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Unusual Buildings (4)

What about this low environmental impact house in Wales?

low-inpact-woodland-home-01

From the website

“You are looking at pictures of a house I built for our family in Wales. It was built by myself and my father in law with help from passers by and visiting friends. 4 months after starting we were moved in and cosy. I estimate 1000-1500 man hours and £3000 put in to this point. Not really so much in house buying terms (roughly £60/sq m excluding labour).”

“The house was built with maximum regard for the environment and by reciprocation gives us a unique opportunity to live close to nature.” he says.

This building is one part of a low-impact or permaculture approach to life. This sort of life is about living in harmony with both the natural world and ourselves, doing things simply and using appropriate levels of technology.

When asked why he is doing this, he gave this answer: “ It’s fun. Living your own life, in your own way is rewarding. Following our dreams keeps our souls alive.”

low-impact-woodland-house21

Some key points of the design and construction:

* Dug into hillside for low visual impact and shelter
* Stone and mud from diggings used for retaining walls, foundations etc.
* Frame of oak thinnings (spare wood) from surrounding woodland
* Reciprocal roof rafters are structurally and aesthaetically fantastic and very easy to do
* Straw bales in floor, walls and roof for super-insulation and easy building
* Plastic sheet and mud/turf roof for low impact and ease
* Lime plaster on walls is breathable and low energy to manufacture (compared to cement)
* Reclaimed (scrap) wood for floors and fittings
* Anything you could possibly want is in a rubbish pile somewhere (windows, burner, plumbing, wiring…)
* Woodburner for heating – renewable and locally plentiful
* Flue goes through big stone/plaster lump to retain and slowly release heat
* Fridge is cooled by air coming underground through foundations
* Skylight in roof lets in natural feeling light
* Solar panels for lighting, music and computing
* Water by gravity from nearby spring
* Compost toilet
* Roof water collects in pond for garden etc.

Main tools used: chainsaw, hammer and 1 inch chisel, little else really. Oh and by the way I am not a builder or carpenter, my experience is only having a go at one similar house 2yrs before and a bit of mucking around inbetween. This kind of building is accessible to anyone. My main relevant skills were being able bodied, having self belief and perseverence and a mate or two to give a lift now and again.

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6 Responses

  1. That is just about the most beautiful little house I’ve ever seen. Looks like it in the Shire and Bilbo Baggins lives there.

    I’m sending this to my dad as a retirement project…

  2. Were the planning department on extended holidays when this was to be visited or did they see sense & give it the ultimate “green” light(sic). Fantastic, beautiful,and any letting spots available? Bilbo Baggs the first week available,ha ha……

  3. Just watch out if Hansel and Gretel come along…

  4. hey Rab – can I use these Unusual Buildings pictures on another forum…I’ll save the pictures onto my own photo hosting site….

  5. Ken,

    I don’t own them, feel free!

  6. […] been obsessed with this house for sometime and have probably posted pics of it before, but it was only this week that I came upon […]

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