Natural living: Yurts on the North Shore

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Yurts, traditional dwellings originating in Central Asia, are trending, eco-friendly housing options within the lush hills of Oahu’s North Shore thanks to the company Ohana Yurts.

Ohana Yurts was founded by Nathan Toler and Jenny Useldinger in 2009, reported the Huffington Post. The business was partly inspired by the Positive Energetics Foundation Inc., which specializes in the holistic treatment and prevention of disease, according to

Useldinger said, “At Ohana Yurts, we are trying to take the hippyishness out of the yurt and marry it with all of the modern things that people love; theirWi-Fi, their big screen TVs, full-size appliances.” In addition to that, she also said yurts can help fill the yearning people have to get back to their roots and have meaning in their lives.

Useldinger and Toler said they wanted to provide practical housing to the Oahu community that doesn’t isolate its occupiers from nature. Rather than pay expensive shipping fees to transport building materials from the U.S. Mainland to Hawaii, residents can order locally made yurts, says

“It’s a movement that we were never intending to happen on a large scale,” said Useldinger. “People were seeing Nathan due to cancer and stress…that was the precursor to pretty much all of it. This is a great escape from all of that,” she explained.

Yurt-living can appeal to those who appreciate nature, the outdoors, and simple living. Gerald Ericksen, a senior from Utah majoring in university studies, said, “I think living in a yurt would be a good way to live a little closer to the land and be able to get somewhat ‘off the grid’ while still having a stable and decent place to live. Also, it seems a bit more eco-friendly and would make it so you’d have to be more conscious of the way you are living.”

The company’s website reads, “Our location on the North Shore has also grown Ohana Yurts into an advocate for a more sustainable Hawai‘i. Yurts are inherently environmentally friendly, and our dedication to promoting a healthy island environment is pushing yurts to the next level.” Toler has been invited to speak at the Hawaiian Congress about sustainable living and alternative eco-housing this month, according to Useldinger.

Last year, Ordinance 15-Bill 20 was passed in the City and County of Honolulu for the purpose of establishing “accessory dwelling unites as a permitted use in all residential zoning districts, to encourage and accommodate the construction of accessory dwelling unites, increase the number of affordable rental unites and alleviate the housing shortage in the City, and to establish land use standards for those accessory dwelling units,” according to governmental website.

The passing of has made yurts a more practical and legally viable housing option for people in search of housing on Oahu.

Cameron Tidwell, a senior from Arizona majoring in international cultural studies and co-founder of CT Decorative Finishes, has been recruited by Ohana Yurts to decorate the interior of a yurt. That yurt will be revealed through 6 episodes on the DIY Network TV series “Love Yurts,” which premiers Fall 2016.

Tidwell began his work in Gilbert, Ariz., where one of his best friends got him on a team to do decorative designs in the Gilbert temple. After his work in Arizona, he was invited to work on temples across the nation including temples in Fort Lauderdale, Flor., and Ogden, Utah then eventually spread his talents to the southern hemisphere where he was a part of the decorative designs team for temples in Buenos Aires and Córodoba, Argentina. Tidwell served as the project manager for his work in the Trujillo, Peru temple.

“After completing the job in Peru, one of the largest contractors in South America and the representative from the church sat me down and invited me to start my own company,” Tidwell stated. Because of the recommendations he received, his company is now one of about six companies in the world that are approved to do decorative work on LDS temples.

“They invited me to do a Moroccan- or Balinese-inspired design on the centerpiece of the yurt,” said Tidwell. “It’s kind of in the middle of the building. I searched Moroccan mandalas and looked through a bunch of shapes and types of styles that are used in those designs, and from that we created a design that could go around the center of the ceiling.”

Ohana Yurts has already been featured in season 2, episode 1 of HGTV’s series “Tiny House, Big Living.”

