home building





7/1/2015
The project is moving forward and most of our focus is on building the interior walls and developing a plan for the next stages of the project. Part 7 takes a look at the unique framing that was required.
6/22/2015
Part 6 explores the range of decisions that a person has to make on a project. For me, I had to decide how to stay on this project and if it was worth it.
6/11/2015
Part 5 takes the reader behind the scenes of this massive project. Most people only see the pictures and the smiles on people's faces on projects like these, but the larger the project, the larger the reality as we see in Part 5. The reality is, the project can be tougher off the building site than on!
6/2/2015
Ever thought about designing and building your own space? Darles Eaton will walk you through thoughful design, best materials and lessons learned.
5/26/2015
By now, the project is starting to gain serious momentum, the great challenge at this point will be trying to sift through the dozens of people walking up the driveway who are looking for work.
5/6/2015
Steve Maxwell explains why living the bootstrap lifestyle and living with less leaves you with more in the end.
4/16/2015
The steps involved in receiving a building permit require some advance planning and paperwork. If you’re hoping to build in the future you’ll want to review the building permit requirements in your area several months before your planned construction start date.
4/3/2015
Not all green building materials are fancy, engineered products. One couple explores the saved-from-the-landfill options at local Habitat for Humanity ReStores. Hard to beat preventing waste, supporting Habitat for Humanity’s mission, and finding great deals on materials for a new-home construction in one fell swoop.
3/6/2015
Before beginning construction on their new home, this couple is taking steps to prepare their land for their impending move-in by planting perennial natives, building some walking trails, cutting firewood to dry, and more. They’re having a blast!
2/23/2015
Before beginning construction on their new home, one couple assesses which renewable energy sources make sense for their location and situation.
2/9/2015
As I drive around in my travels, I can't help but notice that most houses have icicles hanging off them. Most of the time, the icicles are there for a very specific reason — a reason that can be fixed. Think of icicles as dollar signs, because that is what they are! This article discusses how we diagnosed a major ice problem on a house in Michigan and what scenarios we cooked up to fix the problem.
1/25/2015
One couple recounts how they pursued a land zoning waiver in order to secure a building permit on their recently purchased rural property.
12/15/2014
The bleeding edge of technology is where the true pioneers of their respective industry reside. Adam D. Bearup has had his own impact in the green building field on several fronts, above and below ground.
12/12/2014
We received some good additional tips on buying land and building a home. These pieces of advice are a roundup of comments taken from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Facebook page.
11/24/2014
This variation on the (endlessly adaptable) traditional Mongolian yurt design was inspired by the work of master yurt builder, educator, and homesteader Bill Coperthwaite (who was also a neighbor and friend of the Nearings). This low-cost yurt design combines basketry, wattle and daub, and basic lashing (similar to skin-on-frame boats). Not much more than a glorified tent, this DIY yurt made from sticks, string and mud makes a very comfortable, durable and beautiful tiny house, studio, or meditation space.
11/22/2014
If you want to own property, you have to find a way to finance buying land. Here, one couple explains how they took out a mortgage to build a home and purchase land.
11/2/2014
There are multiple philosophies that describe what characterizes a green home, but all have low energy loads in common.
9/17/2014
Doug and Jennie Ostgaard designed and built a photovoltaic system for their home, a project they was completed in six months. DIY photovoltaic solar has many benefits, and they outline a few of them here.
9/10/2014
How to go from buying everything at Wally World to growing organic vegetables, raising livestock, building an efficient home, and a Do-It-Yourself, self-sufficient lifestyle.
8/22/2014
Learn how to build a straw bale home by downloading this free guide.
7/3/2014
Watch this video to learn how to build tiny home for just $2,000.
3/4/2014
A new building insulation guide is available from NAIMA Canada to assist homeowners in choosing the right insulation for new building and DIY home renovation projects.
2/19/2014
Website links to earthbag building projects.
2/5/2014
Glimpse a view into the world of cordwood construction. This old-fashioned, natural building technique can inspire you to build an energy-efficient, mortgage-free house of your own.
12/31/2013
A review of hammers of friend Jack Fulton.
11/21/2013
Although forced air is the most common form of home heat in North America it is far from ideal. This article explains why Building Biology regards the masonry heater as the ultimate heating system for health, comfort and ecology.
5/7/2013
Get an introduction to Building Biology, the science and philosophy of healthy and ecological building that originated in Germany 60 years ago.
5/7/2013
Everything you need to know about avoiding problems when you build or remodel your own house. Learn from the mistakes of others and make fewer of your own.
4/29/2013
I decided to build double 2-by-4 walls to achieve 14-inch thick super-insulated walls. This is just one way of achieving the high R-values for net zero energy homes.
4/25/2013
To me, the most important features of a sustainable building are not its technological wonders but its simple design features: common-sense strategies that should be incorporated whether the building becomes LEED certified, Energy Star certified, or is just trying to be environmentally friendly.
4/25/2013
Heating water is the highest drain that laundry machines and dishwashers have on your bill. Onaverage, water heating accounts for 18 percent of your energy bill.
