Please post descriptions of options as well as benefits and downfalls.
Strawbale homes last surprisingly long and are very cheap to build. They do best in temperate environments where humidity is not as high - proper ventilation of the wall space is needed to prevent mold growth. Might not be good for a tropical environment. 
Cabins built with local materials Edit
This will be wholly dependent on available building materials. Many smaller islands will have scrub only, and larger tropical islands may not have materials suitable for building load-bearing structures. In all, stick-built houses will be more vulnerable to storm damage.
Shipping Crates Edit
Sturdy and easy to find, the hard part is getting them onto the island. This would be a one-time difficulty, however, and they should last a long time. However, they could be filled with air and floated in. There is also a compartment home, a home created by the thing at the back of the trucks that store the products when they are delivered. It has the same pros and cons like the crates and when stacked, they can create an apartment.
Storage sheds are moderately-priced and can be purchased at most home improvement stores. Typically, you'll find them constructed of aluminum or wood and are generally sturdy enough to withstand tropical storms. The typical dimensions of a storage shed are approximately 10' x 10' (3m x 3m), but larger sizes are readily available. In addition, because storage sheds are pre-fabricated there is the added benefit of reduced labor expenses.
One possible option is to look at using Yurts for housing although concerns have been raised about the stability of Yurts in a hurricane or typhoon prone region. This same consideration should be weighed when looking at all building options.
You can get houses in kits. Someone could start a business sending them to the island.
Provide a marina to keep boats that people are living on. Additionally, since boats are usually at least a bit self-sustaining, they may be able to provide some resources to the island.
Related Posts Edit
This section will be largely dependent on island choice.
- Cheap. Some kits are as low as $1 USD per watt.
- Scalable. Arrays have no fixed size and can be easily added to.
- Assuming 100 watts per square meter it would take 1 hectare at peak efficiency to produce a single megawatt/hour.
- Realistic power generation is much lower.
- Panels are completely useless at night time.
Most tropical or subtropical islands will have good sun coverage. A battery-based solar system for basic use should be simple to install. A permanent solar array could be installed once more permanent buildings had been constructed.
A 1000kWh system can be sufficient for a rustic community setup with a central common building with power and satellite internet hookup.
- Cheap. Kits are available for about a dollar a watt. Can be manufactured for much cheaper.
- Scalable. Kits range from a few hundred watts to 7 megawatts
- Unlike solar, it doesn't require dedicated space.
- Installation. The installation process for large megawatt turbines requires the use of a 500ft crane and the construction of a heavy concrete base.
While a larger scale system would have to be in place to power the completed project, homemade wind power generators such as this could be implemented to assist in the creation of permanent infrastructure and later reused for other projects: http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2009/02/maker_workshop_wind_power_generator.html
It is created whenever there is a mix between river and seawater. There are two kinds: Reversed electrodialysis where a mix between the two waters are added into an alternating membranes and voltage is created, or Pressure-retarded osmosis where the salinity gradient energy retrieved from the difference in the salt concentration between seawater and river water is the way it is made. In PRO, the water potential between fresh water and sea water corresponds to a pressure of 26 bars.
Water access will initially be limited to an on-site well or to jugs of water brought onto the island. Many islands will not have very much fresh water available, the water table consisting of brackish water instead. The availability of fresh water will be mainly determined by island height and island size, and will greatly effect the island price. Even if an island have fresh water well, this fresh water may be of limited availability and run out quickly; so the *amount* of fresh water should be assessed. Rather than run dry, island wells will often run salty - fresh water sits on top of salt water, and so once the fresh water is gone, you will pull brine.
Until such time as either the safety of an on-site well or another means of fresh water collection/generation can be put into place, water will need to be brought onto the island. For basic needs (drinking, cooking, efficient washing), 1 gallon per person per day should be budgeted. Showering can be accomplished with salt water followed by a fresh water rinse to conserve the potable water, however, people should be aware that this method is not nearly as easy as what you are used to. Salty water and soap work together poorly.
A rain catchment system can be put into place quickly, simply by setting out large barrels with screening on top to keep out leaves and bugs. Gutters and more robust rain redirecting systems can be put together cheaply and easily, so if the island gets regular rain, this will likely be the first method for on-site water collection.
