February 21, 2014
Five Alternative Materials to Consider When Building a Home
Environmental awareness is changing the actions and decisions of many consumers. Nowhere is this more evident than in the building industry. Today's home buyers are choosing to build homes from eco-friendly materials and are incorporating lots of energy saving features and appliances into their
homes. Home builders like Coral Homes are building energy-efficient homes that use design to be environmentally savvy. Some early adopters are building houses using alternative methods and materials. Here are five examples.
The Cob House
While cob houses have been around for a very long time, they are enjoying an upsurge in popularity. Cob is a mixture of earth and straw. Blocks are made using the earth and straw mixture and used as bricks. While brick making is labour intensive it's really inexpensive and very versatile as bricks can be moulded into almost any shape required. The material lends itself well to round structures. The finished cob house has a lovely earthen finish, looking very much like the house is made from clay.
Straw Bale Homes
Another very innovative alternative building material is the straw bale. Basically, bales of straw are used to construct the frame of the home or provide excellent insulation when placed within a wooden house frame. Straw bales are completely natural and also very inexpensive. Like the cob house, straw bale homes are very versatile and can be adapted to suit most home designs. Generally steel bars or bamboo rods are utilised to support the straw bales to make them strong
The Green Roof
People have begun to use plants as part of their home's structure. A green roof is just that, a roof that has been designed to support a variety of small plants on its surface. The green roof not only looks amazing but has very practical applications. The green roof reflects heat rather than absorbing it like traditional rooves, so it is a great insulator. It also acts to reduce noise and air pollution. The green roof actively helps manage storm water, absorbing much of the rain. Small plants are used so that the green roof only needs a few centimetres of soil. Once established the green roof is very low maintenance
Green walls operate in a similar way to the green roof. They are both beautiful and highly functional. A green wall is basically a vertical garden and can even incorporate some edible food. The green wall concept makes use of otherwise wasted space, turning walls into a garden. A green wall will keep your home cooler
The earthship was first designed in the 70's. The concept of an earthship is to re-use materials to create an energy efficient home. Used tyres make an excellent frame, being both durable and flexible. The earthship is usually built by those with a passion to re-use materials; things like old bottles, tins and ceramics can be used as resources for building. Earthships usually use only alternative energy is an attempt at off the grid living.
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