For more information about Ohana Yurts, visit

Yurts Vacations Make Your Lifestyle Special with Its Magic

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Yurt Vacation in Hawaii

Yurts are a traditional way of living made using bentwood roof poles to get a domed shape structure, light door flaps and usage of door frame instead of heavy wooden doors. And the whole structure is covered with canvas and some use felt as a middle layer.


Why are yurts so special?
The Mongolian style yurts have many advantages and are best for both yurt vacations and as an everyday adoption in life. Yurt, an ancient nomadic shelter provides a reprieve form modern lifestyle culture and the circular built becomes a reference to interconnection of things and unity. Yurts are available in modern and traditional versions at an affordable price to live a life closer to the Nature Mother.

  • The contemporary yurts are well furnished with modern features and costs around $6,000 to $125,000 making space for all your day-to-day requirements.
  • The crew member takes a very small span of time to build it according to the dweller’s imagination and provides an easy access, once the platform is built.
  • Yurts are very flexible and can be used as office, guestroom, farmhouse or a small studio. A distinct advantage of yurt is – it can be put up quickly and taken down to move to any other location with people’s change in situation.
  • The affordability and portability of yurt become an attractive option for the one experimenting with community before making any long term staying commitment. Its flexibility makes it a perfect option for the intentional communities for their varied use.
  • The round construction of yurts proves better over its rectilinear counterparts, making it efficient to heat and providing less wind resistance. The construction of roof with tension band and compression rings provides an amazing architectural strength and design with no internal support system, thereby leaving it open and spacious.
  • The architectural structure is broadly recognized for its communal, spiritual, healing and creative nature. Yurt tends to be the best option for retreat centers, spiritual practices and community gatherings. It is also seen that people get a sound sleep in yurts and dream more too!


Where are yurts used?
If you want to go for yurt vacations, you can opt for camping, resort accommodation and skiing. Otherwise, a person can choose yurts as dwelling place, office, creational class, any type of studio, bed-and-breakfasts, and moon-lodge, to name just a few!

Yurts: The Environmentally-Friendly Dwellings

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Yurts: The Environmentally-Friendly Dwellings
Between global warming, rapid declines in the health of reefs, and the increasingly unmanageable non-recyclable waste, it is clear that the globe must work together in order to find environmentally friendly ways to correct the negative impact humanity has mad on the planet. The beginning of a cultural shift towards eco-friendly lifestyles such made information on the benefits of green energy and buying local available for many to see, however more often than not, the most common factor that links most of the US and western civilization is the structures we call home.

The Environmental Impact of a Conventional Dwelling

The western concept of square dwellings as permanent structures has been adopted by the majority of Europe, the US, and Canada for their vast amount of floor space, the ability to store loads of household goods, and the ability to remain as a long standing structure. Unfortunately, there are many reasons why conventional homes are detrimental to the environment. The housing industry is considered one of the last markets to join the movement towards an eco-friendly planet, and due to the popularity, convenience, and social acceptance of the conventional home, these structures have already made an irreparable impressions against an eco-friendly planet.
Conventional homes are harmful to the environment for many reasons, but the most notable factor is the fact that many conventional homes use a wildly unsustainable amount building materials (I.e. wood, stone, tile, glass, and metal) among other precious resources (such as water and fuel) in order to build a dwelling for a single family unit. Because a majority of the building materials used in conventional construction industry are not responsibly farmed, the western housing market has personally taken a chunk out of the world’s rapidly depleting rain forests. Additionally, the large scale conventional home (once built) requires at least three times the amount of natural resources than an alternative living structure to accommodate the same number of residents. Even energy experts have recently stated that a home’s shape is the single most important factor in determining how energy efficient the space will be.
Another reason conventional houses are proving more and more detrimental to the environment is the fact that most sit on a immovable concrete slab foundation. From a structural standpoint, an immovable foundation would seem to be the most appropriate solution when building a home around natural factors such as water runoff and occasional geological shifts. However, studies have shown that the placement of concrete slabs permanently reduce the integrity of the land beneath it. Concrete is a durable substance used for it’s ability to resist corrosion and damage even under severe circumstances, and has been a trusted building commodity for the industrial and residential industries for years; unfortunately, the longevity of concrete means anytime a house is rendered unlivable or abandoned, the foundation cannot be reused or removed from the land to allow opportunity for the natural eco-system to reclaim it’s property. Permanently hindering a piece of land seems insignificant when reviewed on a small scale, however when all homes with concrete slabs are counted and taken into account the impact on the original landscape is terrible.
The final reason modern day homes are not environmentally friendly is the lifestyle they promote. The structure, floor plan, and initial intention of a conventional home is geared towards a mindset of “bigger is better,” which ties very closely to the materialistic mantra, “more,more,more.” Unfortunately, conventional homes have become the glorification of having more space and more possessions to fill it. In the design alone, a square home requires at least 10% more wall material than that of a circular home to cover the same exact amount of floor space. Square shaped homes also promote “dead” space, because corners are usually not used for anything other than storage, while the immense size of conventional homes (roughly 1500 to 2000 square feet) also promotes the need to “fill” that space with electronics, textiles, and furniture.

