Owner/
Builder

Natural Building

Adobe

Cob

Rammed Earth

Poured Earth

Earthbag

Strawbale

Cordwood

Timber Frame

Bamboo

Earthship

Papercrete

Lightweight Concrete

Stone

Hybrids

Manufactured
Systems

Natural Building

"Natural building" is an umbrella term than connotes any sort of building that is accomplished with the use of natural materials primarily, as opposed to the use of man-made or industrial materials. There is, of course, a blurring of this distinction when any specific material or building technique is examined, because the influence of technology is all-pervasive in today's world. Still, it is worthwhile to focus on those ways of building that minimize the use of products that require considerable embodied energy for their manufacture or transportation. The objective is to build with simple techniques that don't further pollute the environment, consume more fossil fuel, or unnecessarily extract the resources of Mother Earth. Such techniques, by their very nature, have an aesthetic value that tends to blend in with the environment and "feel" natural.

The categories listed on the navigation bar on the left represent some of the materials and building concepts that I am familiar with. The list does not necessarily represent everything that might appropriately belong there. Please contact me if you know of some way of building that you think should be included here.

 

 

 

RESOURCES

SEARCH THIS SITE

MEDIA

PLANS

ARTICLES:
Building with Nature

The Beauty of Mud and Straw

Natural Building Colloquium, 2000

Natural Building Colloquium, 2003

Natural Building Colloquium, 2008

Natural Building and Building Community

Natural Building:
How to Build an Affordable Eco-Friendly Home

Natural Building Tour of Eco-Friendly Affordable Homes

EXPERT ADVICE

with Daniel Chiras


Why Build Naturally?
Education
Employment
Foundations
Flooring
Plasters & Siding
Insulation
Roofs
Structural concerns
Heat & humidity
Code and permit issues
Cost comparisons
Miscellaneous

INFORMATIVE LINKS

NATURAL BUILDING BLOGS

MEDIA
 
 
 
Click on image to buy from Customflix.com
 

A Sampler of Alternative Homes: Approaching Sustainable Architecture . This two-hour DVD, produced by Kelly Hart, provides an overview of sustainable building concepts. You can enjoy a look at a fascinating variety of homes and the creative people who built them! Discover how passive solar design and environmentally low-impact materials can be used to create comfortable and economical homes. See the use of both traditional materials, such as adobe, and innovative materials, such as papercrete and earthbags.

This program offers a wealth of information about construction details and other considerations. It covers adobe block construction, piled adobe (similar to cob), rammed earth, both load-bearing and post and beam strawbale, earthships, earth-sheltering, cordwood, thin-shelled concrete domes, papercrete, earthbags, hybrid structures, and recycling various containers for housing. To watch a streaming video introduction to this program, click here.
$29.95

BuyDVD

For a VHS videotape of this program go to the STORE.

 

 

The Art of Natural Building: Design, Construction, Resources
by Joseph Kennedy, et al, 2014

   
   

Earthen Floors:
A Modern Approach
to an Ancient Practice

by Sukita Reay Crimmel
& James Thomson, 2014

 
 
 
Click on image for more information
 

Handmade Houses:
A Century of Earth-Friendly Home Design

by Richard Olsen, 2012

 
 

The Natural Building Companion:
A Comprehensive Guide
to Integrative Design
and Construction

Paperback + DVD
by Jacob Deva Racusin
and Ace McArleton, 2012

 
 
 
Click on image for more information
 

Kelly Hart's review

The Woodland House 
by Ben Law, 2010

   
 
Click on image for more information
 

Natural Houses:
The Residential Architecture
of Andersson-Wise

Chris Wise, Arthur Andersson, 2010

   

The Complete Guide
to Alternative Home Building materials & Methods
by Jon Nunan, 2009

   

Natural Building
and a New Sense of the Earth

DVD produced by Inner Growth Books and Videos, 2009

 
 

Best of
MOTHER EARTH NEWS:
Natural Building Methods

[Kindle Edition] 2009

   

Natural Building:
Creating Communities
Through Cooperation

by Timothy Rieth, 2008

   

Using Natural Finishes:
A Step-by-Step Guide

by Adam Weismann and Katy Bryce, 2008

 
 

Building for a Future
magazine

   
 
Click on image to subscribe or find out more about this.
 

