Types of Sustainable and Innovative Houses

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Types of Sustainable and Innovative Houses

Green creative housing ideas fill unique niches in the quest for sustainable architecture. Eco-construction materials that can be used to build affordable and sustainable houses have been used for thousands of years. Now, architects and engineers focused on sustainable housing are using such knowledge and skills in innovative ways. Local architecture relies on local products and knowledge thus it’s not dependent on the global supply chain of products. Innovative architects and engineers take advantage of ancestral knowledge and use it to create sustainable housing solutions and reduce the ever-increasing demand for natural resource extraction, transportation, and processing.

Housing is a human right and at the same time, millions of people around the world don’t have stable and affordable housing. The lack of a proper home affects additional basic needs such as access to adequate sanitation and drinking water. At the same time, housing problems are related to social problems such as poverty, homelessness, education inequality, poor communities, poor health care, etc.

The United Nations state that everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing, and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

Target 11.1 By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe, and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums
Moreover, other targets of Goal 11 address inclusive and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries. To achieve this, construction innovation must be essential for shaping the future of human settlements.
Researches show that construction activity had a contribution to air pollution, climate change, landfill waste, contamination of drinking water, etc.
Hence, people around the world have come up with ideas on affordable and earth-friendly housing solutions that also are innovative alternatives to conventional houses.
These types of homes are eco-friendly, self-sustained, build with natural and recycled materials, and they are designed to conserve energy, produce power, and sometimes even water and food

Examples include:

This is a type of house that among many other goals aims at reversing the negative effect that conventional human housing has on the planet. These houses use natural and recycled materials and they provide shelter, energy, waste management, food, water, and sewage treatment. This type of eco-construction can be found all over the world.

Also known as modular homes, prefab houses have been around for a long time. New models consist of architect-designed prefabricated home kits made of recycled materials. Their features include rainwater systems, solar panels, net-zero emissions, and zero waste through all the production and assembly stages.

Cob homes

Cob homes are small and cute and look like something straight out of a fairy tale. They are made of cob, a natural building material made from subsoil, water, fibrous organic material, and lime. Cob homes are affordable, energy-efficient, healthy, strong, termite-proof, fireproof, and artistic.

Rammed earth
This is another technique that has been around for thousands of years. One surviving section of an ancient wall build in China with rammed earth dates back to 2,500 years ago. Nowadays the technique consists of a compressed mixture of soil, gravel, and natural materials perfect for desert areas. Rammed earth homes are Trudy and sustainable, but they can be expensive, but cost-effective in the long term. They have a luxurious and minimal look and make a green architecture choice for those who like the rammed wall aesthetics.

Earthbag homes
As the name suggests, earthbag homes are made of bags filled with earth, sand, or other local materials. The technique is old, the concept is new. Earthbag homes resist all kinds of severe weather and they stand up to natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes.

Zero carbon
Zero carbon homes are a solution not only to sheltering issues but also to carbon emissions and hefty utility bills. Zero-carbon homes are designed to be airtight and well insulated. They are designed in a way to get the most out of the sun and earth to heat and cool down the house depending on the season. The home relies on renewable electricity generated with solar panels or small wind turbines.

Earth-sheltered houses

Some people think about the Hobbiton in Lord of the Rings when they see earth-sheltered houses. The truth is that various cultures around the world have used the technique of underground homes for thousands of years. They can be found in Iceland, Australia, the United States, Switzerland, the UK, etc.

Other types of sustainable homes include:
Aircrete domes
Airtight houses
3D-printed homes
Roundhouses or wooden yurt
Strawbale homes
Geodesic domes

The advantage of these types of sustainable homes is that anyone can come up with an innovative idea for housing. The other advantage is that it can be a community project. Community members can join efforts and knowledge to build strong and eco-friendly homes. This concept it’s based on the principle of recombining what already exists, including knowledge, skills, and local resources. This method is explained in the free entrepreneurship online training offered by the Entrepreneurship Campus.

Do you have an idea of how to improve housing in your area? Do you like to contribute to one or more of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals with an idea or project? Join the Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition.

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