An Eco-Friendly Solution from the Past: The Yurt

Yurts have been a trusted residential structure throughout Asia for hundreds of years, and can be traced back to successful populations throughout history, such as the Mongols, who used yurts as their choice housing structure. The recent social shift towards living an eco-friendly has brought the yurt back into the spotlight of the western housing and building associations for their minimalistic properties. Originally designed for it’s ability to withstand harsh weather conditions by using the least amount of materials possible, the yurt remains an easy and affordable structure to build because it requires only a fraction of the material a conventional home would call for.
Instead of truck loads of drywall, concrete, shingles, and loads of wood, Yurts are built of dainty latticed wood walls, a wood poles for the roof, a contemporary wood floor, and an exterior weatherproof fabric. The simplicity of the yurts framework not only reduces the amount of raw materials used to build a home, but also drastically reduces the amount of natural resources and labor required to erect the structure.
Yurts are also able to pacify the issue of a permanent foundation readily used on a majority of builder grade homes. Because the actual structure of a yurt is designed to sit on top of an elevated platform, the amount of damage done to the land the dwelling sits on is extremely minimal. This fact means that homes can be set and easily moved at a later date should the homeowner become unable to maintain their property, and presents the opportunity of long term portable sustainable housing.
The third but most noteworthy reason yurts are an excellent solution to the modern day housing crisis is because the yurt design is built around a minimalistic view of “less is more,” a common theme anyone will find upon stepping into a yurt. Aside from the shockingly less building materials that would be required to build a yurt, the circular shape of these structures promote proper circulation of light, air, heat, and sound, which in turn promotes a more energy efficient space. As mentioned earlier, the shape of a structure is the key factor in determining just how energy efficient it will be. Overall, yurts have been proven to optimize the usage of floor space, lessen the building’s impact on the environment, enhance homeowner savings, and promote a green future.

Yurts: A Financial Friendly Alternative to Western Style Housing An Overview of the Economics of Western Construction

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Yurts: A Financial Friendly Alternative to Western Style Housing
An Overview of the Economics of Western Construction

