Many people dream of building their own home, but the financial cost and environmental toll of starting from scratch can often seem overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be. By stepping outside the box and using natural methods, almost anyone can afford to build their own green home out of sustainablematerials. “Earth homes” utilize surrounding terrain or other natural elements such as dirt, bamboo, wood, and clay to create a space with a negligible environmental impact. These homes are very well insulated due to thick earth walls, and therefore stay cooler in summer and warmer in winter than traditional stick-built homes. Naturally, this results in less of a need for artificial heating or cooling and therefore a reduced energy bill. Smart designers of earth homes also employ passive solar design strategies for maximum efficiency. And they look and feel wonderful. If you’re in the market for a more affordable, sustainable home, look no further than these seven designs from around the world.
1. Dome-shaped earth bag house keeps residents cool in Colombia
La Casa Vergara’s uncommon dome shapes may captivate the eye, but what’s underneath is most impressive. The Bogota home, built by architect Jose Andres Vallejo, is made from “earth bags,” or tubular bags stuffed with – you guessed it – earth. These bags are stacked atop each other and encased in concrete on both sides, which work together to prevent both earthquake and water damage. Exposed timber beams and plentiful daylighting make everyday living a bit greener and the $28 per square foot price tag puts the home within many buyers’ price range.