4/24/2013
An introduction to Paula Baker-Laporte's future readers : about Paula, multiple chemical sensitivities, Building Biology and the role of green building in health.
3/12/2013
Here is yet another possible building project presented to you which requires no formal training, very little money, and techniques/methods that anyone can use. This blog intends to inspire you to take on a natural building project like this one. Don´t have fear if this is your first time working with these techniques and materials — it often for us also! Swattlesfield Campground is frequented by many kinds of people for various reasons. The owner, Jonathan, wanted to introduce some activity which would draw people together. We had the perfect idea: pizza!  Food, especially food that requires waiting, has a tendency to attract people. And once humans have a good reason to be in the same place, the rest (socialization) has a tendency to just work.
2/13/2013
For one week, BuildingGreen is offering a free download of an insulation guide, available with a 30-day trial of BuildingGreen Suite.
11/19/2012
Additional reinforcement is required around the garage door opening.
11/19/2012
Scaffolding is required to access the walls to pour the concrete. Scaffolding also helps support the walls.
11/19/2012
ICF walls must be carefully braced to prevent blowout.
11/11/2012
ICFs are not the most environmentally friendly green building product, but result in super energy efficient home, and offer many other benefits, that offset their origin from petrochemicals.
11/11/2012
Insulating concrete forms are an excellent choice for foundations for passive solar, net zero energy homes. They create a highly insulated, air-tight foundation, so essential for extremely high energy performance.
11/3/2012
Don't forget to budget in the cost of deeper excavation and add $1000 to $2000 as a budget contingecy in case you run into bedrock.
10/28/2012
Be sure to install under-the-footing conduit to run electrical and water pipes, including sewer. I like to run pipes and wire under the foot to prevent penetrating the band joist or the foundation to create a more airtight, water tight home.
10/28/2012
Insulation under the slab -- and lots of it -- is vital for the performance of a net zero energy home. So is the footprint. You can make the most of passive solar by creating a longer, narrower house in which each room is heated by the sun.
10/1/2012
Creating a net zero energy home requires that we eliminate all thermal bridging loss -- heat movement into and out of a building. All this starts in the basement.
10/1/2012
To build a net zero energy home, you'll need to design for passive gain. That requires a shallower footprint to ensure that the low-angled winter sun can enter and heat each room.
8/30/2012
Community food events are an outstanding way to share the abundance of our harvest and strengthen local community ties.
8/5/2012
In this blog, I describe two of the first and most important design considerations -- the length and depth of the home and the layout of rooms for optimum passive solar gain.
7/31/2012
A listing of companies that offer green dwellings in the form of modular, prefab, manufactured, compact, or mobile structures. These days, many such options are available that are not only green, but also beautiful, well-made, and often low-cost.
7/10/2012
A key choice was what type of house to build. We aren't in Texas more than a few weeks a year until we make our final move back. We wanted a structure we could enclose to protect the interior from the elements and yet build in stages as time and money allow.
6/6/2012
Our humble abode begins to take shape.
6/5/2012
In this blog, my architect James Plagmann and I begin to tell the story of the construction of Dan's new net zero energy homes. Dan begins by laying the ground, defining a few terms and describing his experience in this field.
5/16/2012
I’m curious about building a straw bale house. What are some good resources to consult?
4/2/2012
Finally, we start to take shape.
3/28/2012
This index links to some recent and popular posts related to green building, design, remodeling, and home improvement. The posts cover a broad range of topics, from green products to projects to practices, as well as sustainable communities.
2/8/2012
A discussion of three power tools to prep your logs or timbers for building.
1/20/2012
Find out which states and countries have the greatest number of LEED Platinum certified projects, and where the Platinum projects are located. Plus, a list of some LEED Platinum rated homes and residential buildings, with links to case studies.
12/22/2011
Humanure management for maximum nutrient secuestration and minimum resource loss.
11/18/2011
At last, we construct the foundation.
11/3/2011
An amazing, off-the-grid Welsh hobbit house was built in less than four months and for less than $5,000.
10/17/2011
GO Home, built by architecture and construction firm G•O Logic LLC, received the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) 2011 LEED for Homes Project of the Year Award.
9/20/2011
Before winter's chill starts to compromise comfort and elevate home energy bills, there are 5 energy-saving upgrades you can complete.
7/31/2011
Jeff and wife Kathy have lived off-grid since 2002. They strive to inform the public about ways to live inexpensively, and to further the principle of sustainability. Visit their website to learn more: www.naturalpower.weebly.com
7/29/2011
From a home built into a cliff to a home built out from laundry soap boxes, these homes prove how fun and satisfying it is to push the conventional edge. It's your house. Create whatever you want.
7/14/2011
New photos of Lloyd House's Leaf House
6/28/2011
Learn to build your own Hand-Crafted Log Home
6/16/2011
Our process of buying the land for our homestead had little to do with logic and a lot to do with emotion. For me, it was a chance to return to the plains where I grew up and be close to family.
6/14/2011
Custom Curve is the first glass window system with a structurally engineered framework that follows the curved wall of the yurt.
6/14/2011
After a wildfire destroyed their off-the-grid compound in Colorado, Betty and Rolland rebuilt—better than before—following Rolland’s creed: no plywood, no plastic and nothing that smells bad when it burns. The wildlife around their home approve.
