Natural Building: The Key to Affordable Housing

There needs to be much more focus on sustainable housing solutions that benefit average people. According to the UN, approximately 1.2 billion people lack adequate shelter. The main problem is lack of affordable housing.

Natural building can play a major role in addressing the current unprecedented housing crisis. Everyone can have safe, decent, debt-free housing by using locally available, natural building materials such as straw, earth, earthbags, bamboo, stone and sustainably harvested wood. Also, using recycled materials is encouraged.

Natural building is the logical solution to the housing crisis. There is simply no other way to create affordable housing for all those in need. Highly processed materials such as concrete, steel and synthetic materials are beyond the reach of many and cause great harm to the environment.

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2 thoughts on “Natural Building: The Key to Affordable Housing”

  1. I wonder if people thinking about earthbag housing could be helped with some more easily accessible cost figures. I appreciate that Rob Wainright’s article included labor time and materials cost figures.
    I’d love to see a chart that separated projects by type of building (dome, stabilized earthbag walls with cement plaster or paper cement, unstabilized bag walls with earth plaster, bag walls with cement vault roof). The date of construction and location should be included with columns for comments about the degree of experience of the main builders and how many workers had to be trained.
    In regions (like the developing world) where labor costs are low, the low materials costs are so important. In some of these areas cement is also overpriced (or illegal to build with during the dry season), and some comparison between the materials and the labor needed for cement stabilized vs. non-stabilized would be helpful!
    The new bag filler is a great idea! It can certainly make bag homes practical for US owners who can’t take the time to self-build.

    • Obtaining cost comparisons as you describe seems unlikely. There are so many variables at play I think a designer has to do their own estimates using the best information available. This gets somewhat easier with experience. Keep accurate records of every project you build for later reference.


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