One of the coolest and most visible aspects of sustainable buildings are the various types of shelters that can be constructed that incorporate earth-friendly concepts. Hopefully the resources we have here will inspire to explore new options in housing and make major changes in the way you live.

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Learn how to create your very own plastic bottle greenhouse, for your home or as a school project.

This really cool structure is made using a rammed earth foundation (tires) incorporates over 1000 2-liter plastic soft drink bottles as its walls, a straw bale north wall as well as two 55-gallon rain barrels (courtesy of Little Square Farm) into the north wall.

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This handy little guide provides some of the basics for straw bale construction – along a few observations about life, philosophy, the size of candy bars, and other essential construction details.

More that half of all the buildings on this planet are constructed using earth and straw.  Many have stood for hundreds of years without the “benefits” of modern construction techniques.

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More that half of all the buildings on this planet are constructed using earth and straw.  Many have stood for hundreds of years without the “benefits” of modern construction techniques.

Why not take advantage of free materials and ancient (and not-so-ancient) building techniques to construct your next project.  A great start is utilizing discarded automobile tires to build a strong and versatile foundation.

Annie and Jay Warmke have pounded more tires than they care to recall in building their 2,200 sq ft Earthship – taking advantage of the thermal and structural capacity of these free building products. 

Sustainable Building Podcasts…

Living in an Earthship

What is it like to live in an Earthship (a home made of tires, bottles, mud and assorted garbage)? 

How did we decide to move from a comfortable home in suburbia to build a house made of trash – and then move there permanently?

How does it all work, harvesting its own water, composting its waste, heating itself naturally? And why is it so darn comfortable?

Why We Built an Earthship

llama lounge foundation

What led to us to build an earthship in the hills of Appalachian Ohio?

What strange compulsion resulted in our quitting our jobs, chucking the goals and aspirations of middle-class American life and moving to the middle of nowhere to forge a new reality in a house made mostly of old tires?

And what is stranger yet – why do we still have not a single regret after living this way for nearly 20 years?

Straw Bale Construction

Most of the homes in the world are made with a combination of mud an straw. This technique is survived the test of time – from medieval “wattle and daub” construction of English cottages, to the prairie Nebraska home of the American frontier, to luxurious straw bale “McMansions” of today.

So just how do you construct a home or cottage from straw bales?  Join Annie and Jay Warmke of Blue Rock Station for a discussion of sustainable living and alternative housing options.

Outlawing Sustainability (Water and Shelter Regulations)

As more and more people seek alternatives – government follows closely behind with one regulation after another seemingly designed to make these decisions illegal. 

Take tiny houses for example.  Homes smaller than a certain size become illegal.  People get around this by putting wheels on the home.  So living in a home with wheels is suddenly illegal. 

Building a Plastic Bottle Greenhouse

For the past 15 years or so, the plastic bottle greenhouse at Blue Rock Station has helped start the garden in the spring and kept greens safe over the winter. 

Find out how to build a handy greenhouse from discarded 2-liter soda bottles, and some old tires.

Reclaiming Building Materials (Salvaging our History)

In a world that is running out of everything, he with the most garbage wins.  Modern building techniques normally focus on reducing the amount of time required to install – rather than the quality of the materials used. 

Old buildings, that are usually crushed and thrown in the landfill are an amazing source of high quality building materials.  When a building is lost, the stories of our past are lost with it. 

Early Homes of America (the Pioneers didn’t all live in log cabins) – Dead White Scientists Series

Early settlers of America found the most comfortable homes were often similar to those inhabited by the Native Americans who had survived in this climate for thousands of years. 

Early residents of Philadelphia built cave homes along the Delaware River – but where forced to abandon them when William Penn decided they were not “British” enough. 

Homes made of sod, grass, mud, and yes – even log cabins dotted the landscape.  So what did the early pioneers build and why?  And why did it all change? 

Sustainable Small Towns

Annie and Jay Warmke of Blue Rock Station are joined by Charlotte Colley, village administrator of New Concord, Ohio.

They discuss the challenges faced by small town administrators as they deal with the impacts of climate change, as well as how a small towns can seek to implement and encourage more sustainable practices for the city and its residents.