Thursday, November 16, 2006

We live in strange houses

Have you ever thought about how strange the design of houses today is?
I mean, take the roof, for example. Why is it made up of a bunch of little breakable shingles that have to be individually nailed down, when it could be just made out of nice, big, easy panels? You could just have these big - maybe eight by eight foot - sections of generic roof material - some sort of plastic, perhaps - that just bolt or snap into place. Building a roof that way would take maybe just a few man-hours, not a few hundred. After all, who wants little sections of tar paper nailed on to some plywood on top of their house anyway? Its just so inconvenient.
Fixing a leak in a shingle roof takes forever because you have to tear up something that was nailed down with the intention that it wouldn't come up. Then sometimes you have to put down a new piece of plywood, and yours will definitely not be exactly the same size as the one that you took out, so you have to cut it to make it fit. After that you have to nail it down and replace shingles one by one. Not exactly a quick, easy task. If you were using a modular roof system, you could just pop off the right panel (and maybe the ones above it), and put in a new one. done.

And just why do we heat our water in the basement or garage or wherever? That requires two pipes to everything (Hot and Cold), insulation on the hot water pipe, a big heater thing, and lots of energy. If you heated the water right where you use it - say, the sink - then you would not lose energy the whole length of the pipe, you wouldn't need a big furnace, or tank, and you could run hot water without freezing the person in the shower.

Most of the ideas for houses are build today date back to the medieval ages. Drywall is just a replacement for stucco, two-by-fours are really just an improvement over roughly hew planks, and todays asphalt shingles are just an improvement upon wooden shingles. Pluming, electricity, and glass windows may be relatively new, but most of the technology of our houses is still far in the past.

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