing that reduce the quality of the food in terms of nutritional value and taste. New growing techniques, including hydroponics and vertical growing, enable high density food production that can be housed in a relatively small space. Local residents can grow their own food in a communal area or help others grow the food locally. This approach eliminates the problems of food transportation and can meet much of the community’s food needs. The food is of higher quality and tastes better. And the community’s connection with the land improves mental health and reduces stress.
By combining all of these techniques to create a community, we can have a comfortable place to live that is largely self-sufficient and resilient to disasters and external trade. This agile, sustainable community is also a great place to live and work. There are several groups working to make this community concept a reality. The World Homes Initiative begins its endeavors in the American Southwest, as does the Hemp Powered Community, which is focused on seed-to-home development, with farming, processing and construction done on site. These prototypes can be duplicated worldwide to address housing shortages everywhere and reduce the impact on the climate. Who is ready to live in a sustainable community?
Steve Streetman is a real estate consultant who specializes in structuring deals and using cryptocurrency. Look for his book, “Cryptocurrency and Real Estate: How to profit as Bitcoin and Blockchain transform Real Estate Investing,” which is now available on Amazon in paperback and e-book. Further information can also be found at https://www.CryptoREBook.com. Contact him for more information on the World Homes Initiative or the Hemp Powered Community.