It Can’t Possibly Be Worth It

Rob Roy’s earth-sheltered cordwood home
Rob Roy’s earth-sheltered cordwood home

“More than a third of the average American’s after-tax income is devoted to shelter, usually rent or mortgage payments. If a person works from age 20 to age 65, it can be fairly argued that he or she has put in 15 years (20 in California) just to keep a roof over their head. With a piece of land, six months’ work, and — say — $35,000, he (or she) and his family could have built his own home.

To save 14½ years of work, you cannot afford not to build, even if it means losing a job while you do it. Granted, the land (and the $35,000) has to come from somewhere, but this amount is no more (and probably no less) than the down payment on a mortgaged contractor-built home, and about half the cost of a new double-wide mobile home (figuring either option as being about the same square footage as an earth-sheltered home).

So… why don’t more people do it? Is it really worth giving up 15+ years of your life (and I’d say for many people, more) to pay off the house you live in just to save yourself the effort of having to do it yourself? Surely it can’t be that a life of 9-to-5 indentured servitude is so wonderful that one can’t give up a summer or three building a house like the one above, which I believe came in at about $20,000… And with an increasing percentage of people defaulting on their mortgages and losing all of those years, even on a risk management level it seems completely nonsensical.”

Source: I Need More Life

“An earth-sheltered, earth-roofed home has the least impact upon the land of all housing styles, leaving almost zero footprint on the planet.

Earth-Sheltered Houses is a practical guide for those who want to build their own underground home at moderate cost. It describes the benefits of sheltering a home with earth, including the added comfort and energy efficiency from the moderating influence of the earth on the home’s temperature (keeping it warm in the winter and cool in the summer), along with the benefits of low maintenance and the protection against fire, sound, earthquake, and storm afforded by the earth. Extra benefits from adding an earth or other living roof option include greater longevity of the roof substrate, fine aesthetics, and environmental harmony.”
Earth-Sheltered Houses by Rob Roy

10 thoughts on “It Can’t Possibly Be Worth It”

  1. Another part of the equation is that many people don’t believe they can build their own home. Historically in this country for the last 80 years most people purchased their home.That is what their parents did, so for many they don’t think beyond that. There are also people who believe manual labor is beneath them.

    Another factor to consider is that in some parts of the country it is difficult to build even for experienced contractors. The best areas climate wise usually have higher land values. Higher land values almost always have more stringent building codes, fees and of course above average taxes. Those that are forced to live in those areas because of employment, really can be stuck with limited options.

    There are areas in California where it is almost impossible to build anything new, let alone something the building department has never seen. In some areas, the only way you can build is to do a remodel. I have seen houses in LA County totally demolished with the exception of one wall. That one wall is the basis to allow a permit for a remodel.

  2. While i love big solid and well insulated homes. My shoulders aint what they used to be. I think there is something to be said for portable housing.
    Earth changes or moving with the seasons could be a big plus in the future.
    Ill admit a softspot for log cabins or cordwood homes.
    Pacific domes look nice but are to pricey for me.Sunrise domes and shelter-systems are more like it for me.

    • There’s probably lots of reasons. A lot of it is conditioning. This is how most people get a home now and so they tend to follow along. Plus, the financial institutions create deceptive and overly complex methods to bamboozle people. Matt Taibbi has done a great job exposing the bank corruption in Rolling Stone magazine.

  3. I love the idea, and want to do this so bad myself. My husband and I are tired of owing, and now since our home mortgage has violations in it and we were literally screwed by the bank, and now in foreclosure we are more determined, but how do you get the property to build on. There are so many limitations and we want to purchase property somewhere in north central Florida. Any earthbag home would be perfect here, but land is next to impossible to find, always in a subdivision or many restrictions on it, even out in the middle of nowhere.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.