It is a widely accepted concept among western civilizations that “bigger is better.” This belief applies to everything from food to architecture, and although impressive and spacious, the wide-spread cooperation in accordance with this mindset may resonate in the pocketbooks of every-day citizens and their state legislature.
The modern idea of a house is a square structure resembling a box, sometimes with multiple levels and either a flat or triangular roof. This contemporary residential dwelling is geared towards having more room in one’s home for furniture, instruments, electronics, etc, by utilizing more square footage to achieve a larger floor space. Unfortunately, this method of building tends to sponsor the rapid accumulation of unneeded household accessories such as nick-knacks, unused “formal” furniture, ignored pianos and other gadgets.
In addition to promoting what could be considered a more materialistic lifestyle, conventional “manufactured” homes tend to cost home-buyers almost ten times more (interest included) than a fully finished yurt. It is not uncommon for a home in a nice residential neighborhood to sell for the upper $200K, while most alternative forms of housing, such as yurts, may sell at $32K for the most upgraded and customized alternative. These higher end yurts almost always include plumbing and electricity capabilities, a lavish interior, and an occasionally innovative space optimization design.
Many first time conventional home buyers, with or without children, find themselves struggling to make ends meet between a high mortgage and the daily expenses of living. On top of this, property taxes, home maintenance, and increased utility bills (a larger space means more resources used) can also lead to significant bills depending on the age, condition, and location of the house that is purchased. Such a huge financial obligation can be a huge, unneeded stress to many families; and often times can result in loan default, bankruptcy, or being forced to relocate. Studies have shown that individuals who live in contemporary manufactured dwellings are less likely to have as much savings in their bank account as someone who lives in an alternative housing solution, and spend up to ½ of their income on their rent or mortgage. These specifics make it clear to see that conventional houses are not the most economical options for people in the real-estate market, but why does the majority of society continue to pay into the social norm? Here are a few reasons:
1) The location and level of comfort.
▪ People are most content when the daily functions of life are as simple as possible. Usually, conventional homes are usually located in close proximity to grocery stores, shopping malls, restaurants
▪ The vast amount of space conventional homes offer allow for a more relaxed organizational lifestyle.
▪ A larger home means larger furnishings. Some people enjoy having a king sized bed, plasma screen television, and full sized leather sofa all in one room for an extraordinary effect. While yurts are able to accommodate most lifestyles, large furnishings and irregularly used items are not favorable to keep in a yurt.
2) Pop Culture
◦ Many people fail to question the legitimacy of social norms and pop culture. Currently, the “box” style home is a huge component of the social norm, ambiguously symbolizing the success and wealth of a family according to size, neighborhood location, and cost.
◦ Many western families prefer having the most space within a home to give each family member their own space. While some families may choose to simply add an additional yurt to accommodate for additional family members, it is common for many families to prefer a full sized home.
3) Fear of Change
• A change of lifestyle can be a very dramatic adjustment in a person’s life. Moving is said to be one of the most stressful situations an individual can undergo, and the switch from an extravagant lifestyle to a simplistic one can be a huge trigger for fear in many privileged western civilizations.
• Downsizing in space also means downsizing in possessions. Many people have valuable possessions they are not willing to leave behind.

Why Yurts Are An Effective Alternative

The structure, concept, and function of a yurt was designed by Mongolian nomads based on the need for an economical semi-permanent dwelling. Over the years, that notion has not changed in the slightest. Yurts are still one of the most (if not the most) affordable and sustainable alternative options to manufactured western homes available on to the public. Yurts have been used as affordable surrogates to space-consuming “box” homes in areas all over the central and western US and Europe, including Hawaii, Oregon, and Ireland.
These affordable structures are fashioned to be constructed of minimal building materials; primarily a light woven lattice wood frame, roof sticks, a center ring, tension ring, and exterior weatherproof fabric. Despite the genius of the frame’s design, it is perhaps the ergonomics and insulating abilities of these modernized dwellings that make them the most valuable tool in leading a financially frugal lifestyle. The circular structure of these dwellings enforce the need for organization, and do not permit the clutter of unused items. The rounded framework of both the walls and ceiling also act as a self running heating and cooling system, pushing air from place to place throughout the yurt, removing the need for conventional air conditioning and gas heaters, which can easily add hundreds of dollars to a conventional home owner’s gas or electricity bill. The design is light enough to transport affordable to even the most remote locations, making the yurt a perfect candidate for supplying advanced residential technology with third world civilizations in need.
This minimalistic approach to these simple buildings’ infrastructure is one of the key design characteristics that makes yurts one of the leaders in exploring a simplified financial life. With the huge cut in utility consumption, reduced up front cost, and ability to reject inessential commodities, yurts are a truly effective piece of economical architecture.