The Barefoot Architect
by Johan van Lengen, 2007
Kelly Hart's review

 

Natural Timber Frame Homes by Wayne Bingham, Jerod Pfeffer, 2007

   

Sticks Stones Mud Homes: Natural Living
by Nigel Noyes, 2007

   

Natural Building: A Guide to Materials and Techniques
by Tom Woolley, 2006

   

Building Green:
A Coplete How-To Guide to Alternative Building Methods

by Clarke Snell , Tim Callahan, 2006

 
 

Natural Remodeling for the Not-So-Green House:
Bringing Your Home into Harmony with Nature

by Carol Venolia, Kelly Lerner, 2006

   

Log Construction Manual:
The Ultimate Guide to Building Handcrafted Log Homes

by Robert Wood Chambers, 2006

   

Building With Awareness:
The Construction
of a Hybrid Home

DVD and Guidebook
by Ted Owens, 2006

 
 
 
Click on image for more information
 

Designing Your Natural Home
by David Pearson, 2005

   

EcoNest:
Creating Sustainable Sanctuaries of Clay,
Straw, and Timber

by Paula Baker-Laporte, Robert Laporte, 2005

 
 

Alternative Construction: Contemporary Natural Building Methods
edited by Lynne Elizabeth and Cassandra Adams, 2005

 
 
The Good House Book:
A Common-Sense Guide
to Alternative Homebuilding

by Clarke Snell, 2004


 
 

Building Without Borders: Sustainable Construction
for the Global Village

by Joe Kennedy, 2004

 
 

The New Ecological Home:
A Complete Guide
to Green Building Options

by Dan Chiras, 2004

 
 

Home Work:
Handbuilt Shelter

by Lloyd Kahn, 2004
Kelly Hart's review

   

Places of the Soul: Architecture
and Environmental Design
as a Healing Art

by Christopher Day, 2003

 
 

 

Building Inside
Nature's Envelope:
How New Construction
and Land Preservation
Can Work Together

by Andy Wasowski, Sally Wasowski, 2000

   

The Natural House:
A Complete Guide to
Healthy, Energy Efficient,
Environmental Homes

by Daniel D. Chiras, 2000

 
 
 
Click on image for more information
 

Ecology of Building Materials
by Bjorn Berge, 2000

 
 

The Gaia Natural House Book: Creating a Healthy and Ecologically Sound Home
by David Pearson, Kevin McCloud, 2000

   

 

The New Natural House Book: Creating a Healthy, Harmonious and Ecologically Sound Home
by David Pearson, 1998

   

Earth Construction:
A Comprehensive Guide

by Hugo Houben and Hubert Guilland, 1993

   

Alternative Housebuilding
by Mike McClintock, 1989

 
 
 
Click on image for more information
 

PLANS

Sacred Mountains
Kelly Hart, Designer

This is a 2 bedroom, 1 story, 1725 sf (to the outside) house that is designed around the traditional hogan concept of Southwestern native Americans. It would be dug into a hillside, or bermed substantially on the north side. A large south-facing living area with a vaulted cieling provides passive solar heating for much of the house. The bedrooms, bathroom, pantry and kitchen surround the traditional octagonal shape. This was originally designed for the Sacred Mountains Foundation as a demonstration home for a variety of natural building techniques, so that it employs cordwood, strawbale, adobe, rock, earthbag, and timber-frame aspects. The southern elevation shown here would be post and beam with cordwood infill. There is a unique central fire place, open 360 degrees, for back-up heat and ceremonial purposes. The large core room could accomodate large groups, or be utilized in many ways.

Traditionally, the native Americans enter their abodes from the east, so this where the airlock entry is situated. This large space can also serve as a closet and storage room. The large octagonal room is undifferentiated, but would serve as living, dining and ceremonial space. To the west is the master bedroom, with adjacent bathroom. To the left of the kitchen alcove is a large pantry that would be naturally cooled by its substantial earth berm. A second bedroom or studio faces the northeast. A large fenced courtyard area to the south provides privacy and wind protection.

For more information about this plan, and many others, visit our sister site www.dreamgreenhomes.com, where you will find a wide range of plans for sustainable homes, greenhouses, small buildings, garages, and food storage space for sale. Dream Green Homes is a consortium of outstanding architects and designers, who have pooled their talent and expertise for your benefit.

LINKS

ORGANIZATIONS

naturalbuildingnetwork.org is a non-profit membership association promoting natural building principles, materials and practitioners worldwide.

EDUCATION

naturalhomes.org lists workshops conducted around the world relating to all aspects of natural building.

lowimpact.org the Low-Impact Linging Initiative in England provides information and courses related to natural building.

housealive.org specializes in workshops on Natural Building, Design and Appropriate Technology.

MEDIA

networkearth.org
home of The Art of Natural Building, The Last Straw Journal, The Straw Bale Solution, etc.

dirtcheapbuilder.com source for books and videos about natural building.

foxmaple.com Fox Maple School of Traditional Building's Joiners' Quarterly.

motherearthnews.com Mother Earth News has provided solid information on many topics related to sustainable living for several decades, and now many of these articles are available on-line.

