Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is a Foxhole Home?
A. It is an off-grid home built from recycled and repurposed materials, originally inspired by Earthship Biotecture. We have applied those principles to creating spaces that are easier to build and are adjusted for climate and region. For simple models we can build for as little as $20 a square foot in material costs.
Q. Why Earthships? Or, have you thought about shipping containers, or Super Adobe?
A. Two words: Systems Integration. There are a lot of great building methods out there, but no one has done what Earthship Biotecture has done with its complete systems. Their principles of design include everything you need, and the way the systems work together allow for less waste. A key part of this is building with thermal mass to maintain the temperature of the home. Another key part is the grey water system.
Q. Do the tires off gas into the living space?
A. No, for two reasons; first, we are using old tires and they are done curing. Second they are sealed inside the walls with adobe or cement. In order for old tires to break down they would have to be exposed to extreme sunlight or lots of water. If that is happening inside your walls you have bigger problems than smelling old tires. Still it is best to keep in mind there are toxic materials inside tires that if unmanaged are not good for you.
Q. How much does one cost?
A. That's a trick question. We can build a tiny house with limited systems for as little as a few thousand dollars in materials. Our first demonstration build cost under $6,000 to complete with volunteer labor. A better way to look at it is a range of prices. If you re-purpose a lot, have simple systems and do all the work yourself you can build for around $20 per square foot. If you use fancier materials, robust/redundant systems and pay someone else to do the work it could be $200 per square foot. That is the standard price that Earthship Biotecture talks about when they advertise their buildings. We hope to be somewhere in the middle.
Q. How is Foxhole different from so many other veteran housing programs?
A. Most veteran housing programs provide temporary shelter while veterans “get back on their feet”. This typically ends up being handouts, and does not address how they ended up in that situation to begin with. Foxhole recognizes that, for many veterans, their new normal does not allow for a 9 to 5 job, so we plan to create a community structure with long term housing stability without giving it away. Veterans will earn their homes through sweat equity and continue to contribute to the community in the capacities they are capable.
Q. What does it cost to operate a Foxhole Home?
A. Only gas for cooking and back up for solar hot water, and any additional water you might need to purchase that cannot be caught off of the roof. A specific one year example in NM is $300 for a family of 4 with $100 for Propane and $200 for additional water. If you count the food that can be a byproduct of the operation of the home, it is usually a net positive. In the example of the family of four, they get over $1,000 per year of produce from the water treatment planters within the home. At that point the house functionally pays them to live there.
Q. What will veterans do for work?
A. Anything they want. But the community will be designed for cottage industry in agriculture, trades and arts. Our goal is to provide employment that the people enjoy and find meaningful, that continues to work for them even if they are not able to do it every day. We anticipate “bad days”, that is part of life for many veterans. So we are focusing on craft based work to accommodate them.
How will you pay for this for the long term?
A. We will need donations to get us to critical mass, but once that happens we will be self-sustaining in several ways.
1. Money is available for transitional housing through the federal government. We can use this money to help build lifetime homes for veterans, not just house them temporarily.
2. Rentals. We will rent units to students who are temporarily at nearby Holloman Air Force Base for training, who would otherwise be staying in hotels.
3. Educational Programs. There is high demand to learn the skills of building off grid homes and sustainable agriculture. Once the community is more established, clinics and training courses will be a source of revenue.
Q. How will you pound that many tires?
A. We won’t. We are working toward building with tire bales. We can place the bales for a normal size home in a single day. This will expedite the process and recycle exponentially more tires.