Why are you interested in building a home with earthbags? Obviously, everyone wants a comfortable, affordable, inviting home, but what is your main goal? Cost? For some, climate conditions such as cold weather, or heat and humidity may drive the design. Others want to keep the design as simple as possible so it doesn’t become overwhelming, while those with a big family need more space (which raises the cost). Many people are sensitive to chemical offgassing and need a home that’s free of toxins. Is resistance to earthquakes, hurricanes or tornadoes the priority? Are you looking for a personal challenge, or to make a social, artistic or environmental statement? Maybe you’re interested in pursuing a career in natural building and want to use your home to showcase your talents. In any case, it’s a good idea to pay careful attention to your goals, because building a home is a major project.
Do you see how each of these objectives could change the ultimate outcome of the design and construction of a home? A house built in an extremely cold region will clearly look much different than one in a mild climate. A $1,000 budget is only enough for a very simple structure, whereas $2,000 will make possible a few nice extras and/or larger home. If you’re paying extra to reinforce against hurricanes or earthquakes, for instance, that will effect how much you have left for other things. A tight budget may dictate building smaller or building only one part of the home and adding on later.
We’ve identified numerous homebuilding goals, but if you’re like most you probably have multiple goals. This is when you have to start making priorities so you can make more intelligent choices that are within budget. For example, you may have to scale back on some amenities. You don’t necessarily have to abandon the hot tub you’ve been dreaming about, but it may very well mean you can’t afford a new store bought model. This will get you thinking of affordable alternatives made with stone, recycled materials or maybe converting a stock tank. So that’s the basic process: identify your homebuilding goals and then prioritize them to create a good plan.