Flatpack Ikea for Houses to Combat Australias Housing Affordability Crisis

Tiny Homes: The way of the futureFlatpack “Ikea for houses” claims to be the answer to Sydney’s housing shortage problem.Source:SuppliedIT’S DESCRIBED as “Ikea for houses” and it claims to be the hero we have all been waiting for to save us from the housing affordability crisis in Sydney.Big World Homes is a flatpack tiny home that it’s founder, Sydney architect Alex Symes, said will combat Sydney’s housing supply shortage and bridge the gap from renting to home ownership for younger generations.“We’re excited to be launching one of the most progressive, socially oriented, community driven housing projects that Australia has ever seen, at a time when new options in affordable housing have never been more vital,” Mr Symes said.“A transitional housing product that offers a solution to people currently unable to get into home ownership will completely disrupt the housing industry in a way we’ve never seen before.”Alex Symes, founder of Big World Homes.Source:SuppliedJust the same as Ikea furniture, would-be homeowners can build their own tiny home from a flatpack, using just a hammer and drill. The one bedroom, 13.75-square-metre home, which comes on the back of a trailer so it is technically classified as a registered vehicle, will then allow them to live on the cheap and off the grid.Off-grid meaning “it has all photovoltaic cell [solar cells] and water systems so you can literally just roll up to a location and start living — without having to plug into anything, not even a power socket,” as Dr Joanne Jakovich, the urban innovation expert heading up the not-for-profit organisation behind Big World Homes, Big World Communities, explained to news.com.au.The home is made from structural-thermal-waterproof panels. It includes solar panels providing electricity, running water sourced from in-built rainwater tanks, and gas cylinders for cooking and hot water.The Big World Home is slightly bigger than an average caravan, which measures about 12 square-metres.The interior of the first constructed Big World Home, to be on show at The Sydney Architecture Festival.Source:SuppliedCosting $65,000 to own and live in one of the flatpack homes, Big World Homes said it can cut up to 80% of the typical costs of a stand-alone home. The largest savings coming from land costs, as these Big World Home communities will be using unactivated land in urban centres to live on.“The concept is that you would be able to work with a developer that has acquired land and is in the process of deciding what to do with it — applying for DAs [development applications], designs, proposals and that sort of thing,” Dr Jakovich told news.com.au.“This might work in with either [the developer’s] branding approach to how they build a community and community rapport. It might also work in with their corporate social responsibility programs.”Construction of the first Big World Home.Source:SuppliedThe reason behind targeting unactivated development land in urban centres allows would-be homeowners the option to stay living in the city and close to work. But Dr Jakovich hopes there will be other opportunities to source land in the city, such as schools and community groups. The not-for-profit Big World Communities will be responsible for developing partnerships with developers, councils, community groups and individual landowners to locate off-grid homeowner communities on unused land.“I think there is a real opportunity with a Big World Homes community ... If you curate the scenario both with the land and the different facilities and amenities next to or on that site, you can bring a lot of value onto the land and activate it and get people thinking about old, leftover sites very differently,” Dr Jakovich told news.com.au.As a transitional housing alternative, Dr Jakovich said she expects people to be living in a Big World Home community for two to five years, after which they can sell back their home to Big World Communities, in a program the not-for-profit is currently setting up.The construction of a second ‘add-on’ modular. Owners can continue to add space, or extra bedrooms, as their families grow.Source:SuppliedWhen asked how the initiative plans to counteract negative perceptions of a transient community of trailer-like homes, Dr Jakovich told news.com.au that the feedback they received at the construction of the first tiny home, ahead of its official launch at the Sydney Architecture Festival today, shows how receptive people are to the idea.“It is a very designed product. Many people who have walked in there today have said it is nothing like a caravan. They have said it feels like a small apartment. It feels like they are living in a beautiful apartment in Tokyo with all the timber and the natural light.“There is also the communities angle — so actually curating nice communities. We are really imagining them as places of the future that bring out the best in people. It is like curating a festival for two years. We are actually really thinking through the details of how to make positive and rewarding lives.”The one bedroom home measures 13.75-square-metres, which is slightly bigger than an average 12 square-metre caravan.Source:SuppliedBut what will be the ultimate success of the initiative, according to Dr Jakovich, is that they are offering a creative solution to a very real problem.“We looked at [intergenerational inequity] very broadly and thought if we are to continue the tradition or the notion of ownership in our Australian society, we actually need to think of much more creative and lateral ways for that younger generation to transition into ownership.“You cannot simply just afford to save for a deposit anymore. If you are out on your own and you’re not living with mum and dad, then the cost of renting is actually too high.”