The Yurt’s Potential To Create an Eco-Friendly Hawai’i

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The Yurt’s Potential To Create an Eco-Friendly Hawai’i
Hawai’i is a land full of history, pride, honor, and innate environmental consciousness. The land is known for abundant sustainable sea life and lush green rain forests. Unfortunately, since the controversial accumulation of Hawaii as a state in August 1959, the social issues commonly found on the mainland have made their way overseas, and are now plaguing the local Hawaiian people and others Hawaiian residents who have made the luscious ocean island their home.
Since becoming a state, the tourist industry on the islands capitalized on the ‘aina’s beauty and variety of uses, which has over time begun to effect the delicate eco-system of the island habitat. The tourism industry has become a serious issue, driven by large hotels building on delicate beaches and fishing outfitters slowing reducing the islands’ natural resources for capitol. Excessive trash, homelessness, and poverty have become serious social issues for the state legislature and residents alike. In this article, we will explore the effects of the tourism industry on Hawaii’s ecosystem and landscape, then explain how the ancient Mongolian yurt is the one-stop answer for the increasing environmental difficulties.

The Environment

Any time construction is commenced, the surrounding area of the construction site becomes contaminated by industry approved building material such as PVC, mercury, and lead, among other full bodied pollutants. Scraps of plastic, broken bits of glass, and sharp nails are all common full bodied contaminants commonly found in the various habitats of Hawai’i. These toxic chemicals are transferred from a job site to the surrounding ecosystems by means of natural elements such as water and wind. It is very likely that the introduction of these pollutants to the Hawai’ian environment will have a lasting negative impact on the islands’ creatures and local residents. To fully understand how ambiguously safe materials such as plumbing pipe, light bulbs, and flame retardants are harmful to the environment, it is important to have a basic understanding of the chemicals used to create them.
• PVC Pipe: “PVC” stands for Polyvinyl Chloride, and is the main component in modern day plumbing for all aspects of residential and commercial plumbing. Although PVC is an approved building material, it has been proven to release some of the most toxic chemicals available to humanity during it’s life of use. More shocking, however, is the mass amount of toxic chemicals released into the atmosphere when lit on fire. Chemicals found in PVC are known to cause cancer and brain defects, and plays a definite role in the declination of healthy ecosystems.
• CFL Light Bulbs: “CFL” is a simplified term for compact fluorescent. CFL bulbs are a “green” alternative to energy zapping incandescent bulbs, however the additional electricity savings have come at a cost for environmental and human health. CFL bulbs primarily use mercury as their method of illumination, which is a highly toxic metallic chemical. In addition to the dangers these bulbs pose to the occupant’s who use them, hundreds of these bubs are accidentally broken on job sites throughout the country. Broken bulbs are mandated to be cleaned in specific ways to reduce environmental impacts, however even these specifications are usually ineffective in successfully ensuring the environment is truly protected.
• HFR Flame Retardants: Halogenated Flame Retardants are a required fire safety component in many residential and commercial structures. Unfortunately, tests have proven that HRF’s have no adverse effect on the progression of fires. HFR’s are made of toxic chemicals designed to reduce the rapid spread of fires, and when burned they release super-toxic gasses proven to be detrimental to the health of fire fighters aiding the building, which only hints at the effect the wide spread smoke of has on the surrounding environment.
The people of the Hawai’ian Islands are proud to live on some of the most beautiful, prosperous, and delicate ecosystems in the world. From the deep outer reefs of the ocean to the upcountry farmland, the Hawaiian ecosystem is a true thing of beauty that must be respected and cared for.
While the booming tourist industry may have had a small positive effect on Hawaii’s economy, it has also taken a huge tole on the islands’ environmental integrity. The tropical beaches are the major selling point of the tourism industry in Hawai’i, which has subsequently made building hotels and restaurants directly onto (or directly behind) the beloved beaches a savvy business move. Unfortunately, not all great business decisions have an equally great environmental impact, and the hotel industry in Hawai’i has been proof of that. The mass amounts of Papahanaumoka that has been allocated to tourism has resulted in the failing health of island reefs, polluted air and fauna, and loss of the island’s natural habitats. Full regions of some islands have been completely swarmed by large buildings directly serving the hospitality industry, and reducing the amount of natural land available to native Hawai’ian species. As a result of these corporate advancements, natural inhabitants such as the Hawai’ian monk seal are now at risk of extinction.

