Alternative Construction

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For information about our plans for adapting our"urban homestead" to meet the looming challenges of peak oil, climate instability, and economic irrationality, see Gatewood Urban Homestead, the permaculture design for our home.

Cob Earth Building
General Green Roofs
Retrofits Strawbale

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Sustainable Building Sourcebook , from a to z, access and information. gren builders handbook

Down to earth building bee , building solutions for sustainable communities.

Natural Building Photo Gallery , beautiful and unusual homes.

Strawbale Housing Photo Gallery , photos of historic and contemporary buildings.

Strawbale Construction Photo Gallery , from unloading the bales to the roof.

Skillful Means information about straw bale construction and sustainable building practices from an experienced architectural and construction firm. Check out their What's New? page for information about their "mission to Mongolia," where one of the firm's principles is teaching straw bale construction. If you think a strawbale house would look tacky, check out the photos on this page of beautiful strawbale homes.

Earthfriendly and Self-Sufficient Architectures also from the U of Colorado.

Sustainable Architecture, Building, and Culture links and content for ecological building.

Sustainable Home Ownership Initiative of the National Consumer Law Center , one of the nation's leading experts on low-income consumer issues. The Home Ownership Initiative researches and exposes predatory lending practices typically found in low income areas, and helps people understand their rights and options.

National Affordable Housing Network , has plans for affordable houses suitable for construction by volunteers, homeowners, or contractors, featuring R-40 walls and R-60 insulation in the attic, high performance heating systems (annual heating cost of one of these homes in Duluth, Minnesota was only $128!) Construction is explained and sequenced so that it is easy for untrained people to be guided in the work.

The Eco Design Experience , 6 week course

The Co-housing Network , a type of collaborative housing featuring private dwellings surrounding one or more larger common buildings. A good on-line library of articles on the subject, access, connections, there may be one forming in your area. Adaptable to a variety of "intentions" in starting such a community.

New Zealand Ecovillages and Community Housing project , teaching low income people skills to construct affordable housing, providing land and resources for such projects, and initiating eco-villages.

Eco House , from the St. Petersburg Sustainable Community Development project. Aims to convert apartment buildings into sustainable communities, with roof tops gardens, recycling and composting, energy savings, resident ownership of the building as a cooperative.

Yellow Mountain Institute , research and development on sustainable building technologies.

Project Echo , creating low cost, sustainable building technologies that are disaster resistant (particularly tornadoes and earthquakes).

Robert Bolman's Natural Building and Social Justice Page , with a description of the strawbale/cob house his is building, plus information about his slide show presentations in the US Northwest.

Sustainable architecture, building, and culture , content and links, lots of resources here.

California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture , a beautiful site with lots of information and pictures.

Hartworks , books and videos about alternative living. componets of sustainability



The Last Straw , a quarterly journal of straw bale construction and natural building.

Lighthook's strawbale house page. Information

Straw Bale Central , clearinghouse for information and techniques.

50 strawbale house plans , interesting, innovative, beautiful.



Cob Cottage , information about this low-tech building technology.

What is cob? Basic info, plus beautiful pictures, of hand sculpted homes.

Jan's COB and Natural Building website , access to do-it-yourself, alternative, and affordable building technologies.

Cob Web II , great access to cob building resources. Great pictures, look what you can make with mud, straw, and stones.

Cob Works , instruction, accommodation, construction. Visit this beautiful location on Mayne Island in British Columbia and discover the beauty of cob construction. Site has nice explanations with beautiful pictures of the many creative possibilities using cob construction.



Home Improvement , from Better Homes and Gardens, plumbing, carpentry, wiring, masonry and concrete, Energy Conservation in the Home .

Insulation Basics , from Nova Scotia Power (they should know up there!).

Home Solutions basic info about various housing/construction issues. Frequently Asked Questions about insulation and other home energy issues, from a South Carolina utility company.


Earth Building

Earthships are a low-tech, cost-effective, Earth-friendly, affordable housing option (at least,

Timber Framers Guild , timber framing is a centuries old construction technique using large beams (8" x 8" or larger).

Day Creek , access to cordwood building information, has on-line forums relating to alternative house building and construction techniques. Build a house for $12/square foot , a cord wood house in Wisconsin. Day Creek Journal , follow the Mason family as they build their own cordwood home.


Green Roofs

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities , green roofs help regulate the inside temperature of a building, clean up air pollution, provide beauty, sound insulation, and food production.

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