Haiti Communitere is primarily a resource center that is located close to the international airport in Port-au-Prince. They are anchored in community work and approach it by supporting organizations that are already engaged in positive change. They support them by offering services, such as a large and well-equipped workshop on site and a space to test ideas. Haiti communitere hosts a monthly community round table were community leaders come together to discuss their past and upcoming activities and how they can help each other to realize them. They have a computer lab which is at the disposal of communities and they hold trainings on topics like technology, construction, hygiene, business, and language. Haiti Communitere is also an exposition site for green and sustainable building methods and alternative sanitation systems. They run a social enterprise to keep themselves financially stable and independent. They offer housing (from tents and dorms to private rooms) to international groups and individuals in order to share overhead and provide opportunities for people to connect with each other and the communities where their projects are implemented.
Haiti Communitere is a part of the Communitere International network.
Earthship living space[edit | edit source]
The earthship living space was built at Haiti Communitere as a response to the 2010 earthquake. It serves as a demonstration for how homes can be built from waste material like tires, plastic bottles, and rubble from the earthquake. The base of the earthship is made with tires stacked seven high within the walls. Above the tires are the plastic bottle walls. The dome roof was made with steel bars along with with shredded cardboard and styrofoam in rice bags and plastic bags for insulation. The earthship incorporates concepts like temperature regulation, solar energy, sewage treatment, upcycled materials, water harvesting, and food production. A solar panel charges a battery, which provides the necessary energy for the earthship living space. The other mentioned concepts are discussed under the images in the gallery. For an animated explanation of the process please see the #Videos below. The total project cost was about USD$4000, and it took around 20 people 10 days to construct the entire structure with pre-prepared materials. The structure used about 10,000 plastic bottles, and just under 100 tires that would have otherwise remained in the waste stream.
Ubuntu Blox hoouse[edit | edit source]
Ubuntu Blox are a building technology that was developed by Harvey Lacey. Ubuntu Blox projects have been implemented in Haiti to build structures with upcycled waste. Ubuntu Blox houses can take about one forty foot shipping container's worth of Styrofoam out of the waste stream. The Styrofoam is collected, crushed, and bleached before it is put into rice sacks to make the blocks. The blocks are held together with wire and stacked on top of each other in between rebar. The blocks are then plastered over. The final structure is lightweight and flexible, making it highly resistant to earthquakes, and less dangerous if it does collapse. An Ubuntu Blox house has survived a. 8.3 shaketable test with only minor plaster damage. Ubuntu Blox houses have been built in Cité Soleil, Jacmel, and Haiti Communitere.
Aquaponics[edit | edit source]
In December of 2011 Ecofficiency built an aquaponics system in Haiti Communitere. The system is comprised of three plant beds and three fish tanks, and each set of plant bed with fish tank cycled water independently of the other two. The same pump cycled water for all three systems. The system was built almost entirely out of local materials either found at Haiti Communitere or purchased nearby. Ecofficiency brought the visqueen plastic lining for the plant beds and the filters to Haiti. The plumbing was purchased at the local Eko Depot. Reclaimed wood was used to build the approximately 14 square foot plant beds. The system supported tilapia fish, and veggies like peppers and tomatoes. When Ecofficiency installed the system the pump was powered by grid electricity. Just under a year after the systems initial installation another group added a solar panel and battery system to run the pump independently of the grid. However, the panel and battery could not provide the pump with a reliable enough energy source, and the system failed. As of July 2014 the aquaponics system was not in operation.
Biodigester toilet[edit | edit source]
Sistema Biobolsa constructed a biodigester toilet in Haiti Communitere. The biodigester toilet processes human waste into fertilizer and methane. The fertilizer can be used for farming and gardening, and the methane can be used for cooking. This biodigester toilet, along with two composting toilets process all of the human waste for Haiti Communitere.
Composting toilet[edit | edit source]
There are a few composting toilets at Haiti Communitere. The image to the right is of an Ubuntu Blox composting toilet made with support from Give Love. A bucket is placed underneath the toilet seat, and after every use some dried sugar cane shavings from a local rum factory are tossed into the bucket. Every week SOIL comes to Haiti Communitere to take the buckets of waste from them. They turn the waste into compost and sell it to farmers and gardeners. Composting toilet remedies issues of poor or non-existing sewage systems and insufficient nutrients in soil by turning a waste product into a resource. These composting toilets, along with a biodigester toilet, process all of the waste for Haiti Communitere.
The Elephant Foot[edit | edit source]
The Elephant Foot in Haiti Communitere is a demonstration piece for a style of building that utilizes concrete, tires, and rebar to make earthquake resistant wall foundations. The Elephant Foot was created by Architecture Sans Frontières. Tires can absorb a lot of the movement and stress caused by earthquakes. When used as a building material they can make earthquake safe foundations, while at the same time upcyling a material that would otherwise be waste. Large shake table tests are needed to confirm the structural integrity of the Elephant Foot, but one wall was tested on the bed of a moving truck at Haiti Communitere, and it survived without damage.
Ecoladrillo house[edit | edit source]
The ecoladrillo house at Haiti Communitere was built using old pallets, plastic bottles, and straw-bales. In one portion of the house plastic bottles are fitted into the center of the walls and kept in place by mortar and chicken wire before they are plastered over. In another portion of the house straw-bales are the insulation layer in the walls.
Pallet houses[edit | edit source]
These are pallet houses constructed in Haiti Communitere. Haiti Communitere is a resource center that facilitates projects with the intent to influence positive development in Haiti. These pallet houses are an example of how old "waste" material can be upcycled to created useful materials or structures. Each pallet house was constructed using pallet wood. They were built on top of a shipping container, and both have a unique aesthetic that makes them appealing. Aesthetics are often important when using old waste material to build with, since the appearance of waste material may deter some from living in or building upcycled structures.
Cob plaster[edit | edit source]
A wall in the main building of Haiti Communitere was being plastered by Sam in the image to the right. Sam's plaster has been used to finish many of the walls of various structures throughout the Haiti Communitere compound. For this wall plastic water bottles were stacked between an earthen mortar before being finished with an earthen plaster.
Shiping container structures[edit | edit source]
Haiti Communitere has re-purposed a few shipping containers to serve as homes, offices, and storage spaces. The shipping container that has been converted into a living space has a bedroom, shower, toilet, and a kitchen. It also has air conditioning, because Haiti's climate is too warm for it to be habitable otherwise.
Straw bale house[edit | edit source]
The straw bale house at Haiti Communitere was built by Builders Without Boarders. It was made entirely out of locally sourced materials. Straw bales from local rice fields were used as an insulation layer in the walls. The walls were finished with a natural plaster. The foundation was made with rubble from the 2010 Haiti earthquake and gravel bags made with tarps collected and sewn by people in earthquake affected regions. Old pallets were used as roof trusses. The house seems to fit a Haiti aesthetic and common two-room design.
Tire benches[edit | edit source]
The tire benches at Haiti Communitere exemplify a way to turn waste material into something useful. A community in Haiti came to Haiti Communitere with a request for benches, so Haiti Communitere explored the idea of "using what you have" with them. The result was a bench made by filling tires with soil, then capping them with cement, and adding wood planks for long benches. Bottle caps also added aesthetic flourishes, and were saved from the waste stream.