Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sustainable Hemp Building

 Here's an interesting video which deals with the use of hemp in cement for building cheap and durable housing. According to the video, the part of the hemp plant which is left over after the extraction of the fiber from its stalk can be mixed with lime to form a substance which is stronger than cement at only 1/6 of the weight.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Low Impact Woodland Home

I recently came across a great website that details the planning and building process of a low impact woodland housing project in Britain, and decided to use it as inspiration for my first blog post.


The picture above shows the finished project; a very unconventional, yet cozy little house which you'd likely expect to see in one of the 'Lord Of The Rings' movies over any neighborhood in the U.S. As you may be able to tell by looking out it, the builders set out to create a home which is especially close to nature, and do so with the utmost regard for the environment.

According to their website, this house (which is home to a couple and their two young children) was built almost entirely of materials taken from the surrounding woodland or materials salvaged from other homes/junkyards- the skeletal structure is made from local timber, the foundation's constructed from stones which were uncovered while excavating the site, and the walls and floors are made from straw-bails, which are both cheap and extremely well insulating. 

 All together, the home took 4 months from the time construction began until the move-in. It required approximately 1000-1500 man hours of labour and a total investment of merely £3000 (approx. $4250), which isn't much at all when compared with the costs of other housing options on this scale.

Their website is certainly a valuable resource for anyone interested in starting their own sustainable housing project, especially for those on a low budget with limited construction experience. Along with construction planning resources, this site also brings together a lot of important information related to the planning permission process in the U.K. There's simply too much important info from this site to cover in one shot, so I'm planning on writing a follow-up to this post in the near future, but until then, take some time to check out their website, which I've linked above.

Welcome to my Blog!

Hi everyone, and welcome to my Sustainable Housing Projects blog! Over the course of the next few months my plan is to use this space to bring together a wide variety of different resources relating to the general topic of sustainable housing, with my main focus being in the area of existing sustainable housing projects. I'll be posting my thoughts, links to websites, photos, videos, articles, and pretty much anything else that I feel might be of value. My goal is to connect with as many people who share an interest in sustainability as possible, and eventually build a wide-reaching social network to help with the process of spreading this information (so if that sounds like you please follow my blog!) Thanks for joining me and stay tuned!