sustainable-homes-be-structural (2)Today’s consumers are plagued with growing concerns over their impact on the environment. Many products and services can be harmful to the planet, so you may be looking to reduce your carbon footprint as you shop for a new home. Although many newer homes are being designed to increase their energy efficiency, the production of new materials for traditional housing options can cause significant damage to the planet. If you want to expand your eco-friendly lifestyle, choosing an earth home is a great way to live stylishly, affordably and ethically.

Earthbag Homes

Although the construction of earthbag homes is recently becoming a trend for modern homeowners, the tradition of building homes from bags of sand has a rich history. Sand bag structures are especially used in military applications because they create a strong, protective barrier and can easily control flooding. The same perks make earthbag homes great for eco-friendly long term housing.

Most of today’s earthbag homes are filled with different types of soils such as adobe soil or volcanic rock. This material creates a well insulated wall that is not easily damaged by moisture. These homes have a low impact on the environment due to the natural and easily accessible materials used to construct them. You can create virtually any size or shape for your home with a versatile earthbag construction.

Earth Sheltered Homes
Much like earthbag homes, earth sheltered homes are a low impact housing option for those looking to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Earth sheltered homes are often called hobbit homes, because they are built into the earth, especially mountains or hillsides. This creates a natural insulation, making earth sheltered homes extremely energy efficient. Earth sheltered homes are also resistant to temperature extremes and weather elements such as wind, rain, and snow. Although most sheltered homes are built into hilly terrain, if you don’t live near the hillside you can always create an earth sheltered home by adding dirt to the top and sides of your home.

Earthship Homes

sustainable-homes-be-structural (1)Earthship homes are another option for families wanting to decrease their carbon footprints. These homes can be built in any part of the world and provide all the necessities for living such as electricity, water, sewage treatment, and food production. These homes are great for those looking to start relying less on the grid. Earthship homes are constructed from natural and recycled materials. Most are designed to run on solar power for electricity and rainwater for plumbing. If you’re looking to have your own ecosystem, a beautiful and unique earthship home may be the perfect solution.

When deciding to build your home using any of the ecofriendly building methods mentioned above, it is important to hire a licensed structural engineer. A professional engineer has the education and training to provide an engineered set of stamped drawings (blueprints for building).  Because many building departments are not accustomed to seeing earth bag, earth ship and earth sheltered structures for approval.  It is important to build the right team of design professionals to ensure there are no delays in the construction of your custom, sustainable house.

A licensed engineer can address specific concerns, such as sandy soil, rocky and uneven ground, or flooding and exterior grading issues. These problems can compromise a new home’s foundation and wall systems.  An engineer has the mathematical education required to perform calculations to ensure loads imposed by wind, snow and seismic conditions do not compromise your new home’s building envelope and roof. Proper ventilation, air flow, water drainage and more can all be address by a professional engineer.