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Forget efficiency; it does not matter. I see you shaking your head. Efficiency does not matter! If you are sending a satellite into space you probably want the lightest cells possible (maybe not the most efficient). At home, what matters is how much energy you get versus how much money you spend. If you have a backyard full of weeds and rocks, you might cover it with cheap panels that are low efficiency and get a lot of energy. Do the math for your situation.1. Why do we not put solar panels on cars?Because whatever is on the roof rack would render them worthless2. Which are the best and cheapest solar panels available today?I am assuming you mean electric panels? If you mean water heating, ask again with another question. This really depends on what you consider "best". The most power efficient commercial panels come from Sunpower, but at a cost premium. They do not sell to consumers, so you would get them installed by a professional. The most cost efficient panels probably some from First Solar. They do not sell to residential or commerical installations at all, as far as I know, only to utility-scale generators. Among panels that you or I can buy, if it's crystalline silicon, I would go by price per watt alone. The warranties among serious panels are very much the same. You can shop the internet for best price yourself. Thin film panels will be cheaper, and if you have an application that does not have to last, that might be best for you. The only company I ever heard about having quality problems with crystalline silicon was Kyocera, and that was over 10 years ago. The company was very good at taking back defective panels, and ironically, I just got a flyer this month touting how reliable Kyocera panels today are in STRIFE (high heat and humidity) testing, compared to their competition. The panels on our roof are from Mitsubishi, and have given no trouble over the last 5 years. But again, if I had to do it all over again, I would go by price.3. What's the life expectancy for new solar panels?You wo not have them paid for before you have to replace them4. How many 45 w solar panels needed to power a 1500 watt heater?You would need at minimum 34 running at maximum to even fire up the 1500 watt heater. To determine how many solar panels and batteries that are needed would depend on how long you need to run the heater and how many hours of full sunlight per day to charge the batteries. Personally I wouldnt try to run a heater off such a small solar panel.5. Is it worth installing solar panels on a rental home?No. It's too expensive for a renter to install on a property. If an owner is installing it, then it might be worth it. But it will take time to see any benefit. Local priorities matter...location matters. Around here it would not benefit. Arizona desert areas are good. Do some research. There are plenty of options. Not all are worth installing, but some are. Also consider batteries. You want to store any unused electricity IF you are getting that much. Consider disposal. When stuff wears out can you throw it away? What is it cost to get rid of it? Again think of batteries...very expensive disposal.6. Why don't they build acres and acres of Solar panels to Supply power to the US?Initial cost coupled with storage and transmission costs. Solar is an energy unlike coal with coal it would be inefficient if we each had our own power plant but with solar if it is to be done it would be most efficient if everyone were their own power plant.7. How come new homes aren't built with solar panels?I think you answered the question your self. Many people still think that "Go Green" is "nonsense". And I agree8. how much do solar panels cost and r thay worth buying?Whether you get a check for excess power generation depends on where you live. Some places in Texas will do that, the largest 3 utilities in California will not. The bottom line is that you should not expect solar panels to be a moneymaker. They may or may not be a money saver in the long run, depending on your situation. Solar hot water can pay back in a few years, if it displaces an electric water heater, and if it's in a location that is generally warm. Solar electric usually takes longer to pay back, if ever. The best payback is for those who have expensive electricity already, and are also in a sunny area. As an example, our system cost $12k net, and saves us about $600 / year in electricity (i.e., all our usage). It will take 20 years to pay back the installation cost, but I admit we did it for more reasons than the financial.
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