A “Well Rounded” Solution

How can a yurt reduce the advancing issue of pollution and over-building in Hawai’i? Firstly, yurts are one of the most environmentally friendly dwellings available for every weather condition imaginable. Because yurts are built on platforms rather than slab foundations, and do not use any harmful chemicals in their structure, yurts are an essentially impact free solution to the common slab structure, which destroys the integrity of the land beneath and requires an immense amount of effort to remove. Yurts also use a bare minimum of building materials to create a more optimized usage of floor space, therefore eliminating the huge amount of raw materials that go into a single hotel room. In regards to the investors, this shift to a more simplistic structural design is a huge economic plus from a commercial standpoint, because less of a need for raw materials means less up-front costs to build and begin doing business.
Some sectors of the tourism industry in Hawaiian may argue that yurts aren’t luxurious enough to accommodate their VIP customers, but the European “glamping” industry has proven quite the contrary. “Glamping” a British slang germ for glamorous camping, is a new fad spreading throughout the European continent in which individuals experience the wilderness from the comfort of a small comfortable dwelling. Beautifully crafted yurts with plush interiors are becoming a more common application in wilderness settings. Because the versatile design allows yurts to be built with functions such as conventional plumbing, electricity, and furnishings, yurts can truly be suited to accommodate people from every lifestyle. As a result of their versatility, yurts have begun to replace tents and cabins, and recent artistic applications has helped to spread the word of these excellent structures.

The Yurt: An Ancient Housing Solution for Modern Day Homelessness and Deforestation

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The Yurt: An Ancient Housing Solution for Modern Day Homelessness and Deforestation
Yurts have been used since 4th century B.C by the people of central and east Asia, and are still regularly used in various regions throughout the world today. The ancient Mongolian people credited for the invention of the yurt used these structures as their sole housing structure- a true constructive treasure that was able to overcome severe weather climates, fill the need for a transportable semi-permanent dwelling, and lay the foundation of the concept of sustainable dwellings. With valor, yurts satisfied the immediate needs of the Asian people, and have since gone down in history as a smart option for housing and general construction in almost any region.
Over the centuries, the pressing social issues have changed to match the times. Unfortunately, despite many notable advancements, society has only begun down the path of a sustainable future. The public listing of official social issues in the US documents a variety of troublesome social problems, such as homelessness and deforestation. These issues impact the public on a daily basis, no matter how gradually.
It is these concerning global hurtles that have already begun to take a toll on the overall health and well being of the Hawai’ian islands. In this brief article, we will address some key social issues that can be alleviated or diminished entirely through the usage of sustainable yurts as opposed to conventional structures.

The Factors of Homelessness

According to the United States 2014 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, “In January 2014, 578,424 people were homeless on a given night. Most (69 percent) were staying in residential programs for homeless people, and the rest (31 percent) were found in unsheltered locations.” That is over half a million people throughout the United States without a regular dwelling to call home.
To understand how such a staggering number of homeless people can become a very evident reality, one must understand where the social and systematic issues lie in the foundation of daily social activities, so here they are: The two most common factors leading to an individual or family’s homelessness are unseen or unexpected life events (such as loss of a job, a bounced paycheck, or natural disaster) along with the nationwide lack of affordable housing. Of course, the first factor, unseen life events, is socially uncontrollable, as it varies according to the individual in question. The second factor, however, regarding a lack of affordable housing for low income families and individuals is a fixable social problem, however an exact solution can be hard to determine due to arguments between political parties on how tax dollars can be spent effectively.

