Did you know there were alternatives to the usual bricks and mortar houses? And at a fraction of the cost? The best of these options is that once you get the basics, you can use unskilled labour to build. This is great for job creation and skills transfer!! And not being in debt for the rest of your life paying off a house!
Cob houses are made with sand, clay, straw and water. Materials you could find on your property. No hard corners here! You can turn your house into a fairytale wonderland. If Jill Hogan in Cape Town can do it, so can we. The designs are practically endless and only limited by your imagination.
Straw bales are stacked like blocks to form the walls of a structure and covered with a plaster. Straw bale walls have high insulation and are sound proof. They also work great in combination with cob. The Starflower Strawbale Project in Jhb has all the answers on this one.
Fill bags with sand, pat them down into a structure and you're on your way. Locals offering courses in how to do this are Eco Steps in Hoedspruit. Colleen is super friendly and helpful! They helped in getting legislation changed to get loans for these types of buildings.
Gorgeous wooden structures covered with canvas and felt - get creative and make a pod! I can't find local suppliers yet, but check out the guys in the UK.
A comprehensive explanation on more alternative building methods can be found on Build It Green.
Additional Resources and Other Building / Energy News
- Bamboo Houses from Ibuku
- Biophile Magazine - Green Building
- Container Houses - Videos on How to Build One
- Composting to Create Hot Water
- Deciwatt building lights that don't need electricity, batteries or solar power
- Earthship Head Quarters
- Easy Ways to Get Water to Your Dry Cabin
- How to Build a Cheap House
- How to Build an Off-Grid Home from Dirt
- How to Build an Off-Grid Home with Newspaper
- How to Start a 1 Acre Self-Sustaining Homestead
- Natural Building Around the World
- Natural Building Blog
- Natural Building Collective Blog Western Cape
- Natural Building Collective Courses
- Natural Homes cobbing, strawbaling, stone, timber etc
- Off Grid Quest
- Off the Grid Solutions - Johannesburg
- Project 90x2030 South African endeavour to reduce our carbon footprint by 90% by 2030
- Singapore Builds Solar-Powered Super-Trees
- Solar Solutions
- Strawbale Homes Amazing Appeal
- Tiny House Movement
- Water Purification
- 50 Year Old Woman Builds a Tiny House
- Cob Dreams another woman that built her own house
- Elora Hardy and her Bamboo Houses
- How to Build an Eco Friendly B&B
- Just 50GBP a Year on Bills
- Living Life Outside the System - in 2 Containers
- Marcelle's Miracle Cob House - Cullinan, South Africa
- Man Builds Fairytale Home for His Family for $4700
- Man Builds House for $150
- Sandbag House in Jeffreys Bay
- Sprawling Earth Home for $8000
- The Man Who Lives Without Money
- The Mud Home Atula built her own house
- Two Women Build an Earthbag Home