Designing a Low Cost Home Redux

So if you read my post about cob building I said that we are thinking about building a cob place to stay in for a few years well … it’s funny how things change so fast!

The more than we’ve researched the more information we’re finding out about cob that tells us that a cob home is not only the way to go for a few years but is in fact the way to go for good. One of the concerns is that concrete (which we’d need for our underground home) is made of Portland Cement. Portland Cement releases 1.5 tons of carbon for each ton of cement produced. That’s not cool.

While we plan to have modern electricity, gas (for cooking and to add some mechanical heating), we can’t bring ourselves to a point where we are OK with releasing that much carbon when half the reason we want to live underground is because we want to help the environment!

So we’ve found a bit of land in the city and we’ve researched how to buy it. Our next step is to talk with the local community group about getting their help with buying the land and we need to double check that we are up on our taxes and make sure that Pittsburgh’s Bureau of Building Inspection will sign off on us using cob. After that we’ll buy the land and start to do this:

If you’re interested in helping build our home we are interested in doing an exchange – we’ll help you build yours if you help us build ours! Contact me via the website to discuss.

Why build with cob?

Why do we want to build a permanent cob home? We believe (we’ll find out) that we can build a home out of cob that is roughly 1,600 sq feet for under 20k (including the cost of the land). This means we could do so without needing a mortgage. If we can do it so can you and so can the other folks in the community we are looking to build in. This will free us from the grip of the industrial builders and all the other things that come along with them (mainly mortgage costs but also high energy costs, the cost of repairs, the risk of fire and need for fire insurance, health costs associated with volatile chemicals inside of industrial products like treated lumber, as well as environmental costs).

Cob is build with the onsite ground (which is what makes it less expensive) so we’ll also want to do some soil testing but as long as it checks out we should be in our cob home within 3 years!!!