This is a home Simon Dale built for his family in Wales (UK). The house was built with maximum regard for the environment, but as well as being low impact, it was an exceptionally low cost house to build, costing under $5000 for materials. This was achieved by using natural and recycled materials and self-building with the help of friends and family. This whole project is an excellent blue-print for others who are considering building their own off-the-grid home.
The living room
Some key points of the design and construction:
- Dug into hillside for low visual impact and shelter
- Stone and mud from diggings used for retaining walls, foundations etc.
- Frame of oak thinnings (spare wood) from surrounding woodland
- Reciprocal roof rafters are structurally and aesthaetically fantastic and very easy to do
- Straw bales in floor, walls and roof for super-insulation and easy building
- Plastic sheet and mud/turf roof for low impact and ease
- Lime plaster on walls is breathable and low energy to manufacture (compared to cement)
- Reclaimed (scrap) wood for floors and fittings
- Anything you could possibly want is in a rubbish pile somewhere (windows, burner, plumbing, wiring…)
- Woodburner for heating – renewable and locally plentiful
- Flue goes through big stone/plaster lump to retain and slowly release heat
- Fridge is cooled by air coming underground through foundations
- Skylight in roof lets in natural feeling light
- Solar panels for lighting, music and computing
- Water by gravity from nearby spring
- Compost toilet
- Roof water collects in pond for garden etc.
Check out the link below for plans of the house together with photos and notes about the construction process. If you are considering building your own low impact off-the-grid home, there is a lot here you can take away, utilise and build upon for your own project.