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Thread summary:

Environmentalist seeking advice on buying or building green environmentally home; green real estate, green building practices, straw building materials, solar power

Old 12-22-2007, 06:42 PM
Location: Pollocksville, N.C.
8 posts, read 20,761 times
Reputation: 13


I am a bit of a naturalist-I have always recycled and conserved-at this point of life I want these natural habits to dominate my life style-am also interested in meeting those that share my golds. Have any build a green home. I am going around and around, trying to find the structure that allows the natural aspect of life that I find necessary. I have looked into straw but have a real concern that it may not stand up to the natural environment of the area. Please if anyone is out there: I would appreciate your input.

Last edited by patriciapld1; 12-22-2007 at 06:46 PM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 12-23-2007, 10:42 AM
18 posts, read 51,664 times
Reputation: 19
I have seriously thought about doing just what you are talking about there. And with the prices of fuel to heat a home and make hot water of which I am sick of to the bone, and how it pollutes, I am absolutely convinced the sun up above has plenty of energy to power the entire world, literally power everything!

I just sold my home, have a lot of plumbing experience, and will be looking into my own solar system on my next home to heat all my water. If I were living in the south it could be done year round I think without a doubt.

As far as a home, I am also looking to build a home that is very unconventional. Round? Maybe or some other design and incorporate systems that it is not wasteful.

The biggest amount of waste energy I have going on now is opening the tap and waiting for hot water to come up from my basement heater. It runs cold for about 15 seconds wide open! until I get hot water. Most every home has a heater of some kind In their basements here in PA. European homes mostly utilize water heaters that hang on a wall near or even under a sink. There is no storage capacity. It is a demand system. Guess the price is thrice that of a conventional 50 gal. American model hence the non-usage here.

I do not know how straw would hold up. They still use natural materials in other countries, why not use them here? What would code officials say? Its a big question what "they " would say I think, unfortunately? Don't know.

I am so tired of seeing new sub-divisions going in here in PA. though. Really! More of the same cookie-cutter developments, each with 1.5 baths, 2 car garage, exact same lot size and on and on. What I mean is there is no character to the new homes I can see and further, no changes to anything really as far as Green goes. It looks like a sub-division for robots to live in .

I was a builder and it always amazed me that no one ever questioned the concrete for the foundation, the type of wood being framed or how much insulation R-value there was being used. The homes are put up so fast with minimal materials and cheap windows that it must be a heating and cooling money pit to live in? I really do not know ?

Rant over, wasting time. Do whatever you want to do. Sounds like you are a real naturalist and that is a good thing and (rare) I think today.
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Old 12-28-2007, 10:34 AM
Location: Tappahannock VA
144 posts, read 608,998 times
Reputation: 61
Let me start off by saying I'm not really into the whole naturist movement or building natural homes but your post intrigued me a little so I thought I would lend you my two cents.

I'm not sure but I would think that in the coastal areas of NC you would run into trouble with straw building mostly because of the hiped up codes due to hurricanes. More inland would probably be less of a problem though.

My Dad has looked into mud homes from out in the more desert areas of NM and AZ but I'm not sure how they would fair here with the amount of rain we receive. The ones he was looking at required no A/C for the summer and used sunlight for heat in the winter. If you're interested I could try to get him in on the conversation.

Looking forward to hearing your findings.
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Old 12-28-2007, 06:08 PM
232 posts, read 691,000 times
Reputation: 169
I'm not sure how durable a straw bale home would be in coastal NC. Between the humidity and the occasional hurricane, mold might be a problem. It's also pretty tough to keep the little critters away from bales of hay. I've seen mice chew through plywood to get to hay/straw. The biggest problem, though, might be getting approval from the building inspector. I'm not saying it can't be done, just that it might not be ideal for a coastal climate. Now if you lived in the desert, you'd have all sorts of options: straw bale, papercrete, adobe, etc.

Not sure if these alternate ideas would appeal to you .. but you might also consider: a log cabin, a pole barn type house, or a post and beam type house.

As far as finding small building lots... that's a tough one. Most of the raw land for sale seems to be in increments of 20 acres or more. Buying a small piece of land that already has a trailer on it might be one option. Some lots with older trailers are fairly affordable and have the benefit of existing sewage service or septic tanks. You could junk the trailer or live in it while you build your house. If all else fails, just bug the cr*p out of the local real estate agents 'till they come up with a promising lot. Best of luck...

Last edited by Sleestak; 12-28-2007 at 06:18 PM..
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