- Home Improvement
Green and Eco-Friendly Homes and Pods
Even with the current economic recession and the dropping prices of homes, it's still expensive to purchase and maintain a house. Why not consider a greener and cheaper method?
Inexpensive, durable and readily available, shipping containers are being made into an amazing array of homes and apartments. They can combined to make a multi-story home, or used individually as a studio apartment or office.
If you wish to live "off the grid," the containers are easily shipped (that is, after all, what they were made for) to the location you desire. Moving would be much easier too--just secure your house and away you go!
Shipping Container Homeshas a number of floor plans to look at. You can build your own private mansion out of shipping containers for a fraction of the price it would cost to purchase one! These can be made in much less time it takes to build a normal house, and the corrugated steel can be covered with any kind of material-people would hardly know they were standing inside something that used to ship dolls from Hong Kong! Your roof can be a quaint peaked tiled one, a water collecting device, covered with solar panels, or even a garden!
In Amsterdam, Keetwonen is a student housing project built from 1,000 shipping containers from China. Designed by Tempohousing, each "dorm" has a large window, balcony, private bathroom, kitchen, study area and bedroom. Students claim it is much quieter than expected, and is warm and clean. Each dorm unit also contains a centralized cafe, supermarket, office space, and even a sports area. And the campus is being praised for its cost effectiveness to build and maintain it...definitely a win-win!
With an amazingly fast build time, these "pods" are also easily transportable, cost friendly and super efficient. Looking like they were dropped out of a spaceship and are ready for blast-off at any point, a pod home can make a great first-time home for a newly married couple or the resident Martian (just kidding...maybe). They can be totally self sufficient with solar panels to heat water, wind turbines for power, and an underfloor heating system. This Pod costs about $88,641 for 135 square feet.
Ever dreamed of living in a tree house Swiss Family Robinson style? Here's a sphere for you! Note of warning, this might not be the best option for those with toddlers! This "Sphere" nestles among tree branches and costs from $25K to $100K depending on the model. Visit Free Spirit Sphere for more info!
GreenPod Development is an option for people looking for a prefab home that's not quite so unusual looking. Ranging from 300-800 square feet and at $150-$250 per square foot, they can be a very affordable way to own your own low-impact home. They even have a "floating" home which would make a great summer getaway!
Build Your Own
There's also the option to build your own low-impact home. Love the look of Bilbo Baggin's house? Why not have your own hobbit hole! They're warm and snug and if done smart, very cost efficient.
That's what Simon Dalein Wales did. It ended up costing him roughly 60 GBP per square foot, excluding labor. Their theory in building this is explained on his web page, where he says, "This sort of life is about living in harmony with both the natural world and ourselves, doing things simply and using appropriate levels of technology." He details his process on his website, and I have to say I don't think I'd mind living in that cozy house! It's adorable!
Or Start Making Changes In Your Own Home
By now you've all heard it. Switch to energy efficient light bulbs, line dry your laundry (still haven't gotten there), buy those fancy schmancy windows and install solar panels. Big steps for sure, but probably cost efficient in the long run.
For us, renting an apartment on the fifth floor, the changes we make are small. Running an extra spin cycle to cut down on dryer time (actually ends about the same time as the washer making laundry time go faster!), hanging curtains that block the cold in the winter and the heat in the summer, unplugging unused electronics (or buy the Smart Strip that does it for you) and growing a few vegetables on our patio all make a little dent in our impact (and electricity bill!).