To build or not to build
I Was a Strawbale home design builder. I designed and built 8 homes, 3 of which i used REU’s or Rammed earth tires as a means to get above grade?
Is it cheaper to build naturally than conventional construction…Yes, but only if you do it yourself and no if you don’t. What is your time worth and do you have it!
As to building your own Natural home:
1] Building your own home is one of the most empowering things you can do. It will also be one of the most difficult, especially if you do not have experience. Having said that, a home will teach you how to build it, you just have to get started.
2] Building your home and the “SWEAT equity” that comes with it will be one of the greatest investments you will ever make.
3] A natural built home is very LABOR intensive.
4] Plan on giving yourself, at the very least, Two years to build. One for planning and design and a Minimum of one year to build and move in and possibly much longer to finish!
I recommend Straw Bale as it has passed all ASTM standards and with flying colors! Lots of building Departments are aware of them and may allow them as are insurance companies and banks.
Cons of Natural Building:
1] Very difficult to finance and insure. You must be persistent and don’t take no for an answer!
2] As such they are also harder to sell and as an investment will not be worth what a conventional new build home would be. So you must ask yourself…is this a place I plan on spending a large part of my life in
3] Because a home is possibly the single biggest investment in your life and life is unpredictable, will this be a good investment for me in the long run. Possibly? If it is very efficient it may become more valuable over time as our paradigm shifts.
4] VERY LABOR INTENSIVE. Are you up for that?
Pros: For a Straw Bale Home, as that is what I know!
1] Somewhat smaller Carbon Footprint.
2] Very Cozy, efficient, warm and snuggly in winter, cool in summer.
3] Artistic, Creative and Righteous!
4] Very Quite!
5] When done, you will love your home and it will love you back.
To Summarize; Building your own home can be one of the most rewarding things you can do in your life and also the most stressful. Be sure to not paint yourself into a financial corner by building a home that may be difficult to sell. Do your homework!
If you have the time and money to build for yourself and you want a very efficient home that will be comfortable in all seasons and you plan on being in that home for a long time then a Naturally Built home might be just for you, but remember, it might be just for you.
If you are building a home as an investment and are hoping to cash in on your sweat equity then I would think twice about building a alternative “natural home”