The Choices We Make Impact our Path in Life

A brief tale of two home buyers… John: John bought a contractor-built house in the suburbs, largely because that’s what most people do. He didn’t give the decision a great deal of thought. He was eager to have a nice new home to show off to friends and family. It would provide a lot of … Read more

The Shift Toward Organic Architecture

Thumb through popular architecture sources and you’ll readily spot a growing trend toward curved and round designs. It’s a revolt against the box. Oh sure, the status quo suburban box is alive and well, and will likely endure as long as the existing building codes, insurance and financial institutions remain in place. But there’s a … Read more

Parallel Chord Pallet Trusses

If you have access to small diameter trees and wood pallets, and live in an area not restricted by building codes, then this truss design is one good low cost roof option. Small trees are rapidly renewable, and pallets are plentiful and often available for free. Pallet trusses are especially appealing where other sources of … Read more

Durable, Affordable DIY Concrete Countertops

We needed an inexpensive way to make durable countertops for our outdoor kitchen, and after a little head scratching we came up with a pretty good solution at a fraction of the cost of custom made – about $20 instead of $2,000. (This cost is for 12.5 lineal feet of 25-1/2” countertops.) This savings more … Read more

Local Materials, Small Designs and DIY Labor = Sustainable and Affordable Housing

What does it take to build truly sustainable houses – the kind people really want and can afford – and not some greenwashing hype? Most contractor-built houses are not affordable to the masses, so obviously something is amiss. And because buildings account for the largest share of energy use and cause devastating effects to our … Read more

Updated Step-by-Step Earthbag Building

My Step-by-Step Earthbag Building article at has been updated. I built a demonstration wall and photographed each step. YouTube videos have been embedded to further demonstrate the process. All the latest tools and techniques are shown, including use of stronger sheetmetal sliders, 2-gallon cement buckets, bucket chutes, bags turned inside out, and filling bags … Read more