To build your own green home is something that many of us would like to do, but probably won’t. But if you are the creative kind and find some land, then it may be an option. Green homes use breathable natural materials, and are actually pretty cheap to build, if you are just going for a small house with some land, rather than some ambitious Grand Designs type project. Read Barn Club, a tale of a community in Hertfordshire who ‘raised a green barn’ (a bit like they do in the Amish film ‘Witness’).
Building a Sustainable Home is a good overview of the green building movement. Learn why green homes are better, and how they also save energy, water and bills. This also is an ideal introductory book for architects. The main green building materials are:
- Straw bale. This is the waste leftover from the farming industry, and yet is burned that creates climate change, instead of being used to build naturally insulated homes. When plastered with lime, it’s as safe as wood and a popular cheap quick way to build (you can even buy straw bale bricks). Read A Complete Guide to Straw Bale Building.
- Cob is a mix of clay and a few other materials, and is another cheap and simple way to build a home. It’s often used to make outbuildings. Cornwall has many pretty coloured cob buildings. Read Building with Cob (the authors are experts in natural plasters and run their own company Clayworks which sells naturally-coloured clay plasters).
- Hempcrete is again waste material and makes a good way to build a home. Also read The Passivhaus Handbook on how to build an energy-efficient home. The book Green Home Building gives a good overview on all the different types of green building materials.
- Most green buildings are very energy-efficient. See lots of ways to save energy (which covers insulation, windows etc). Green Spec and Green Building Store both offer green building materials.
Green Buildings Worldwide
Let’s not be like Trumpians, and consider only our own small patch of land. Greener buildings are also needed worldwide, especially in a world of growing freak weather. Homes for a Changing Climate looks at homes worldwide are being built, to adapt to climate change. These buildings can withstand floods, high winds, intense rainstorms and rising sea levels.
The Houses We Build looks at the problems we face around the world, with housing. How can we build enough safe, comfortable and energy-efficient homes, without contributing to climate change and habitat destruction?