With every new building or home that gets constructed, added on, or remodeled comes the opportunity to create a structure that uses less energy and more sustainable materials. The options for sustainable construction and design are many; here are three techniques to consider.
Straw Bale Building
This type of building construction uses mainly bales of straw and plaster, and it creates thick walls that are about twice as energy efficient as typical stick-framed houses. This is a popular method for families who build their own homes. Learn more at Expert Advice on Straw Bale Building.
A cordwood structure includes a timber frame with thick walls made mainly of chunks of firewood and mortar, and can also include colored glass bottles (you can arrange these in different ways for a personal touch) and sawdust. These walls are also very energy efficient. Learn about a cool structure built with cordwood in Off-the-Grid Cordwood Construction Community Center.
Passive solar design can be used in conjunction with any type of building method, as it is in large part about the orientation of the building and placement of the windows. The basic concept is to take advantage of the sun to help heat the home in winter and shade to help cool the home in summer. Learn more in Understanding Passive Solar Heating and Cooling.
Does your home take advantage of any sustainable building methods? Are there methods you’ve been meaning to learn about? Share your experiences in the comments section. Saving energy and using better materials starts with learning and helpful conversation.
Photo by Richard Flatau