One of the greatest challenges of our time is the need to create affordable, sustainable housing for Earth’s growing population – without burning Earth down in the process.
PSE Consulting Engineers is meeting this challenge head on with a variety of advancements in building materials and construction methods that provide unorthodox and modern sustainable home types.
But which of these sustainable home types is best for you? Here’s a quick overview so you can see how each of these different types of sustainable homes may (or may not) suit your needs!
Tiny homes are easily among the best-known sustainable home types, as they’ve obtained somewhat viral status.
Tiny homes are cost-efficient, low-maintenance, easy to customize, and ideal for a simple, clutter-free lifestyle. They may not be the best choice for a large family or those who like entertaining large groups for the holidays, but for couples or smaller families who like to travel and maintain a simple home lifestyle, they can be a great choice.
There are, however, some flaws with tiny houses, including high cost-per-square-foot, and difficulty obtaining a zoning permit depending on where you live.
Tiny homes can even be made modular so you can travel with your home in tow! Of course, there are pros and cons here as well. A tiny home on a foundation becomes a permanent residence, and that’s where zoning restrictions come into play. To put a tiny home on a foundation, you need to buy land, obtain the right zoning permits, and pay property taxes – all costs you can avoid by keeping your tiny home on wheels.
However, with a permanent foundation for your tiny home, you gain a great deal of design flexibility. When your tiny home is on wheels, you essentially have to keep the parameters of your home within what is street-legal. With a foundation, you have more freedom to exceed the width and height limits of a tiny home on wheels.
Shipping Container Homes
When you build a home with reusable products like shipping containers, you reduce waste and you also get a great home!
Shipping container homes are extremely modular – you can stack and combine the containers together like you’re building your home with giant building blocks. The result is an affordable, strong, durable, and modern home that is weather- and fire-resistant.
However, because you’re building with shipping containers, you’re going to get a lot of clean lines and boxy architecture, so it may not be the best if you’re someone who likes your architecture a little curvier.
Of course, the cost of a shipping container home can vary based on how much customization is involved. Shipping container homes have a lot of versatility and potential – you can have a small, simple home made from a single container, or a complex and customized one made from several in a configuration of your choice.
Part of the benefit of shipping container homes is being able to use an option that fits your budget and space requirements, so it can potentially be a great option for anyone from large families to single occupants.
Bamboo homes are increasingly going into service as a non-traditional alternative to wood frame homes. Bamboo houses resist erosion and earthquakes, and bamboo as a material has more flexibility than wood.
There’s not much unusual about the structure of a bamboo home – architecturally it may not look much different from a traditional wood home, but bamboo is a faster-growing and more sustainable material that is known for being of high quality!
Bamboo homes are a great choice for homes near the coast and are an incredibly eco-friendly option. Compared to wood, bamboo produces 30% more oxygen and absorbs more carbon dioxide and pollutants.
In the search for affordable, sustainable housing materials, the latest technology has brought us back to one of the classics: concrete.
Aircrete homes are a form of concrete made with air pockets created from a special lightweight foam mixed into the concrete mix.
The result is a lighter concrete that, unlike most other building materials, actually gets stronger over time. Aircrete tends to be stronger than traditional concrete against physical impacts, but isn’t as strong as a load-bearing material. This is part of the reason why aircrete homes are often built in a dome shape, as that negates the potential load-bearing issues.
Aircrete homes are affordable, durable, resistant to fire, water, and pest damage, and can be treated to be highly thermally efficient. Aircrete also has a significantly lower carbon footprint than traditional concrete.
These are just a few of the materials available for building homes and other structures. Contact us with your home-building goals and we can help connect you with the best plans to achieve them!