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Building Natural & Green
Last Updated on:  06/25/2015 06:31 AM

What is "Natural Building"?

"Natural Building," is a recent trend in which individuals are building using sustainable products like earth, straw bails, wood, cob, and bamboo.   "Natural Building" implies that builders use locally harvested materials, simple tools and techniques and natural design strategies.  These builders certainly use recycled materials.
Either used exclusively or in combination, cob, adobe, straw, rocks, logs and locally harvested lumber are the most common materials and/or techniques used in natural building.  Building techniques are relatively low-tech.
Each naturally built home is unique depending on the materials available.  Common factors include careful orientation to take advantage or solar & passive solar.   The homes tend to be more "cottages" rather than traditional large homes.
There is a new interest in permaculture, organic gardening and the fair trade movement.
Green building differs from natural building in that green builders tend to use traditional techniques.  The "green" implies that they use products that are environmentally friendly.
Natural building is truly a grass-root movement.  Many building and teachers come together at annual conferences to share ideas. 

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How Homes Become Green

Lighter colors for roofs absorb less heat, reducing cooling costs in warm climates.

Select energy-star appliances.

Energy-efficient windows, such as those with low-E glass coatings, gas filler between layers, and composite framing materials keep heat inside in the winter and outside in the summer.

Use environmental friendly products like oriented strand board (OSB).   OSB is a manufactured wood product that does not require large trees.

Vinyl siding on exterior walls is a green alternative to wood.  Vinyl siding is cheaper to install and requires little maintenance.

Increase the amount and R-value of insulation as a cost effective way to save energy and help reduce heating and cooling bills.

Sprayed insulation made of foam, cellulose or wool is an alternative to traditional glass fiber batting.

Large south facing windows (passive solar) helps heat the home in the winter and allows for increased natural daylighting.

Reduce the need for watering, fertilizers and herbicides by using native plants.  This method is called xeriscaping.

Tankless water heaters provide hot water on demand at a preset temperature rather than storing it, which reduces or eliminates standby losses.

Insulate foundations just as if they were walls in the living space.

Front-loading washers use about 40% less water and half the energy of conventional models.

Recycled plastic lumber and wood composite materials reduce reliance on chemically treated lumber and durable hardwood for decks, porches, trim and fencing.

Tree preservation reduces landscaping and future energy costs and helps provide winter wind breaks or summer shade.

Additional landscaping improves the environment even more: One tree can filter 60 lbs. of pollutants from the air each year.

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Living Green Links

Did She Really Just Ask That? Boston Green Tourism Director Dan Ruben Reveals the Secret of His Eco-Philosophy:  What are some of the other practices that you do that are examples of living green? Dan Ruben: Well, a lot of it is. I get excited about making changes in ...

Is it easy living green?:  Is it easy living green? by Liza on Mar. 20th, 2007 ... Other examples of what could be displayed in the Eco Model Haus include: ...

Living Green, Saving Green!:  Did you know you can save a lot of green by living green? ... For example, you can save at least 50% on your organic vegetables by shopping at your local ...

Tower of tomorrow is an example of living green architecture:  When Fortune invited my design firm, which specializes in sustainable architecture, to share our vision of a building of the future, we decided not to guess...

NEW   Underground-Homes:  Underground and earth sheltered homes are featured including plans, energy conservation merits, where to get loans and other pertinent information.

 

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