The Effects of Deforestation

Contrary to popular belief, deforestation is not just a phenomenon found in the Amazon and other distant rain forests. The massive destruction of US rain forests occurs on a daily basis in the Hawai’ian rain forests, Rocky Mountains, and Sierra Nevadas, resulting in the loss and contamination of habitats and natural resources. A large percentage of the deforestation paradox is attributed to the housing and building market, which rarely uses sustainably manufactured lumber. Deforestation causes permanent damage to rain forest eco-systems, which are key elements in the world’s clean air supply and support some of the most complex natural habitats on the planet.

An Economic Solution

Over time, yurts have been glorified for their simplicity and affordability. Yurts are an extremely affordable method of impact free housing, and are proposed to be the ideal solution to today’s worsening shortage of affordable living quarters. A 16′ yurt can comfortably fit five twin sized cots, with enough room to spare for a kitchen area and small amounts of personal space. Yurt manufacturers such as Back Yard yurts offer standard 16′ yurts for under 10K- an excellent price to permanently house either a family unit or five full grown individuals when compared to the cost of building and temporary housing such as shelters across the country, that only reduce the symptoms of homelessness rather than addressing the problem directly.
When we compare yurts to the typical dwelling, the differences are staggering. If government funds or a private party were to hypothetically build enough conventional homes to sustain the masses of homeless people nationwide, the negative impact on the country’s land, real estate, and budget would be crippling due to the monumental amount of space, building supplies, and costs that would be allocated to the project. A perfect explanation as to why the yurt is a realistic solution to homelessness is the fact that yurts are extremely small compared to traditional style rancher and multi-story homes, and therefore take up less space per family unit. This allows, when needed, many people to create a close knit, affordable, and sustainable community.
Because yurts are generally 320 times smaller than conventional homes and are not considered permanent structures, yurts are able to be manufactured and erected for a fraction of what a conventional home costs to build. According to the official study: US Median and Average Sales Price of New Homes Sold in 2014, the average selling price of a home (without interest, property taxes, and utilities) was about $272,000. Taking that average sale price and comparing it against the $9K or so it would take to erect one yurt, the US would be able to install thirty one yurts able to house up to five people each. This means for the same price of a single family dwelling, yurts are able to house 155 homeless men, women, and children, who would permanently benefit from such a smart use of working capital!
On another note, to fight the effects of deforestation, yurts are a great way to lessen your home’s effect on the environment. As we mentioned above, yurts are impact free structures that do not hard the foundation they sit on. Because they also have a circular shape, these economical dwelling are able to circulate air fluidly, and have great insulating properties, eliminating the need for gas and electric heat. The simple building design requires very little construction supplies, and therefore makes even the design itself an eco-friendly alternative to contemporary dwellings. Yurts are also able to be connected to solar panels, turbines, and windmills for additional fees to create a fully sustainable “off the grid” structure. For people who take deforestation seriously, or for those who simply want to make less of an impact on the environment, yurts are definitely the right type of home for you.

Yurts- The Solution To Affordable Hawaiian Land

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Yurts- The Solution To Affordable Hawaiian Land
It is no secret that the cost of land and homes in the Hawaiian Islands is a serious contributor to the vast amount of social issues related to record levels of homelessness and careless disposal of waste within the string of islands.
Homelessness can be attributed to multiple factors, however one of the top reasons an individual becomes homeless is due to lack of affordable housing. Of course, “affordable” is a vague term, and varies according to individual and region. In many areas of Hawai’i, the cost for a one or two bedroom apartment does not drop below $800, usually excluding utilities. It is safe to say that the average cost of living in the Hawai’an Islands is an unrealistic figure for many individuals, especially low-income families such as single mothers. Although there are programs in Hawai’i for low income families, the lack of readily available affordable apartments and homes is a huge obstacle for individuals struggling financially.
According to the Maui Rental Housing Study Act in 2014, the demand for housing has dramatically increased over time during a simultaneous jump in residential sales, both of which have caused the definition of affordable housing on the Hawai’ian Islands to increase dramatically. However, the same study also states that the amount of building permits for next year’s residential construction are very minimal, foreshadowing no progress in the county towards more affordable housing options for the residents.
Much of the housing issues can be attributed to the “Morganistic” qualities of the booming tourism industry. Tourism and hospitality on the islands is a billion dollar industry, and as such has increased the demand for entry level hospitality positions across all the Hawai’ian Islands. This poses a problem for local residents, because a large amount of low income jobs eventually begin to endorse low income residents. This, coupled with the increased cost of land due to the booming tourist industry, begins to create unimaginably high rent prices.
This serious economical issue has caused a state-wide homeless epidemic. This unfortunate reality has rapidly spread throughout the Hawai’ian islands, making Hawai’i the state with the highest number of homeless residents. According to the State of Homelessness in America report from 2014, the estimated number of unsheltered people in the Hawai’ian islands last year was roughly 7,000.

