"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.
Natural Building Tour of Eco-Friendly Affordable Homes
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.
grisb.org The Geiger Research Institue of Sustainable Building features workshops, a strawbale certification program, articles and publications on many aspects of sustainable building, house plans (including a free emergency shelter plan), and links to much more information.
webconx.com discussion of various approaches to natural building.
naturalbuildingnetwork.org is a non-profit membership association promoting natural building principles, materials and practitioners worldwide.
earthbuilding.com Earth Building Foundation's informative site.
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.
Seven Generations Natural Builders this group promotes natural building (especially cob and straw bale) through workshops and other assistance.
housealive.org specializes in workshops on Natural Building, Design and Appropriate Technology.
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?"
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.
earthenbuilt.com shows many examples of natural building projects.
greenbuilder/discussion lists several green building discussion groups.
The Irish Eco Builders Website aims to be a technical source, discussion forum and contact base, for those interested in natural and eco-friendly buildings.
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
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: