Sharing sustainable ideas from around the world since 2008
Category: Sustainable Homes and Living
This is all about the fun ways we can create our home spaces. Thankfully, a lot of us are starting to think more about smaller homes again, or even multi-generational homes.
Whether you are building, renovating, remodelling, or making your home more energy efficient, lets explore the ways that we can all make better use of our spaces in a way that reduces our footprint on the planet.
As well, many of us are trying to live with less impact on the earth, as people need to be thinking about 50 generations down the road, not just the next election. Tell us how you are making changes in your lifestyle, for a better world.
Ultra Touch denim insulation is recommended by the Make and Do YouTube channel who says this brand provided better insulation than foam panels he’s used in the past. Denim insulation is a natural, non-toxic insulation product that’s available loose (for blow-in applications), and in rolls and batts. Some products are available with foil backing.
Ultra Touch denim insulation specifications:
-Manufactured from 100% recycled denim
-Non-itch material allows for easy and satisfying installation
-Superior thermal and acoustical performance
-Lots of uses around the home, ranging from sealing areas around doorways and windows to sealing gaps around air conditioning units
-R6.7 for energy saving performance
These Dcondos are not only cheap to rent but come fully furnished and move in ready. Includes, pool, gym, washing machine inside the unit…how can you beat that. It’s a great place to live or stay short term. If you are coming to visit, you can also look up the very similar Dcondo nim which is next door to this complex.
Vientiane, the capital of Laos, is a popular tourist destination. At restaurants it’s common to hear conversations in multiple languages. The international flair of Vientiane in part comes from old French colonial architecture found throughout the city. I’ve chosen Vientiane as the starting point of my latest road trip in search of natural building and sustainable farming projects.
My two main goals for this journey are:
– create more life-enriching experiences by living more intentionally as Thoreau advised;
– visit organic farms in SE Asia to learn more sustainable farming skills, and improve my diet by obtaining fresh organic fruit and vegetables direct from farmers. Through this process I hope to create working relationships with other organic farms in the region as I explained in a previous blog post Distributed Farm/ Community Network.
Here’s a list of different travel options to illustrate how one could live more intentionally: 1) Join a bus tour that makes 5-15 minute pitstops for photos, shopping, etc. 2) Typical vacations to exotic tourist destinations. 3) Take a 1-2 week workshop. 4) ‘Slow travel’ – stay in an area for a longer period of time so you can get to know the people, experience first-hand how locals live by learning how they grow their food, build their houses, etc. WWOOFing falls into this later category, although I may not limit myself to farms on WWOOFing networks.
Just to be clear, I still have a wonderful loving family, comfortable home and homestead with our forest garden. But it’s time to leave the nest and ‘up my game’ so to speak.
This amazing video by architect Gordan Clarke is very enlightening and inspiring. Note the keywords in the title — Traditional Green Building. That’s a key concept often missing in today’s green building movement, where granite countertops are imported from Italy, exotic woods from far off jungles are turned into furniture, etc. to build high end ‘eco mansions’. In contrast, this video shows how simple, natural and affordable housing can be.
The Ethiopian bamboo builders deserve a lot of credit. They are obviously master builders with many years of experience. They’re able to skillfully turn virtually free natural materials into a home that can last 70 years! That really is amazing. Let’s say you didn’t want to build a house like this yourself, you could hire a crew and probably have it built for under $1,000 in Ethiopia. Guestimated cost: 10 workers x $5/day x 15 days = $750 plus materials. That means the cost of housing spread over 70 years would be practically nil.
These bamboo houses are popular with tourists, so while you’re at it you might as well build a few more to rent. The biggest problem may be getting decent Internet service…
Mountain towns are often some of the most beautiful places in the US, and can be good places to live and homestead. While opinions vary on which mountain towns are the ‘best’, living in places like this has many advantages. If you enjoy outdoor activities then you’ll understand the appeal. These mountain towns are popular for hiking, camping, biking, water sports, mountain climbing, sightseeing and other fun activities.
As people point out in the comments section on YouTube, some of these mountain towns have become very touristy with extremely expensive land. For example, a quick search showed half acre lots going for over $500,000 in Jackson Hole, WY, so don’t rely on this video for making any final decisions on where to live. The main point is some mountain towns are very desirable places to live and visit. Some of the old downtown areas are particularly nice.
Rural areas and small towns are also desirable because you can grow your own food, avoid crime and pollution, and find a simpler, better life. Areas near mountain towns sometimes have fewer building codes or less rigid enforcement that make it easier to build a sustainable home at lower cost and with less hassle.
Fuggerei is a social housing complex in Germany where you can rent a house for just under one Euro per year! Find out why the rent is so cheap and learn about the fascinating life of the man behind it all, Jakob Fugger.
Lovely 500-year-old buildings in Augsburg, Germany.
Floating container gardens float on the surface of ponds and lakes. Floating gardens can be constructed of low cost materials such as plastic baskets and buckets tied together with twine. Here are two photos to illustrate what they can look like. The first photo shows a newly made floating garden and the next photo shows what it looks like after 2 months.
Floating garden after 2 months
There are many advantages to floating container gardens such as never needing to water. If you live in a hot climate like I do then you’ll appreciate how difficult it can be to grow certain plants through long hot summers. The containers are filled with your favorite planting medium. If you’re unsure of what to use, refer to previous articles on our blog about container gardening. Many people use free recycled containers that ordinarily get thrown away. One interesting variation is to simply put the containers in a kiddie swimming pool. If you do this be sure to use non-chlorinated water and take care not to create a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
The images above are from Clemson.edu. The article explains how to use floating gardens for cleaning ponds, helping wildlife, etc. but it does not address using them for growing food.
Another desirable aspect of floating gardens is they would be nearly undetectable by bandits. (A type of guerilla garden.) If by chance something happened to your main garden, the floating gardens would provide a backup. Tie a rope to the floating garden to pull it ashore.
I spent a whirlwind week with Yannik and Delphine at their small farm near Lake Geneva in Switzerland. From harvesting plants and seeds to learning about moon cycles and living off solar power, I got to experience life in a fully functioning, off the grid home. Check out the video to see how they do it!
Don’t throw out that old dresser! There are a ton of ways to save furniture and extend it’s useful life, from drawers that won’t slide to removing paint from finished surfaces! With a little finesse you can find an easy way to bring your dresser or ottoman back from the brink, and keep using it or sell it for some cash! Here’s my failures and successes with a whole variety of pieces I found for free which just needed a little TLC, and now they’re ready for market!
I used to do this years ago. It was a good sideline income. As this guy explains, fixing used furniture is a good way to get free furniture for your home and make some extra cash if you want. Plus, you save perfectly good furniture from going into the landfill. If you’re in a good location for yard sales you can get some incredible deals. Some people drive around early in the morning and pick up free discarded furniture on the curb. In some places it’s not uncommon to buy used furniture for $5-10.
We are currently testing out some new looks and e-commerce programs for our upcoming Marketplace. Please excuse the mess. :-). No products are available for sale just yet. Please let us know what you think. Dismiss