[:en]When looking for ways to be more eco-conscious and sustainable, it makes sense to start with your home. While there are a variety of ways to save energy around your existing house, for some homeowners this isn’t enough and they instead choose to build an alternative home that is green from the ground up. In addition to saving tons of money on energy costs, many of these homes made from creative alternative building materials are also super affordable when compared to a conventional home. Here are a few examples of alternative, green homes to get your imagination going:
Shipping containers are cheap, extremely durable, and even flood and fire-proof, which explains why many people are now looking at shipping containers as building materials for their homes rather than just a place you store goods that are being shipped somewhere. To get inspired, check out these stunning shipping container homes.
Who knew that reclaimed grain silos would be the hottest new alternative housing trend? Silo homes are affordable, wind-resistant (making them especially popular in areas prone to high winds) and cheap to heat and cool. And as you can see from these cool examples, silo homes come in a variety of styles.
Earthships are designed to be completely off-the-grid and self-sufficient, usually powered by solar and using their design and materials to naturally keep cool in the summer and warm in the winter. If you’re ever in Taos, New Mexico you can rent one of the original earthships as a vacation rental to see if the earthship lifestyle is for you.
Cob houses are made from natural materials, most often a combination of subsoil, water, and straw. They are designed to be comfortable year-round while using very little energy, and are based on an ancient building technique. While most cob houses are quaint cottage-style homes, it is possible to build a larger home with cob material quite affordably.
Earth Berm Homes
Earth berm homes are built directly into the earth, usually into a hillside, and sometimes resemble whimsical Hobbit homes. Part of an earth berm home is above ground and part is below ground, with high windows and skylights providing daylight and warmth to the part that is below ground. These homes are affordable to build and incredibly energy-efficient, with the surrounding earth providing natural insulation, cooling in summer, and warmth in the winter.
Straw Bale Homes
Straw bale homes are constructed from straw bales and then covered in more conventional building materials to resemble a traditional home. Straw bale homes are cheap to build and known for being rugged, durable, and highly energy efficient. Straw bales make terrific insulation, so your straw bale home will keep cool in the summer and warm in the winter without high electric bills. The most affordable and earth-friendly straw bale houses combine the straw bales with recycled and repurposed building materials.
As housing prices continue to rise and more people seek ways to lower their carbon footprints, the alternative housing market will only continue to grow.[:]