You might have thought we covered all of the strangest and most creative “green” home construction techniques in the last post. But truth is stranger than fiction, and exciting ideas for environmentally friendly housing come from ancient methods and new high-tech ideas. Here are some of the most innovative and daring ideas you may have seen:
- A couple of twenty year-old kids have developed an insulating material called Greensulate. If these two college students become part of the “filthy-rich-before-you-are-24-club.” they deserve it. The material is produced by using mushrooms. Unlike fiberglass and polystyrene, this material is biodegradable. Petroleum products are not needet to make this material.
- Here is an idea that is as old as dirt. Literally. It is similar to the cob home construction discussed in the last post. The technique is called “rammed earth” and the name itself pretty much explains the technique. Dirt, clay, sand, and gravel are poored into wall forms and tamped down. Either lime or cement can be mixed in to stabilize the mixture. The process is repeated over and over until the wall reaches the desired height. Walls are anywhere from five to twelve inches thick. Walls can take up to two weeks to dry, but the full curing process can take up to two years. The result is a wall that is extremely strong, and is resistant to insects and fire. Because the materials can frequently be obtained right on the building site, energy used to transport building materials is conserved.
- According to this line of thinking, the First Little Pig in the story of the “Three Little Pigs” might have been on to something. Make your next home out of straw bales. It sound like it would be an invitation for fire, mice, or other pests, but it is not. Because the straw is so tightly bound, there is little breathing room to support combustion, and adding a little bit of lime will make it even more resistant.