The best and most permanent solution is the installation of a desalination system on-site. There are small capacity desalination units, called water makers, that are marketed toward boat owners, these can achieve 100 gallons a day. Additionally, they make units for larger ships that can go into the thousands gallon/day range. This will provide must larger volumes of fresh water more conveniently and more cheaply than any other method. Reverse Osmosis systems require a fair bit of energy, and while propane or other consumable fuel methods of running the system are the most efficient, it requires constant delivery of fuel from the mainland. As such, adding enough solar/wind/tidal power generation to run the desalination units should be a priority.The desalination units can be run in parallel, so a medium-sized unit to start will easily accommodate increased capacity later.
Otherwise we can acheiveeve it by using the method of evaporation to create fresh water from salt water. Only, the problem is 1) It takes a long time and 2) It might end up as salt.
Whenever there is a crisis in a developed country, the first to establish communications are Ham Radio operators. They should be given every right to set up huge antennas, like they do in the US. In exchange, they can accomplish long-range, no-privacy communications, digital, voice, or morse. Also, they would probably let you borrow their tower for mounting wifi antennas! So Ham Radio = bringing home the ham
Telephone communications would probably most easily be deployed using a pan-island wifi solution from the ham radio antennas above with VoIP rather than expensive satellite phones or running the infrastructure for landlines. It takes space so why not triple the use of the ham radi
ItWould suggest that it can cheaply be done with home-grown GSM network (no 3G yet alas) utilising something like a USRP and OpenBTS.
Internet access across the island will be key to communicate amongst ourselves and with the rest of the world. It will also aid in key functions such as banking transactions, ordering goods and services (as part of the island construction), booking rooms (if a hotel is decided upon), etc. There is an open debate on the best approach for setting up internet access on the island. Many options to be explored are outlined below:
Satellite Broadband Internet Edit
Other Suggestions Edit
- If it's near a developed mainland it may be possible to get some kind of signal with a home made antenna and 3G/4G cards.
- A much more cost-effective method would be to purchase a bunch of cheap routers and bidirectional antennas. We could then purchase a high-end corprate cable type package on the mainland and use a high-powered antenna to beam it to the first off-shore "repeater station". Which would then in turn forward it to the next, repeating as neccesarry for the distance between the island and the mainland.
- Using 1-3 routers (depending on our needs) per 200mW ultrawap access point and 20db omni directional antennas, we can create a large mesh network that would easily cover the islands size. This would be linked to DNS, DHCP and web servers that could run an intranet or internet for long and short term news amongst other things. Using this setup linked to a directional antenna pointing to the mainland where another access point can take the signal to land DSL connection we could successfully implement a network solution. This has been achieved over a range of up to 30km line of sight with basic equipment.
- Underwater fiber is also an option if a deal could be struck with a local ISP.
- Use the ham radio antenna
Open Questions Edit
- How much latency and how little bandwidth is tolerable?
- What are the price data points for a network connection over $x kilometres with $y bits per second?
Transport on and off the island will need to include a boat at some point. For the most part, a simple trashy motoboat should do the job. If the island selected has no nearby town with an airport, this issue may become more critical. Possibly we could use large catamarans
Maybe we could kayak short distances?
All non-human organic waste should be composted on-site, and used for fertilizing a garden/farm area.
All human waste should be handled via composting toilets.
All plastic/metal/etc should be carried out by the owner of said trash, or given to anyone asking for it. For example, you could give cans to a blacksmith, assuming they want it. Or used frying oil can go to developers of transportation asking for it, or to the blacksmiths, if they want it for fuel. They can reuse it. And if we are near a developed mainland we can send it there for recycling.
Boats should have a dock. Keep the width at least 1/2 the length to accommodate catamarans. Also, if it is requested enough, some people could dig a bit above low tide, so that ships can use careening for quick repairs.
An island near a hospital would be preferable for emergencies. It is possible to use marine VHF radio (channel 16) to call for help from the coast guard or a rescue helicopter. All boats should have this, IMO.
A local dispensary/clini can be stocked with common medications used for outpatient treatment of both acute and chronic conditions. Acute needs would include pain relievers, antibiotics, antimalarials, antihistamines, corticosteroids, vaccines and antifungals. Depending on island population and demand, chronic medications could also be stocked, including maintainence medications for asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and various psychologic conditions. The most important thing when setting up a dispensary/clinic there would be an electrical source for refridgeration, air conditioning and dehumidification to ensure the proper storage and handling of medications. And if there are people, who cannot do it properly, hire or find a volunteer nurse
- Critical Infrastructure Maps - A simple overview for establishing and maintaining infrastructure.