The Shipping Container
A Mesocore home starts out as a newly built structural steel chassis, assembled in a modern automated factory. No old containers are used. This chassis is then fitted with two full bathrooms and a kitchen with all finishes, fixtures and appliances installed and tested.
In addition the strength of this chassis enables a 2000 gallon water tank and all equipment for rainwater purification to be factory installed. All remaining construction materials packed into the container allows completion of the house on its slab with no additional deliveries!
Since 1954 containerized shipping has revolutionized the delivery of goods throughout the world and the fully packed Mesocore container is approved for such worldwide intermodal shipments. A single 20 foot container becomes a 1000 square foot Mesocore house, with no conventional container to rent or return.
The Hybrid Advantage
All specialized work, including electrical and plumbing, is completed in the factory. The balance of material and construction on site (exterior wall panels, ceiling and floors, roof membrane and insulation) is prefabricated to be simply lifted and fastened into place by persons needing no construction experience; not even the ability to read a tape measure.
The use of high quality prefabricated materials and advanced technologies, while eliminating costly construction delays from weather, mistakes from ordering, and material and labor shortages assure a quality and adequate permanent house.
This hybrid construction, partly in factory and partly on site, taking full advantage of mass production and sensible site completion is the only practical solution to a worldwide, affordable house.
Off Grid Capable
Mesocore homes are designed to be operated on or off infrastructure “grids” which supply electricity and water.
The rainwater collection system is embodied in an inward sloping roof which catches and funnels water into the reservoir, or cistern, built into the top of the core. This 1100 square foot surface is a single ply roofing membrane which collects water at a rate of 700 gallons per one inch of rainfall. Stored in a 2000 gallon tank, the rainwater is filtered thru 3 cartridge filters and a UV purification light before being distributed to the various plumbing fixtures.
Water is heated by circulating the purified water thru a roof top thermal solar collector and storing it in two hot water tanks.
Electric power is generated by several photo voltaic solar panels shipped within the container core and installed on the roof as the house is expanded on the site. The proprietary rack system allows the panels to be properly oriented to the sun no matter how the house faces. Simple plug-in connectors connect the panels to the prewired systems and storage batteries located in the factory completed mechanical room.
The integrated solar design accommodates up to 18 photo-voltaic solar panels (250watt each), generating 4.5 kilowatts and up to 24 maintenance free, fully charged Absorbed Glass Mat batteries storing some 2400 amp hours, per battery, equivalent to a total of 57 kilowatt hours.
Two thousand gallons of water storage and over 8000 kiloWatt hours of electricity per year, will comfortably support a quality of life in a home with no utility bills.
Sustainable – a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.
Future development must be sustainable, however in smaller projects or in the remote and developing world, the available effort and expertise is often overwhelmed by the greater need for development. The Mesocore concept solves this issue in several ways:
Mesocore uses current sustainable technology for rainwater harvesting and solar energy in a pre-packaged, factory built, tested design, and delivers it anywhere on earth.
During the factory construction of the core recycled materials and new sustainable materials, such as natural linseed epoxies replace petroleum based and other non-sustainable products. In addition, as a permanent home, designed to serve many generations, conventional uses of natural resources are so called ‘good uses of materials’ because they have long term benefits.
Conservation of both water and electric power is enabled, for example, by use of LED low power consumption lighting, super insulated refrigeration and low water use fixtures. Prudent use of renewable resources is an integral part of the Mesocore design.
Photovoltaic solar technology and battery storage continue to become more efficient and affordable and Mesocore is on the leading edge of new developments, assuring the most advanced systems.
Hot water is provided for by separate thermal solar systems. Water is harvested from the rain and distributed to efficient water use fixtures. Sanitary disposal of waste water is matched to the rainfall footprint of the locale and is accomplished by returning such “borrowed” rain water to be recycled into earth’s natural ecosystem.
Strong & Permanent
Mesocore is designed and built to be a permanent home, and should be located in a temperate climate (a zone where long term freezing temperatures do not occur) primarily because of the integral rainwater harvesting system.
The home derives its’ strength from a fully welded steel frame ‘core’ built to a high standard which must resist loads specified for shipping containers. For example each core must support 768,000 pounds (8 containers stacked high) or about 4,800 pounds per square foot in compression, about 60 times more than the average home! Similarly, 15,000 pound racking forces applied to the top corner of the frame demonstrates the impressive resistance to the kind of lateral forces a house must withstand in an earthquake. The steel core of a Mesocore house is capable of withstanding forces from the strongest hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes.
The balance of the hybrid house is built on site with high quality prefabricated construction materials. Although these materials have an enormously strong core to attach to, they are designed to withstand the normal forces encountered by a home in a hurricane and other natural disasters:
Wind load= 145mph, exposure C, which is the highest wind loading requirement in the US. Structural roof live loads exceed 20 pounds per square foot, which is the adequate design value for all temperate climates.
Clearly, affordable is a relative term which must be established within a context applicable to the world market for such homes. In addition, on-going carrying costs must be included. Mesocore can establish a world standard for an adequate affordable home. Consider the cost advantages inherent in the design which do not exist in present day conventional or factory built homes:
To capture high volume Mesocore is a shipping container capable of reaching any market. It is also a singular design with a minimum of options making components and manufacturing methods repetitive. Some 20,000 units per year from a single factory means continuous, automated robotic supported assembly similar to an auto plant.
Purchasing volumes, far exceeding that of normal house construction, lead to integrated designs utilizing new efficient materials and technology.
Suppliers produce sub-assemblies just in time, eliminating packaging, advertising and development costs while saving on delivery costs to a single factory destination.
Overall delivery costs are reduced by including all needed material in the container, with a single delivery, with no ‘wide loads’ or container to rent or return.
The hybrid design captures the best of both efficiencies, in the factory automation and on site using prefabricated materials, sweat equity, and unskilled labor.