Our Not-So-Secret Master Plan
REDUCE THE COST OF HOUSING BACK DOWN TO 2.5X MEDIAN INCOME.
As you know, the initial Geoship product is a set of two regenerative geodesic domes that interconnect. However, you may not know that our long term plan is to build a wide range of structures, including affordably priced family homes in regenerative villages. When we say our north star is “a more beautiful geodesic world” we mean communities of people living together in harmony with the natural world.
Our strategy for getting there starts with introducing a geodesic dome without compromise. This is a critical part of our strategy, because the geodesic dome is iconoclastic, maximizes efficiency (for a single family home), and has always been difficult to build using conventional materials. It’s also critical because we’re dying to live in regenerative geodesic domes.
“[Our challenge is] to make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.”
– Buckminster Fuller
The total build cost of our market-entry domes will be $160 to $270 per sqft. You might think this is not so affordable. You’re right. It’s not affordable. On a per square foot basis it’s considered upper standard to semi-luxury, in most states. Geoship domes will save you money in operational costs, lifetime maintenance, and disaster resilience. Going small or doing your own installation, can make the domes more affordable. But for many people, the purchase price will be unaffordable (for a while).
The Rising Cost of Construction
They’ve been building boxes with lumber, nails, and concrete since the 1800’s. Over 80 million here in the US. Of those 80 million houses, about 90% were built on-site with a standard process. The other 9.9% were built off site, but with similar materials and processes. You’d think that after building 80 million wood boxes over 100+ years, the industry would be getting faster and more efficient.
But they’re not. Box building reached maximum yield in the 1950’s when they were building 2 million new houses per year, with a build time of 2 months, at a cost of 2.5x median income.
Today, they’re building half the number of homes, the build time is 3x longer, and the cost is double. The industry can’t even build starter homes anymore without government subsidies. The median age of homes in the U.S. is 37 years old.
Show a line chart here with COST on the left vertical axis, and SPEED on the right vertical axis. Show time on the horizontal axis. Note that Cost = Price:Income Ratio. Note that Speed = Average Permit to Completion Time. Show this table below the chart (transpose the table so that year is across the top.
Homes For The Domeless
Like all new production technologies, the cost of ceramic injection molding will come down with efficiencies of scale. We’re starting at the upper end of our market, with a plan to scale rapidly and drive down costs. Through our homes for the domeless program, we’re also starting at the lowest end — forming partnerships with private corporations and governments to build transitional villages for people experiencing homelessness. By purchasing a dome, you make affordable regenerative villages possible for the next generation and support the building of homeless villages for people who need it the most.
Read More About Our Plan to Serve Homeless Communities
Reducing PRODUCTION COST BY 50%
The efficiency of injection molding ceramic parts increases (a lot!) as we scale. Geoship production technology becomes highly automated, reducing the direct labor portion of production by at least 60%. Raw material costs will decrease with scale and waste stream reclamation. The ceramic panels will become stronger and lighter as our material science advances. With all these factors working in our favor, we believe we can reduce the base price of ceramic homes by 50% over the next 11 years.
Reducing INSTALLATION COST BY 50%
Our installation cost includes everything for a turnkey home — foundation, assembly, electrical/mechanical systems, and all finish work. We train generalist crews who are able to complete the entire installation, start to finish. We partner with artists, craftsmen, and innovative companies to develop a cottage industry around the ceramic homes.
Because Geoship offers a finite number of modules that can be configured in an infinite number of ways, we believe it’s possible to reduce installation cost by 50% as we scale. Owner-builders will be able to do some of the installation work to save more money.
Reducing LAND COST BY 50%
Long term affordability requires that we address the cost of land. Market speculation continually inflates the price of this sacred resource. One solution is community land trusts. We bring communities together to share in the cost of purchasing and stewarding land through the trust.
We form Real Estate Investment Trusts to fund the land or a whole village. As we start full production, we’ll engage our investor and customer communities to build a number of alternative trust templates.
Let’s take a moment to address some of the common arguments against domes and geopolymers.
There’s a good reason that everyone is living in boxes.
After Buckminster Fuller invented the geodesic dome, there was a dome-building craze driven by the 1970’s “back to the land” movement. Shelter publications seminal essay on “Domebuilder Blues” presents several arguments for why not to build domes. Domes are a) hard to build, b) waste material, c) are prone to leaking, d) hard to make code compliant e) hard to divide for privacy, f) hard to fit furniture into, and g) have “excellent” acoustics.
Buckminster Fuller and friends did not have chemically bonded ceramics, 3D printers, or CNC milling machines. The injection molded parts are easy to assemble and generate practically zero waste. The molecular bonding ability of this new family of ceramic materials prevents leaks. Every dome is engineered to comply with the international residential building codes. We address the other perceived shortfalls of domes by connecting multiple domes, using more flexible and open floor plans, and applying cellular ceramic acoustical treatment.
Geopolymers are not renewable like wood
There are many geopolymer recipes that can be used in Geoship factories. Our first wave of domes will be made with a magnesium phosphate based material. Compared to a standard wood box of equal floor space, we estimate our domes will reduce embodied energy by 3x and operational energy by 7x. This is without waste stream reclamation. When raw materials are reclaimed from wastewater treatment facilities, phosphogypsum waste piles, coal plants, and seawater desalination plants, these numbers improve.
Read More About Geoship Sustainability
In a nutshell, the master plan is:
Build incredible domes.
Use that market to end homelessness in the USA.
Use that scale to crater the cost of housing.
While doing that, raise the bar for success in homebuilding.
Don’t tell anyone.