My Green Building Critique of the Zombie Fortification Cabin: Practical Tips on Resilient Living You
Confession. I am a huge fan of the hit AMC show “The Walking Dead.” I also take a perverse liking to movies about future mayhem and dark, end-of-world scenarios like "The Road" and "The Book of Eli." Both involved cannibalism. In 2010, I wrote a well-received post about how to avoid cannibalism post-apocalypse: "Grow Your Own: How To Avoid Flesh Eating Ghouls In The 21st Century.” (Or, was that: “How To Avoid Becoming a Flesh Eating Ghoul in the 21st Century”???)
With my love for all things green building, and zombie, I was terribly excited to discover the Zombie Fortification Cabin (ZFC-1) from UK-based, log cabin manufacturer Tiger Log Cabins. But, when I saw details of the cabin, I was shocked at how bad the design was from a resiliency standpoint. Tiger might have wanted to take a look at Mother Earth News and not just Soldiers of Fortune when they came up with the design for this cabin.
A stifling, windowless bedroom that comes with a "Water Closet" ie toilet
To start, the ZFC-1 includes a WC (water closet) ie toilet in the living quarters. But, there is no mention of any bathing options such as a low flow shower. Zombie killing warriors surely need a place to wash off all the splattered blood after a good day of zombie killing. This is a huge downside. Just because there is rarely a mention of proper personal hygiene in “The Walking Dead” does not mean you will want to smell like a dead person while holed up in your fortified compound with a bunch of grungy roommates.
Work up a sweat in the airless gym, but don't plan on taking a hot shower afterward.
What's more, while the ZFC-1 offers extras such as flame throwers and plasma televisions, there is no mention of rainwater harvesting. There's no advisory on how to maintain a guaranteed water supply should your well pump break down or something happens to your outside water supply. This is sad considering the many available rainwater harvesting options such as the rugged Rainwater Pillow. The Rainwater Pillow offers a variety of pump options ranging from manual, pressure pumps, solar to AC. So, even if you have no electric power you can still pump the water and have it available to use to flush toilets or use to irrigate a garden. The Rain Water Pillow can also be combined with an array of filtering and water purification systems to make the water potable.
If you want a handy source of drinking water, you should consider an atmospheric water generator. Picture a water cooler that takes humidity right out of the air. Some of these generators can also heat water or be connected directly to their own solar panel to power them. Thus, you have a very portable water source. You can easily throw them in the back of the school bus or pick up truck in case you have to relocate in haste during the apocalypse. (I saw an atmospheric water generator at an X Prize Conference at the United Nations in New York and have been in love with them ever since.)
OK so zombies can't fall into your garden but will the plants grow with no sun?
And, sorry Tiger Cabins, but the garden in your fortified cabin plan sucks. You shove the food shed for the zombie proof structure between the arsenal building and the garage. Not only is it too small, it will get hardly any sun.
Hello Tiger Cabins! Have you not heard of Brooklyn Grange and the many pioneering farmers that are using roof tops for all sorts of agriculture and aquaponics? Would it have been that difficult to grow mesclun salad and raise Tilapia on the roof top while you are waiting to shoot down zombies with the machine guns that you offer as an option?
And, what's up with the storage options in the house? You have an arsenal storage area that one could store some dried beans in. But what about a root cellar to store the garden produce? Or, how about a seed storage vault? You'll get sick of those beans. And, last I checked, you couldn't eat bullets and stay alive for long. Would it be too much to ask for a chicken coop somewhere on the site plan?
Lovely roof deck but lacking basic survival amenities like a rain barrel or herb garden.
Another thing that really bugged me about this bug out shelter is there are no freaking windows. The place is so lacking in natural light. If I was holed up in there for too long, I would surely want to kill someone or become a zombie.
Have the designers of this abode not heard of zombie-proof, hurricane-proof windows and impact resistant, or bullet proof, glass? There could easily be an interplay between the interior and exterior of the cabin. Granted, you may not want to always look outside, but there are things called curtains should you not want to look at your next door neighbor who is trying to climb over the wire to eat you. You can even use bomb-proof fabric to make the curtains if you are paranoid about the windows breaking.
Plenty of roon to store guns but what about a seed vault or root cellar?
And, when it comes to bad, depressing lighting, have the designers not heard of Solatubes or considered other means by which to bring natural daylight into a house? Free light is a joy and makes one feel healthier and happier, right? (Yes, be assured, some Solatube options are small enough so even little zombies can't crawl through them if your roof security perimeter is breached.)
Solatube also manufactures a hybrid option that combines advanced Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) with their day lighting technology. This blending of ultra-energy efficient LED light with free natural light provides illumination throughout the day and night while significantly cutting energy use.
Great to have a fireplace, but an air to air heat pump powered by Solar PV with A/C and heating capabilities would make things more bearable during zombie apocalypse.
It's also appalling that these homes do not come solar PV equipped as a part of the basic package. And, the extra PV add on has no mention of battery back up at all which means at night, should the grid power be off, which it will be when the zombie apocalypse occurs, you will have no way to light up the yard to see beyond the skimpy barbed wire you think is going to protect you, which it won't. Also, there's no mention whatsoever about putting in outside solar powered LED lights with motion detectors. Kind of a no brainer, don't you think?!
I would also add appliances that were DC powered which one could connect directly to solar panels and appliances like the excellent Sun Dazer refrigerator which any self respecting prepper already has.
Oh, and one more thing. Get a solar oven for your Zombie Proof House for God's sake. Sure, you can have a stove that uses propane, but propane and natural gas supports Fracking. And, if you think you're gonna get propane delivery to fire up the stove top when the sh*t goes down, you really need to take a reality pill.
Solar Ovens allow you to cook, bake, boil and dehydrate with the power of the sun. With a solar oven, you can cook up some nice vittles on the roof while you are on Zombie watch. Why not enjoy some roasted heirloom veggies while you veg out on the roof waiting for the opportunity to shoot some gnarly zombie in the head?
Boy, I wish my zombie fortification cabin was really reslient! I wouldn't want to eat your heart out if it was!
Copyright Paul E McGinniss 2014
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