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.
- Part one covers Adobe, Earthbag, SuperAdobe, and Cob Homes.
- Part two covers Straw-Bale, Earthship, Earth-Sheltered, and Cordwood Homes.
- Part three covers Geodesic Domes, Wood Pallet Homes, Shipping Container Homes, Yurts, and Hexayurts
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.
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.
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).
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.
Subscribe to TCPermaculture.com and receive updates whenever a new article is posted!