Category: Building

Wattle and Daub: An Quick, Easy, and Seismic Resistant Natural Building Option

Many people dream about building their own earthen home, whether that be from cob, adobe, rammed earth, or any other number of natural building techniques. The idea of using the earth beneath your feet to craft with your own hand a beautiful, natural structure that will shelter your family for years to come is indeed captivating. However, a good number of natural, earthen homes have been abandoned during the construction […]

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Health Benefits of Natural Earthen Construction

Somehow or another, the modern day, industrial world in which we live convinced us that dirt is unclean, impure, and well…. dirty. We worry when we see our children headed for a mud puddle, we agonize when a mud footprint makes its way onto our kitchen floor, and we´ll gladly walk an extra couple strides on the sidewalk to avoid even a step or two through the dirt. The idea […]

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Earthships: A Sustainable and Alluring Housing Option

The homes that we live in are the epitome of industrial pillage of the earth. Massive amounts of cheaply built lumber teeming with damaging chemicals from the structure of our homes. To heat and cool our homes, fossil fuels are pumped into our homes leading to excessive greenhouse gas emissions. Despite the comforts and luxuries that modern-day housing offers, for the most part, it is one of the most unsustainable […]

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Benefits of a Composting Toilet

Benefits of a Composting Toilet

When contemplating living off-grid, a tiny home, or reducing your use of natural resources in your home, one of the biggest things to come up is what type of water system you will use. There are plenty of options to choose from, you could use a well, a gray water system, water directly from a stream or river, or the simplest kind, a rain catch. If you are choosing a […]

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Passive Solar Design with Earthen Homes

During a long and cold winter, many of us might wonder if it is possible to stay warm without the benefit of a fossil fuel powered central heating system. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that close to 50% of all the energy used in American homes is for heating and cooling purposes. While it is nice to be able to walk barefoot in one’s home during the dead of […]

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3 Simple But Sustainable Ways to Build Tomato Cages

The fact of the matter is that tomatoes are, indeed, perennial plants when in their native tropics, but that is also beside the point because some foods, perennial or not, are just too damned tasty to fully wave goodbye to. There is a time and a place to play with tomatoes in the greenhouse, see how many years they might last. But, ultimately, when spring rolls around and temperatures start […]

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Building Pallet Furniture – A New Passion from an Old Flame

I am not a carpenter, which is to be summed up by saying I have no official training and only have any knowledge of how to work with wood through a combination of 1. handing my father nails as he hammered our barn together when I was about twelve or thirteen and 2. offering to help Drew, now one of my best friends, as he continually tackled projects around Earth […]

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The Birth of a Wooden House: Carpentry and Resilience in Latvia

In this video Jacob Neeman shows us an account of the building of his house in Latvia. What do you need to build a wooden house? Jacob starts at the beginning, with the forest. From a permaculture perspective this is very interesting; he is clearly engaging with the local ecosystem and uses mainly natural and local resources, with “Lime, sand and concrete mixture [used] only in small amounts”. Every step […]

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What is an Earthship?

What is an Earthship? The name itself is a source of puzzlement and wonder to some readers. Some might even think that it’s a vessel where only a chosen people can go to when the world is going under. Here’s the truth though. Anyone can go to an Earthship. But what is it anyway? An Earthship is actually a place where people can live. The place is applying sustainable practices […]

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Agari Permaculture Farm

A film about Agari Permaculture Farm showing their amazing cob house, earthbag dome, kitchen/social area, and the awesome people who were there! Living the Change This film was made as part of our Living the Change series. For this series we’re traveling around New Zealand making short documentary films about permaculture farms, tiny houses, and sustainability. Connect with Jordan Website: http://happenfilms.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jordosmond Support Happen Films I release all of […]

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Storing Heat Underground in a Geosolar System

As an engineer and permaculture designer living in a cold-climate, I am particularly fascinated with the interplay between thermodynamics and design and with capturing “waste” energy and finding novel, inexpensive and efficient ways to store and/or recapture and re-use it. One of these such systems, is geothermal storage. In late 2015, our consulting company, Adaptive Habitat, was hired to design and install a geosolar heat collection system just north of […]

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How to Heat and Cool Your Home Without Electricity

Electricity carried through an immense web of copper eventually makes its way into our homes, providing the endless supply we need for temperature control. It’s expensive, and in some places the air conditioning can easily account for half the electricity bill. Paying this upkeep could even make the difference between life and death in extreme climates. Thankfully, there are other options out there. Using alternative building techniques, houses can be designed that passively heat and cool themselves all year long – without electricity!

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