Seed Of Hope Farm building specifications.
We would like to develop a building and a property that would suit the needs of many people. Here are some of the specifications we would like to build into the dwelling house:

(1) Survivable in flood of levels predicted to occur once in 100 years with a minimum of damage to the structure and its support machinery (i.e. the plumbing, heating, drinking water well, electrical service). Zoning requirements put this at 12.5 feet above the ground elevation at the location of the southwest corner of the house.
(2) Accessible via ramps, large doors (minimum 36 inches), wide hallways, and with structures in place to allow people with mobility limitations to do most things without a helper. We plan on following the recommendations of the Americans with Disabilities Act ( as much as financially possible. We are planning space for an elevator and for a hot tub or sauna for some therapeutic capability.
(3) Requiring a minimum of energy to heat and cool, and preferentially using the sun and wood as a source of heat. We plan on using large windows for passive solar heating as well as solar hot water panels and a wood boiler to heat water for the radiant floor heat and for showers, dishes and laundry. We plan on using straw bales for wall insulation, with other types of insulation in the attic and the lowest floor, making the house "super-insulated" yet slightly permeable to air through the plastered straw bales. This should preclude the house from getting the "sick house" syndrome that super-insulated houses often get because of the retention of air-born toxins in the inside air of the house.
(4) Requiring a minimum of energy (primarily in the form of electricity) to light, refrigerate and heat in the kitchen, wash and dry clothing in the laundry room, as much as financially possible. The house will be able to keep people safely warm for at least three days in below freezing outside temperatures without outside electrical service. We plan on using light tubes where practical to light dark spaces using diffuse sunlight. Solar Photovoltaic panels are probably beyond our financial capabilities as we start out. I guess the whole plan for the building is beyond our family's financial capability, so we shall see how the Lord blesses us.
(5) Requiring a minimum of maintenance to the building itself. The building should be sturdy, and simple to construct. We plan on having a white enameled steel roof (to stand up to sunlight and fires) and use materials and construction techniques that will stand up to weather (including tornados and lots of wet snow), up to a 5 Richter Scale earthquake (do you know about the New Madrid Fault? Click HERE.) and normal wear and tear. Please pray for us in this regard, since this often adds to the expense of materials and construction.
(6) Having the ability to be constructed by many volunteers for the major part of the structure, especially the straw bale and plastering part. We want to involve the community at large in this structure, as we expect parts of our local community to USE the structure and the outside land.
(6) Having an apartment (bedroom/living area, bathroom nearby) that could serve as a guest room for a visitor or a place for an elderly person that might need a bit of personal space.
(7) Having inside work space for crafts and other such things that could be sold to support the ministry. We plan on having a number of rooms that can be configured to adjust to the needs of those living at the house. Some rooms could end up being work spaces for various types of home-based businesses. We plan on having a kiln, a small greenhouse to start garden plants, a commercially certifyable kitchen, a bike shop, and other businesses as people with the appropriate gifts wish to try. An essential part of our vision is to have God-honoring work for everyone who stays at Seed Of Hope Farm.

If you have thoughts about what should be built into this home, or ways of making the use of space more flexible, please share them with us at seedofhopefarm - AT - gmail DOT com.
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