5 of the Least Wasteful Ways to Build Your Forever Home

5 of the Least Wasteful Ways to Build Your Forever Home

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This page may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I have recommended. There is no additional cost to you whatsoever.

After experiencing the damaging escalation of local weather impacts like drought, wildfire, flooding, and excessive climate, folks need to make higher and extra sustainable selections to cut back their environmental affect. It isn’t any shock then that they need to be much less wasteful when constructing or upgrading their properties.

Conventional homes launch massive quantities of greenhouse gases into the ambiance, each within the constructing course of and as we reside in them. The supplies we select make a distinction within the carbon footprint of the house. For instance, one report signifies {that a} brick-built home creates twice the carbon footprint as a wood-built home. The United Nations Environment Program discovered that buildings and their building account for 36% of global energy use and 39% of carbon dioxide emissions. This means our conventional constructing strategies are answerable for over one-third of energy-related greenhouse fuel emissions.

To meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of being net-zero carbon by 2050, everybody must do their bit. So if you happen to’re planning on constructing a brand new house, designing it with minimal waste in thoughts — each with regard to vitality and constructing supplies — is the most effective route ahead.

Here are 5 of the least wasteful methods to construct your own home.

Log Cabin

Log cabin in snow
Many log cabin house owners discover they spend much less on heating and cooling. Image: 12019, Pixabay

Building with logs could be an environmentally pleasant solution to construct your sustainable house. Many corporations now promote log cabin kits that mimic the more and more sustainable practices of the manufactured properties trade. For instance, Katahdin Cedar Log Homes makes use of responsibly harvested timber just like the Northern White Cedar, which is considerable of their space, as a substitute of transport logs throughout the nation or across the planet. The technique reduces gasoline prices to move supplies and lowers emissions. They even have a zero-waste coverage concerning their logs; if sure logs don’t meet the factors for use for the partitions, they’ll be used for one thing else within the construct.

If you select to construct your individual log house, the method of harvesting logs requires a lot much less vitality than producing conventional manufactured constructing supplies. This is a technique that constructing a log house produces fewer greenhouse emissions than a conventional house.

In addition, many log cabin house owners discover that they use much less vitality. The logs are naturally insulating as a result of they store and release heat like thermal batteries, so log properties require much less heating and cooling. A 2006 report by the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management estimates that greenhouse gases could possibly be reduced by 86% through the use of logs and timber as a substitute of typical constructing supplies like concrete, metal, and aluminum.

Reclaimed Materials Home

Stone and timber could also be apparent materials selections for constructing an eco-friendly house, however there are a complete host of different choices. One of these is utilizing reclaimed and recycled supplies within the building of the house.

Homes constructed from recycled supplies don’t must look outdated and recycled. There are some corporations that flip outdated waste merchandise — akin to rubble, glass, and clay — into bricks that look brand new. If you need to construct a house sustainably however need to obtain a brand new fashionable look, it is a nice possibility.

This reclamation yard offers reclaimed materials you can use to build your home
Using reclaimed supplies, akin to flooring, glass bricks, and salvaged beams, could also be extra sustainable than shopping for newly manufactured supplies. Image: Pauline Eccles (CC BY-SA 2.0), through Wikimedia Commons

Other, extra distinctive choices, embrace utilizing reclaimed materials akin to pallets, outdated home windows, flooring, siding, or salvaged beams. By selecting reclaimed supplies, you omit the necessity to producer any new supplies altogether, subsequently avoiding the carbon emissions related to manufacturing your constructing supplies.

Bottle Wall Home

House with glass bottle wall
Glass bottle partitions give a house a placing look. Image: Douglas Sprott (CC BY-NC 2.0), Flickr

If you’d moderately not reduce down timber to construct a log cabin, how about constructing your own home with glass bottles? This technique makes use of recycled glass bottles and a binding materials akin to mortar and clay.

Alfred Heineken has created a brick bottle with flat sides. He designed this after seeing many discarded bottles on a visit to the Dutch Antilles. Unfortunately, his thought didn’t get the help of the Heineken brewery that makes lots of these bottles, however many people do select so as to add glass bottle walls to their properties. Bottles can be utilized to create stunning designs within the partitions, filtering gentle into the house whereas sustaining privateness.

An different to utilizing glass bottles is to make use of plastic bottles filled with different non-biodegradable plastic waste. These are generally known as ecobricks. In Panama, an entire town was constructed utilizing discarded plastic bottles.

Shipping Container Home

Shipping container integrated into house design
By constructing with transport containers, you may scale back the quantity of concrete it is advisable construct your own home. Image: Paul Bartlett (CC BY-ND 2.0), Flickr

Incorporating transport containers into house building is an effective way to recycle a product that may in any other case be left to rot away in a container lot. These big containers can be utilized as constructing blocks to create a frugal and sustainable house. Shipping container homes scale back the quantity of concrete wanted in conventional constructing. The manufacturing of concrete and cement accounts for 5% of global CO2 emissions.

The container additionally lowers the carbon footprint of day by day dwelling. REACH Homes, for instance, designs low-impact container properties and estimates that container properties scale back carbon emissions by slightly below 15,000 tonnes per 12 months.


Over 40 years in the past, architect Michael Reynolds designed the first Earthship, a home that requires little to no vitality to construct and to reside in. Earthships are self-sustaining constructions that use renewable vitality sources for electrical energy, passive photo voltaic heating and cooling, and water captured from rain, snow, and condensation.

Earthships are comprised of pure supplies, akin to compressed earth and adobe mud, and reclaimed supplies, together with plastic bottles, tires, cans, and glass. The thought is to combine these supplies to create robust and sturdy insulating partitions that assist regulate indoor temperatures. The constructions are constructed to coexist with and mix into the environment, but are visually placing.

Build your Earthship home with a mixture of natural and reclaimed materials.
Earthships use a mix of pure and reclaimed supplies and are constructed to be self-sustaining.  Image: Jenny Parkins (CC BY-SA 2.0), through Wikimedia Commons

By selecting to construct your own home with any of the above supplies and strategies, you’ll get a wonderful, distinctive house. Better but, you’ll get monetary savings and be type to the atmosphere.

About the Author

David Woods is a carpenter, outdoorsman, and writer with greater than 30 years {of professional} woodworking expertise. David is the writer of best-seller How to Build a Log Home and has educated greater than half one million folks on construct a log cabin through his web site Log Cabin Hub.

Feature picture of Earthship is courtesy of Dominic Alves (CC BY 2.0), through Wikimedia Commons