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10 Amazing Alternative Building Methods
The poster-child for alternative building methods is the Earthship home. Constructed from earth-filled tires, these homes are whimsical, durable and extremely energy efficient, as their thick walls function as thermal masses. Interior walls may be plastered for a more traditional, yet sculptural effect. The method was pioneered by Mike Reynolds, founder of Earthship Biotecture.
Next...Did You Know Your Extra Firewood Might Be Your Next House?
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Amazing Alternative Building Methods - Cordwood
Cordwood looks textured and cozy like a log cabin. Reject firewood and other scraps of wood are cut into short pieces, stacked and infilled with concrete. The result is a highly insulated and durable home that is also very low maintenance.
Next...Find Out Why Hay Isn't Just For Horses
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03 of 10
Amazing Alternative Building Methods - Straw Bale
Hay isn't just for horses. Bales of straw can serve as an insulating building material. Bound together by rebar or wire, stacks of bales create thick walls. A coating of stucco or plaster disguises the material and makes it waterproof.
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04 of 10
Amazing Alternative Building Methods - Cob
Clumps of clay, earth, sand, water and straw can be mixed to create cob, an ancient building material. The mixture is pressed into thick walls that are often curved.
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Amazing Alternative Building Methods - Rammed Earth
The Great Wall of China is one of the most famous examples of rammed earth construction. Obviously, it can stand the test of time. As the name implies, rammed earth involves pressing dirt into thick walls with smooth surfaces.
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Amazing Alternative Building Methods - Papercrete
If you combine paper, water and cement, you can create a greener version of standard Portland cement. For those who like the solid and monolothic look, papercrete proves a cheap and relatively lightweight building material.
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Amazing Alternative Building Methods - Geodesic Domes
Imagine what it would be like to live in the Epcot Center. In fact, geodesic dome homes are energy efficient thanks to their minimal surface area and the natural air-flow created by the chimney effect. Now, if you could only figure out how to partition out the interior space.
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Amazing Alternative Building Methods - Underground Homes
By building into the ground, homeowners reap many benefits such as protection from the elements, sound proofing and privacy. Earth provides the ultimate thermal mass, maintaining a consistent interior temperature in such structures year-round. There are several degrees of submersion; a home may be built into a hillside, partially bermed or dug completely underground.
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Amazing Alternative Building Methods - Earthbag
To create an earthbag home, simply fill bags with with dirt, then stack them in running bond pattern with lengths of barbed wire in between. These structures are incredibly strong and resistant to natural and manmade disasters—that's why the army has been making them for years.
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Amazing Alternative Building Methods - Shipping Containers
After serving a useful life as a vessel for transporting cargo, shipping containers can be used to build new homes or add on to existing ones. They are affordable, and multiple units may be stacked together in endless configurations. Several companies now sell prefabricated homes made from shipping containers, so onsite work is minimal.
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