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The Github for eco-housing builds $25k homes in just five days

Open Building Institute - Introductory Video
Going green can be hard. But operating under the assumption that team work makes the dream work, one very innovative couple is hoping that by way of collaboration, we can reduce our carbon footprint. Marcin Jakubowski and Catarina Mota are the great minds behind the Open Building Institute. Think of it as the Github for green housing — it’s described as an “open source eco-building toolkit to make the construction of ecological housing easier, cheaper, [and faster],” and available to just about anyone. And now, it’s on Kickstarter.

Completely free to use and modify, the OBI toolkit promises to enable its users to “design a house and/or greenhouse — that respects the planet and can be expanded as your needs and family grow — using a library of modules that fit together like building blocks.” By way of instructionals and training programs, the Institute says that it can help anyone to “organize the rapid-build of a house loaded with ecological features.” Most impressive of all, the majority of the designs can be built within five days. And yes, they’re all eco-friendly.

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“All of the technology for building an autonomous house exists, it’s just a matter of harnessing them all in one roof,” Jakubowski told Co.Design. “A large number of experts have that knowledge, but typically to pull that knowledge together means the design itself is expensive and the components are expensive.” And that’s where OBI comes in.

The cost of a “starter home,” which comes in around 700 square feet, is about $25,000, the OBI team says. And as far as who takes care of the actual building, the Institute notes, “Builds can be executed by a contracted crew, a group of friends and relatives, or using a social production model. In this social production model, builds are structured as educational experiences and take place in the context of training workshops.”

So what’s the point of the Kickstarter? The $80,000 will help “fund the necessary steps to make our building system widely replicable,” OBI says on its campaign page. After all, such knowledge is meant to be shared. So if you’re looking to join the green revolution, this may just be the cause to contribute to.

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