When it comes to the construction of your off-grid home, the materials you choose are up to you. There are several ways to go about choosing materials and it all comes down to how much you want to spend and in some cases how “green” you want to be. We say “green” because many people choose to live off grid in hope of diminishing their personal eco-footprint (their negative effect on the planet). Just like the story of the three little pigs some common material choices are wood, brick and yes even straw. You may be thinking how and why in the world would I want my home to be made of straw. It can’t be durable nor water tight….
Strawbale construction has become very popular in the green living and off-grid living world. No, you won’t have a grass hut. This means of construction involves bales of tightly bound straw that is stacked like brinks to form your walls. It can them be covered with stucco and no one is the wiser. Plus it’s a great means of insulation.
If straw is not for you than traditional wood or brick construction may be the way to go. This is where you can decode to take a green path. Wood that is untreated provides a healthy indoor environment for you and your family. When you take out the harsh chemical treatments that are applied to most woods, you take out the harmful off-gassing. Instead of …these chemical treatments, you can buy wood that is covered with a mineral oil or other natural oils, though the price starts increasing at this point. If you choose bricks, you can get ones that are made of natural material. The added benefit of brick is that they eliminate the need for insulation, which saves you money. On top of that insulation is nasty stuff and if you plan to do this yourself, it may be more of a nightmare than you intended, though recycled denim jeans offer a great insulator without the dangers of some traditional insulation’s.
Well these are some of your basic options when it comes to building your off-grid home. Some people have gone so green as to use recycled tires filled with dirt to build their walls! SIP’s or Structural Insulated Panels, are another great option. Your entire home is built in a warehouse with plumbing and electrical included. They eliminated the need for insulation because they already have it! This choice eliminates the waste that is left at your building site unlike traditional building methods. Your house arrives on a truck and is assembled like a puzzle.
Keep in mind that when choosing to live off-grid may mean that you are in high risk fire areas, so more fire retardant/proof materials may be the way to go. Concrete siding and roofing is a great way to finish the exterior.