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What's the most efficient way to build a new small home in a midwestern climate? Can a laymen really pull this off? Answered

I'd like to build as green and as efficiently as possible, most likely building it off-grid, and incorporating a composting toilet (clivus multrum style), and energystar appliances.


For dug-in dwelling, I like sites with a south slope facing a small pond that survives drought. In the winter, the snow reflections make passive solar very effective. Being able to make it depends on skills, teamwork, and some luck. There should still be some abandoned buildings to renovate where farms have been amalgamated, too. On raw, flat land, I'd use earth berms and hay-bales, but I'd have to check the local wood supply for further details.

If you like modern comforts and insane tornado,mold,fire. You can also get decent nuclear protection with the thicker walls or if you bury it. they even a have small pre-built cabins http://www.monolithic.com/topics/domes


9 years ago

Laymen were living out here in the boonies of flyover country long before modern building practices were put into place, the easiest thing to do would be to buy some property with a large hill on it and just dig back into it. This is called a dugout, and was used for years before electricity. (And Indoor Plumbing! Keep in mind the simpler the house you build, the less modern comforts you will have, I keep my Dugout up and in good repair just in case the modern world comes to an end!)

Your best bet would be an earthhouse style. There's various techniques to do it.
Cobb, strawbale and rammed earth are very popular right now.
But if your not building more than a story & a half, and depending on the local resources, a Light Clay technique might be best.