A new construction technique using software and collaboration will help builders create energy-free, self-sufficient microhomes. These homes are expected to be available in 2015.

For example, OSE (Open Source Ecology), www.opensourceecology.org, Maysville, Mo., is an organization that creates machinery and systems that can build a society from the ground up, and has been collaborating with specialists in the alternative energy space for the past year in an effort to create an energy self-sufficient microhouse.

The organization plans to achieve this by using solar technology that continually stores energy and then distributes it year round when needed. OSE is also collaborating with specialists that have created energy conversion units that provide the electrical needs to power the microhomes, which is fueled by inexpensive, locally sourced materials. OSE will employ a hydronic woodstove for additional heating needs for its next microhouse in its upcoming workshop. By using one or more of these technologies, outside energy requirements will be little to none.

Open Source Ecology plans on using its XM (extreme manufacturing) technique in its next workshop. The workshop is intended for entrepreneurs who are interested in exploring XM for rapid building of environmentally friendly homes. The XM design process involves a workflow with 48 people using simple-to-follow documentation created with agile and waterfall methods prior to build. OSE’s microhouses uses CEB (compressed earth block) construction, which extracts much of the building material needed for the home from the site itself.

OSE’s goal is to reduce the duration of construction by a factor of 20 compared to industry standards, at one-third the cost of conventional housing.