Sukup Manufacturing is a small company based in Sheffield, Iowa, which primarily manufactures agricultural products, which includes grain bins. About three years ago, Sukup also began manufacturing grain silo homes to be used as disaster relief housing in Haiti following the devastating earthquake there. They called this grain silo home a Safe T Home, and it was developed in partnership with Global Compassion Network and Iowa residents. In 2012 a shipment of these homes was transported to Haiti where volunteers and residents built the so-called “Village of Hope” from the silos. Safe T Homes proved very successful as relief housing, and they are now also available for purchase in the US through Sukup Manufacturing. Safe T homes can easily be used as vacation houses, or even tiny sustainable homes.
Safe T Homes are made of steel and measure 18 feet in diameter, which translates to 254 square feet of interior living space. The cupola-shaped roof is designed to maximize ventilation and prevent overheating of the home. It is made of high-strength, perforated galvanized steel, and features a continuous eave vent, which keeps rainwater from entering the structure. The houses also come with an optional water-harvesting system, which is capable of collecting 16 gallons of water from less than half an inch of rain.
Solar panels can also easily be fitted to a Safe T Home to take it off-the-grid. The interior of the silo home can also be partitioned to form separate rooms, and, since the roof is raised, there is more than enough space for a loft under the dome.
Since the entire home is made from steel it can be locked down tight for security, which is a useful feature if the home is used as a vacation cabin that is unoccupied for most of the year. The homes also come with planters, which serve the function of acting as ballast boxes to add weight to the structure and ensure it can withstand even very high winds. Food or flowers can also be grown in these planters.
Each Safe T Home is shipped complete with everything that is needed to erect it quickly and easily using only hand tools, which the company provides. All of the sidewall and roof sheets already have the bolt holes pre-punched and aligned and even inexperienced owners should be able to erect it in a day or so.
Prices for a Safe T Home start at $ 5,700 each for non-profit organizations. Since the basic structure has no insulation to speak of, a further investment into flooring and insulating would be needed in case the home is to be used in a colder climate.