How Yurts Can Help

The historical background of yurts declares a structure capable of solving extreme social problems. The yurt is an ideal structure for the Hawai’ian ‘aina because of it’s resilience against extreme sunlight, economical perks, and open design that promotes energy efficient air flow.
The entire composition of a yurt is built around the concept of economic efficiency and promoting a sustainable lifestyle. The yurt offers just that with the ability to evenly distribute light, airflow, and heat for cooler months. The simplistic structure of the yurt is easy to set up, and can be erected in a matter of hours. Because the structure is made of minimal materials, yurts usually cost under 20K for the structure, electrical, and plumbing- a much more affordable alternative than the average cost of a home in Hawai’i.
Although commonly geared towards residential use, yurts have the potential to be the pioneers of an economic and environmentally responsible commercial building industry. Compared to traditional hotels, restaurants, and home stays, yurts have a phenomenal advantage on the traditional western square structure. Yurts are much more economical to produce than standard commercial buildings because they require less raw materials, man power, and assembly room to build. Less up front costs for tourist-based businesses means less overhead before making a profit, but using yurts for commercial properties also promotes a less environmentally evasive approach to the tourism and hospitality business.
In some areas such as Europe, the Eastern US mountains, and some deserts, yurts are already being offered in place of hotel rooms and campsites for their inspirational and roomy design. Although the original yurt was a very basic structure, yurts have expanded into intricate architectural masterpieces, able to capture the spirit of any environment or theme. It is for their easy versatility that yurts are now seen in Fiji, Hawai’i, and the Caribbean not as residential structures, but as extravagant time shares and outdoor resorts.
Although the notion would not be favorable to many investors, these circular structures may hold the potential to protect property prices from skyrocketing. Because yurts are not high dollar investments, they do not tremendously increase the value of the land they sit on. The cost to manufacture and erect a single yurt is less than what it would cost to build a single hotel room, the structure does not increase the value of the land significantly, and subsequently, does not increase the value of the land surrounding it. This unique concept presents the possibility of capitalization without heavily impacting the surrounding cultural and economical balance as significantly as large conventional hotels do. If commercial projects were to begin installing yurts onto their properties, rather than engineering and constructing a full sky rise, not only would the environmental impact be severely lessened, but the surrounding properties would not jump up in price, leaving them attainable for Hawai’ian residents to enjoy.
In their more traditional setting, yurts are used for residential use as permanent dwellings. In most cases, a residential yurt is a free standing structure with an occasional room built off one area for a bathroom. In some more modernized instances, some yurts set-ups will feature a central yurt, with one or more breezeways leading to additional yurts for a more roomy alternative to the original single dwelling style. However, because yurts are such a livable and modestly price dwelling, the implementation of these structures into residential communities may be the first step towards a more affordable Hawai’ian housing market.

About Ohana Yurts

Ohana Yurts was founded on the dream of building an eco-village for the Positive Energetics Foundation on Oahu’s North Shore. At the time, there were no Hawai’i based yurt manufacturers to purchase from, forcing Positive Energetics to source yurts off of the mainland.