Today at West Coast Green 2009, Green Horizon showcased their new SFH40 on-demand housing, and it's an impressive unit. Designed to be a self-sustaining home for a family of four, it can be shipped anywhere in the world in a standard shipping container and set up in less than two hours by unskilled people. Each unit has two bedrooms with built in furniture, a bathroom, and a kitchen area. But it's also designed to be a self-sustaining shelter in the aftermath of a disaster when infrastructure may be damaged, so it includes solar panels and batteries, a bio-diesel generator as backup, and water purification equipment. Units can be interconnected to share power and water.
Each unit has water storage tanks, so it can be shipped with water and ready to support a family when it's set up. After a unit is delivered to a site, legs are lowered to level and support it. The structure widens to 13 feet, plus a deck folds out, making for a fair sized living space. At 13×40 feet, it's definitely a lot bigger and nicer than a FEMA trailer.
But the improvements don't stop there. The units are going to be made from 100% recyclable or recycled materials, and the goal is to have them be zero-impact and fully self-sufficient. Units can be stacked while loaded within a container. And they also have wheels and a trailer yoke and are DOT certified, so they can be moved to a new location after delivery using a 3/4 ton pickup.
The SFH40 is is the first in a series of containerized disaster relief units envisioned by Green Horizon president and CEO, James Pope. Even before Hurricane Katrina, he imagined a housing unit that would fit in a container and could be shipped anywhere as needed. Like many people, he was shocked by the devastation that hurricanes Katrina and Rita left in their wake and wanted to help. But he was also saddened by the slow response, and the now infamous trailers that caused some occupants to get sick. RV trailers just weren't designed for long-term living. He knew he could do better and used his early experience developing SIPs to create a prototype unit.
Besides units providing shelter for families affected by disaster, Green Horizon has designed units to help support disaster relief teams. The full line includes an administrative unit, a bunk house for relief workers, a commissary, a community center, and a medical unit, all engineered and built to be low impact. The units are designed to form the center of a hub for a disaster relief team, and as with the housing units, can be interconnected to share power and water.
After a disaster, units can be cleaned and put back into storage. If part of a unit is damaged, the modular design makes it easy to remove the component and repair or replace it. Green Horizon will have factories in Missouri, Germany, and a main factory in Stockton, California. Although it's inland, Stockton is a port city, and from there, units in containers can easily be shipped anywhere as the need arises. Rather than being exposed to the elements, storing them in containers means the units can be in storage for extended periods until needed.
Final pricing hasn't been set, but is expected to be around $89,000 if bought in larger volumes (and $120,000 for smaller volumes). Green Horizon plans to be able to store up to 600 houses in containers in a secure facility in Stockton. Other units could be stored in various places around the country and around the world, ready to deploy when disaster strikes.
[+] More Photos of SFH40 on Flickr by Gene Anderson.