If you read my article on building an intentional community, you’ll see that I am strongly recommending bypassing the traditional mortgage path and promoting build-it-yourself, alternative housing. I have shared a few posts in the past on some of the alternative housing options, but I thought it would be fun to give a brief overview of the more common (of the overall uncommon) alternative housing options that are available today.

Obviously, the photos in this article are just a sampling of what exists and what is possible. These photos are meant to give a general sense of what a building style looks like.

As I started to put this article together, I realized it was going to be photo intensive. I decided to break it up into a few parts.

Here is part two, covering Straw-Bale, Earthship, Earth-Sheltered, and Cordwood Homes.

Straw-Bale: Traditional bales of straw (oats, rice, rye, wheat, etc.) are used to act as insulation (in-fill) and/or structural support for walls. Straw-bale construction is resistant to fire and has high insulation value, but may be susceptible to rot if not properly prepared/cared for.

Straw-Bale Home under construction

Straw-Bale Home under construction

Straw-Bale Home almost completed

Straw-Bale Home almost completed

Strawbale07

Straw-Bale Home

Strawbale04

Straw-Bale interior (passive solar design)

Straw-Bale interior

Straw-Bale interior

Straw-Bale interior

Straw-Bale interior

Straw-Bale interior

Straw-Bale interior

Strawbale08

Straw-Bale interior

Click here for more photos of Straw-Bale homes

 

Earthship: A design which typically uses recycled materials as major building components, often old tires filled with earth. It incorporates passive-solar design, thermal mass temperature regulation, and well-designed ventilation systems.

Earthship exterior

Earthship exterior

Earthship exterior

Earthship exterior

Earthship exterior

Earthship exterior

Earthship exterior

Earthship exterior

Earthship interior

Earthship interior

Earthship interior

Earthship interior

Earthship interior

Earthship interior

Earthship interior

Earthship interior

 

Earth-Sheltered Home: These are houses which use earth (soil) to moderate temperatures inside the structure. These can be only on the roof (“earth-covered”) and may incorporated plantings to be a living roof, although not all living roofs provide temperature moderation. These can be houses where one or more walls are covered in earth to provide moderation of temperature (“earth-bunded”). Or these can be homes where all walls and roof are covered in earth (“subterranean”, a.k.a. an underground home).

Earth-Sheltered Home

Earth-Sheltered Home

Earth-Sheltered Home exterior

Earth-Sheltered Home exterior

EarthSheltered02

Earth-Sheltered Home exterior

EarthSheltered03

Earth-Sheltered Home exterior

EarthSheltered05

Earth-Sheltered Home exterior

Earth-Sheltered Home exterior

Earth-Sheltered Home exterior

Earth-Sheltered Interior

Earth-Sheltered Interior

Earth-Sheltered Interior

Earth-Sheltered Interior

Earth-Sheltered Interior

Earth-Sheltered Interior

 

Cordwood Home: Short pieces of debarked tree trunks and branches (cordwood) are stacked up, with masonry or cob, in between to build a wall. These are simple and quick to build, but require well-aged wood.

Cordwood03

Cordwood Home construction

Cordwood Home exterior

Cordwood Home exterior

Cordwood02

Cordwood Home exterior

Cordwood Home exterior

Cordwood Home exterior

Cordwood07

Cordwood Home exterior

Cordwood08

Cordwood Home exterior

Cordwood04

Cordwood Home exterior

Cordwood Home interior

Cordwood Home interior

Cordwood Home interior

Cordwood Home interior

Cordwood Home Interior

Cordwood Home Interior

 

 

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Photo References:

  • http://stmedia.startribune.com/images/ows_137668665252297.jpg
  • http://stmedia.startribune.com/images/ows_137668664932220.jpg
  • http://strawbale.pbworks.com/f/SBS%20tree%20interior705.jpg
  • http://inspirationalvillage.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/p1010071_1.jpg
  • http://inspirationalvillage.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/p1010003.jpg
  • http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-SYyFzeElH88/T3Sjutp4CCI/AAAAAAAABdI/ZDd8H1jySrM/s1600/Straw_Bale_09.jpg
  • http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bb/Earthship_Brighton_Front.jpg
  • http://tasmanecovillage.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Earthship_2.jpg
  • http://www.dreamgreenhomes.com/plans/images/earthship4.jpg
  • http://www.dreamgreenhomes.com/plans/images/earthshipE.jpg
  • http://krisdedecker.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2007/11/26/copy_luxueus_earthship.jpg
  • http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_u1RG2v1s4zI/S60Phxh_b3I/AAAAAAAABK4/2qWnrrd0bMI/s1600/earthship.jpg
  • http://chesterfieldpagans.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/earthship-brighton-interior.jpg
  • http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/93/Earthship_inside_greenhouse.JPG
  • http://juliekinnear.com/imagesall/2013/01/Interior.jpeg
  • http://www.inspirationgreen.com/assets/images/Blog-Building/Earth%20Sheltered/Honingham%20Earth%20Sheltered%20Social%20Housing.jpg
  • http://www.gardenvisit.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/98174411_cb467868c8_o.jpg
  • http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com/news/specials/weirdflorida/blog/Earth_home.jpg
  • http://www.evekushner.com/img/post/WellsRavenRocks2.jpg
  • http://homenizing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/earth-contact-home-designs.jpg
  • http://static.davidreport.com/2010/05/earth-house.jpg
  • http://static.davidreport.com/2010/05/earth-sheltered.jpg
  • http://www.naturalbuildingblog.com/wp-content/uploads/quonset-home-interior.jpg
  • http://www.earthshelter.com/performance/images/int%203%20(Small).jpg
  • http://www.inspirationgreen.com/assets/images/Blog-Building/Cordwood%20Bldg/cordwood-house%20rainharvest.jpg
  • http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-K_ZArnGcaAs/T9x1-5pX9fI/AAAAAAAAAEU/SHcrcRkwZUI/s1600/cordwood+walls.jpg
  • http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2012/07/19/garden/19CORDWOOD_SPAN/19CORDWOOD_SPAN-articleLarge.jpg
  • http://roofthatch.com/images/galleryimagepool-hires/thatch-potting-shed-with-rabbit-hutch-02.jpg
  • http://naturalhomes.org/house/cordwood/usa/harrisville9.jpg
  • http://theownerbuildernetwork.co/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/cordwood/111111.jpg
  • http://www.rochestergreenliving.com/images/stories/colorado%20cordwood.jpg
  • http://cordwoodconstruction.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/steve-peters-copper-harbor-michigan-north-shore-construction1.jpg?w=500&h=339
  • http://housecrazy.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/cordwood-house-interior.jpg
  • http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/236x/3d/55/fd/3d55fddaa7257195ea457d382d653fb8.jpg