Chapter One of the book Eco Pioneers: Practical Visionaries Solving Today's Environmental Problems By Steve Lerner; Pliny Fisk III: The Search for Low-Impact Building Materials and Techniques.

newbuilder.co.uk publishes Building for a Future magazine, with many issues available on-line.

distantplanet.net features two video segments of "The Natural House", one is about an interesting hybrid zero net energy house in Oregon and the other is about a company providing natural paints.

EARTHEN WALLS, PLASTERS, AND FLOORS

mudcrafters.com specializes in adobe floors and earthen plasters, with lots of pictures and descriptions.

earthenhand.com answers the question "Why build with earth?"

DIRECTORIES

coopamerica.org a directory of green services and products.

PHOTO GALLERIES

potkettleblack.com an extensive collection of links to photos galleries of natural/alternative buildings

gernotminke.de this is a wonderful gallery of the innovative earth architecture of the German professor Gernot Minke.

simondale.net a lovely example of using local natural materials to build a comfortable and beautiful home.

sunraykelley.com features the artful natural building of visionary/builder Sunray Kelley.

facebook.com This Facebook page features many folks who discuss and provide examples of wonderful natural home concepts.

DISCUSSION

greenbuilder/discussion lists several green building discussion groups.

MAP OF NATURAL BUILDINGS

The interactive map below pinpoints various examples of natural buildings around the world. If you have a home you like to feature or would just like to browse through the selection of homes on display, go to naturalhomes.org

BLOGS

There are getting to be quite a few blogs out there that are devoted, at least to some extent, to natural building. Besides mine, here are some others that I have become aware of:

small-scale.net/yearofmud
glenhunter.ca
pinkhammer.blogspot.com
oscarlisabuild.blogspot.com
builditwithbales.typepad.com
africanarchitecture.blogspot.com
lichenology.blogspot.com
sustainablehousing.blogspot.com
strawbaleredux.blogspot.com
orilliastrawbale.blogspot.com
strawbalers.blogspot.com
boundaryrammedearth.blogspot.com
rammed-earth-blog.blogspot.com
redwillowproject.blogspot.com
yestermorrowschool.natural-building-in-costa-rica
joated-loghome.blogspot.com
straw.gorogue.com
radio.weblogs.com
thestrawbalehouseplansblog.blogspot.com
historicrammedearth.wordpress.com
rammed-earth-southkorea.blogspot.com
strawbalestudioinsa.blogspot.com
ilovecob.com
buildinggreentv.com
erinisbuildingstuff.blogspot.com
hemplime.blogspot.com
altbuildblog.blogspot.com

ct-cordwoodoct06.blogspot.com
logman-logblog.blogspot.com
backyardnature.com
ktmagatyestermorrowdbschool.blogspot.com
ithacaecohostel.blogspot.com
domes.blogspot.com
rammedearth.blogspot.com
earthbuilding.blogspot.com
straw.gorogue.com
runnyford.blogspot.com
stoneyard.blogspot.com
loghomescabin.com
strawbalecolorado.blogspot.com
stonehousestrawhouse.blogspot.com
cobstudio.blogspot.com
strawhousejournal.blogspot.com
sonoramarammedearth.blogspot.com
goldenstrawbale.blogspot.com
newleafbud.blogspot.com
freewebs.com/stocktonunderground
buildinggreenstructures.com

yccbernalillo.blogspot.com
evalarevolution.blogspot.com
taoshivehome.blogspot.com
dancelikeanelephant.blogspot.com
therubberhouse.nl
earthship.es
darumanaturalbuilding.wordpress.com

Disclaimer Of Liability And Warranty
I specifically disclaim any warranty, either expressed or implied, concerning the information on these pages. Neither I nor any of the advisor/consultants associated with this site will have liability for loss, damage, or injury, resulting from the use of any information found on this, or any other page at this site. Kelly Hart, Hartworks, Inc.

 

Home       Site Map        STORE

For Email contact go to About Us
Established in 2001, GreenHomeBuilding.com is primarily a labor of love. Kelly, and the GreenHomeBuilding team of experts, have answered thousands of questions for readers over the years, and we continue to publish up-to-date information about increasingly important sustainable architecture. If you feel moved to assist us in this work, your kind donation would be much appreciated; this can be easily done through our PayPal account:
Custom Search

VISIT OUR OTHER WEBSITES:

  [Solar Car]      [Earthbag Building]     [Dream Green Homes]