The global population is slowly reaching the 8 billion mark, and that can be seen everywhere around us. With this, comes the realization of how much of a footprint we leave on the environment. Precisely because of this, people have started coming up with innovative ideas that are more eco-friendly, especially in areas that involve our day to day life.
Alternative housing has become a big trend recently, as people find traditional homes may not be as efficient as they once were. Alternative solutions are preferred, especially by younger generations, because they no longer leave such a big impact on the environment, as well as because they involve much less maintenance costs.
Ideas for more environmentally-friendly houses are many, but not all of them are quite as popular. Below is a list of five of the most popular alternative housing ideas, and how they can benefit society.
Earth houses are not exactly an innovation. Actually, it is one of the oldest forms of house-building on earth. They are believed to be extremely durable and energy-efficient, precisely because earth is a good thermic insulator.
This technique does not necessarily mean building houses underground, but rather using the earth as a building material. This includes cob houses, earth shelters, as well as rammed earth.
- Cob Houses: these houses are built out of a mixture of earth and straw, which results in a material that can be used for construction. Contrary to some people’s belief, cob houses are different from adobe houses, which are made out of blocks made from this mixture. Cob houses, on the other hand, use the earth-straw mixture to form one of a kind structures, that look more aesthetically pleasing.
- Earth Shelters: these types of houses are usually built entirely or partially underground, and the reason they became so popular is that earth works as a great thermal mass, which results in a more energy-efficient home. It helps maintain a constant indoor temperature, scientifically reducing costs.
Mobile homes have long been seen as an alternative for people with lower incomes, but it has recently become a viable option for people who don’t want to be limited to living in just one place. The advantages of mobile homes are many, including lower prices, mobility, as well as the opportunity to create a community of people sharing the same views.
Mobile homes are becoming extremely popular in states such as Florida, North Carolina, and New Mexico, and because of this, insurance companies have started tailoring insurances for mobile homeowners as well. People looking to buy Florida mobile home insurance, for example, can benefit from the same advantages as people purchasing insurance for traditional homes.
Probably some of the biggest advantages of mobile homes are that they are relatively small, which means they are easy to maintain, as well as their mobility. People can simply move their house to a different park, or even go as far as creating an entire community with mobile houses.
Probably the biggest trend in real estate right now is downsizing the living surface. We are talking tiny houses, but also tiny apartments, which means making the most out of what you got. We are so used to cluttering our houses, filling them with things that are not really necessary, but with tiny houses, that is not possible anymore. By limiting the living space, people can focus on furnishing and decorating it with only the basics, promoting a more consumerism-free life.
Construction costs for tiny homes are significantly smaller than that for traditional homes, as you can recur to more unconventional materials such as stone or wood. Maintenance costs and efforts are also smaller, plus it gives a more appropriate solution for using sustainable energy.
Last, but not least, mini houses are much more aesthetically pleasing, meaning they will look less cluttered, more cozy and simpler to decorate. Imagine a small bedroom, with only a bed and a nice closet, but filled with décor elements that make it look like a real human nest.
Often referred to as container houses, this type of home is very similar to the concept of tiny houses. The reduced cost of building is what attracts more and more people to the concept of living in a shipping crate. Some people believe that living in a shipping crate is a solution most suited for people with financial issues, but there are numerous examples of how container houses can be turned into true works of real-estate art.
Containers can be stacked to form a two- or three-store house, and have an industrial look to them, which is quite welcomed by many. The way they can be styled and furnished to look like futuristic homes is another reason for people to consider container houses. Others have even gone as far as replacing one or two of the walls with glass, making them look nothing like containers anymore.
In terms of durability, container houses are made of metal, which means they can sand the test of time, but to make them even more efficient, insulation or special treatment can be applied to the metal.
Wood houses have been quite a hit for vacation houses, especially in forested areas, where people come to relax on the weekends. But some people are taking it even further and building them in urban areas as well.
Log houses, which is how they are sometimes referred to as, are made out of large logs, that are treated to resist weather and unpleasant temperatures. They are then insulated to become more efficient and to not look like cabins anymore.
Although they are built out of trees, they can be seen as an eco-friendly option, especially since people are usually building them from dead, or really old trees.
The reason why they are believed to be so efficient is that wood absorbs heat during the day, which then helps maintain a warm temperature during the night. This is why you see most cabins in the mountains are made out of wood, instead of traditional construction materials.
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