When we watch films that take place in Africa or in a fantasy world like the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, we see homes that are made with natural materials. Thinking of a home made with natural materials as primitive is now passé. There are all kinds of ways to have a home that is made of natural materials that are functional, stylish, and most of all – green!
There are countless ways to make a home that is created from natural materials. You can use stone, glass, lime or mud plasters, adobe or rammed earth, bricks, tiles, untreated wood (simple oil or wax finishes can be used), cork, paper, reeds, bamboo, canes and grasses, all natural fibers (linen, cotton, wool, etc.). Surprisingly, old fashioned linoleum is more natural too. It is made from powdered cork, linseed oil, wood resin, wood flour mixed with chalk, and pressed onto a backing of burlap or jute.
One fine example is bamboo housing. Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on the planet and can grow up to 2 feet within a 24 hour period. It has been used for ages as a building material in various regions of the world. Bamboo as a sustainable building material has generated a lot of interest among architects and builders in recent times. There are fine, green prefab homes are made almost entirely out of bamboo, one of the most sustainable of building materials. You can customize versions for any climate zone. The homes are incredibly strong and stand up to both earthquakes and hurricanes.
Adobe is another great material that we have seen examples of. In Santa Fe, the old buildings there are made from adobe and still are standing today. They are wonderful because they are natural bricks that control the temperature of a home well. To this day, Santa Fe is recognized as a green place because it has the buildings that use adobe and save energy in the baking Southwest sun. Many of the manufacturers are located nearby in the U.S. and Canada.
Straw bales are also effective natural materials in homes. Over a hundred years ago, people used bales of straw to build their homes. They found that these bales of straw kept the homes warm and well insulated. Once again, home designers are adopting this design to naturally and passively keep homes warm without the use of conventional energy. Contact a local builder in your area or go on a green home websites to see how well these simple-made homes are green and still fit our modern lifestyles.