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"Perch House Series" Narrative

environmentally responsible + affordable housing design

by Tim Watson

Imagine you're a storm survivor. A tornado has just leveled your home - and the homes of another 300 neighboring families. Now imagine within 72 hours your own private temporary shelter is set up for you nearby. What you don't know is the day is coming when you'll want to continue living in this new shelter. To you and your family Perch House has become the home of choice. Why?

Perch House is a comfortable housing unit capable of being independent of all utility services. It uses technology making it easy to cook, refrigerate food, and heat using locally replenishable energy sources. The Perch House Series is highway transportable. It uses non-toxic low VOC materials. Perch House can be totally disassembled, it's reusable, and it's expandable. It collects its own rainwater. The Perch Core Module is relatively small sized - comparable to a standard 24 foot trailer's indoor space, and almost twice this size including its accompanying 'all seasons'* deck. When you are ready to expand beyond your initial Perch Core Module, we've designed a series of add-on modules. In other words, this house offers additions designed to be joined to the Core Module. That means you can opt to comfortably expand living space as well as enjoy the added benefit of ADA accessibility. Later, once you've decided Perch House is better than your original home ever could be, you can add a third module. Now you have over 700 square feet of indoor living space, along with another 360 square feet of 'all-seasons' outdoor living space. It's a "net zero" house that's affordable to stay in - no utility bills. It can be set up anywhere there are roadways, parking lots - even on open ground on hillsides. And for those wanting even more space there is another version of the Perch House Series that almost doubles expandable living space.

What makes Perch House affordable?

It is a revolutionary 'systems design'** housing module that does not need the usual land development infrastructure that conventional houses require. That's because it does not require connections for electricity, water, sewer, and other forms of fossil technology supply. And it's smaller in size. Therefore Perch's overall cost is almost half when compared with conventional housing units. It has its own independent water, waste, and energy systems built into a Core Modular unit kit (or preassembled dwelling unit) which can easily be relocated. Technologically advanced systems reduce pollution, and enhance environmentally healthy habitat . All this costs you, and your community, less money. We are talking about truly affordable housing delivering environmental solutions by using a fraction of energy and resources typically consumed by most residential dwellings. Its modular and prefabrication technology eliminates construction waste. The design mitigates storm water via collection and offers filtration for potable water applications. Perch House can be temporarily set up at disaster relief locations, and then be easily relocated onto personally owned property once storm debris has been cleared. Importantly, this also applies to cleared sites which do not have restored utility services.

Social Benefits:

  • immediate housing for people who have been displaced due to catastrophic natural events
  • fulfilling the expanding need to house people who cannot afford replacement homes
  • opportunities for 'green' construction and solar technology employment
  • sustainable local living economy development (local labor resources amenable)
  • viable option for people who seek environmental life choices for a greener tomorrow
* What is an 'all seasons' deck? It's an outdoor space designed to become a solar greenhouse in cold weather. It can be used for living space all year long. (Translucent panels which the home occupant can install are supplied with each Perch House kit.)
** What is 'systems design'? This involves the integration of separate building elements with local natural environment. These elements are interconnected into a whole system design. Each part is essential to optimal functionality of the whole.

Perch Series Development Group offered by EarthWalk Alliance, Hillsborough NC, 27278
tlw architect