6/13/2011
Jim and Julie are starting their homestead in Texas while still living in Australia. Managing the project by remote control is the challenge, and they are learning as they go. This is an adventure of faith and confidence.
5/31/2011
When a fire destroyed their home and office near San Luis Obispo, Ken Haggard and Polly Cooper seized the opportunity to build the off-the-grid straw bale home of their dreams. Their comfortable compound now houses two other families as well.
5/19/2011
Simone Swan built her off-the-grid domed and vaulted home in Presidio, Texas, as a model of how financially and thermally efficient adobe can be. For $50 a square foot, she built a masterpiece. She says you can, too.
5/11/2011
Building homes using dangerous and impactful industrial chemicals--in the name of energy efficiency--is not sustainable or ecological, a green building veteran says. His Health-Based Building model is an important step forward for green design.
5/6/2011
Live in a dome home in this week’s Photo of the Week. Remember to submit your own pictures, and you could be the next Photo of the Week!
4/20/2011
The Lehigh Valley Green Builders is presenting its third annual Green Home and Building Expo.
4/14/2011
Guy and Kay Baker and their three sons spent five years building a small weekend cabin in Alabama from scraps and salvage. When the 1,100-square feet house was complete, they loved it so much they made it their permanent home.
2/14/2011
Americans continue to believe that green homes make a difference--but they need to be more affordable.
2/8/2011
Scott Davis’ “Solar Projects, Big and Small” video offers inspiration for both solar energy enthusiasts and folks who are just curious. Tips and advice pertaining to solar energy can be found at the Yahoo! group Simply Solar, and you can make your dream project a reality with Gary Reysa’s instructions.  
2/4/2011
One of the best ways to learn about green homes is to explore real-world examples--by touring homes or reading about them online. This article links to free online collections of case studies and in-depth profiles of green homes.
1/19/2011
Concrete rubble from collapsed buildings is a huge problem in Haiti. It is blocking roads and hindering reconstruction. Instead of spending millions of dollars trucking the rubble away and disposing of it, why not use it to build affordable housing?
1/16/2011
One of the greatest needs in the world is disaster resistant housing – houses that can hold up against hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters. Properly designed structures can save millions of lives and millions of structures every year.
1/12/2011
The U.S. Green Building Council's Project of the Year is a small, urban home built for $100 per square foot.
12/12/2010
Building housing projects in developing regions is extremely rewarding, but also quite challenging. It’s prudent to draw ideas from as many resources as possible to improve the process. The following guidelines have proven effective.
12/5/2010
Precision Engineering www.structure1.com has generously provided drawings and specifications for building earthbag structures in seismic areas to meet code. The documents have been combined into one 6-page PDF and are now available online.
12/5/2010
A BIG issue in everyone’s lives today is increasing fuel costs. The seriousness and scope of our energy problems calls for an all-out effort for sustainable solutions, starting as soon as possible.
10/10/2010
Earthbag building has just received engineering approval. This is probably the greatest news ever for earthbag building. With engineer-approved plans, we see unlimited potential for earthbag building for homes, shops, schools, you name it.
10/2/2010
The earthbag/geotextile basement wall system described here has excellent potential to save on initial construction costs and long-term energy costs. No concrete is used. The same principles have been used to build retaining walls for decades.
9/28/2010
Recently, I had an epiphany in a building supply center. Even though I’ve been in the building trades for over 35 years and made countless trips to purchase building supplies, this trip was different.
5/13/2010
Three-day workshop announcement on net zero energy homes by leading authority on energy efficiency and renewable energy, Dan Chiras. Learn how to reduce your utility bill through conservation, effriciency, & clean, affordable, renewable energy.
4/30/2010
Michael Morley is posting regular updates about his progress building a unique green home with structural insulated panels (SIPs). Here he talks  about HVAC work and installing windows.
4/13/2010
Michael Morley is making progress on the SIPs home he's building in Lawrence, Kan. The roof is in place and the shell is essentially done.
3/30/2010
Michael Morley has an exciting update on the house he's building in Lawrence, Kan. The dome is starting to go up!
3/8/2010
This two-day, alternative building workshop featuring energy expert Dan Chiras will be held March 13-14, 2010 in St. Louis.
2/11/2010
Enacting a law requiring builders to orient new homes toward the sun  would drastically reduce home energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
1/25/2010
Dan Chiras discusses the long-term benefits of building a green home.
1/8/2010
Dan Chiras of The Evergreen Institute invites readers to attend a one-day conference on the future of building in Wichita, Kansas.
6/19/2009
Watch this video to learn how a straw bale house goes together from start to finish. 
4/29/2009
Having a “green home” means lots of different things. What does it mean to you?
9/30/2008
Save forests, use local materials, build a durable house made of whole trees.
6/25/2008
Congress is about to pass legislation to ease the worry of homeowner debt, but it's also possible to build your dream home without a mortgage.
11/9/2007
As we continue to watch a zero energy home get built in my hometown of Boulder, Colorado, I’m digging the opportunity to learn more about building materials that I’ve seen in finished form but never in process. I like the

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