Posts tagged: cob house

Check Out This Amazing Natural Home In Southern Finland

Check Out This Amazing Natural Home In Southern FinlandAmazing Natural Home In Southern Finland – Image To Repin / Share
Photo – heidivilkman.com

This is the story of a beautiful tiny cob cottage that was built by a young Finnish artist called Heidi Vilkman. Heidi has built her home using only locally sourced natural materials. It’s especially interesting from an “off-grid perspective” because it combines several natural building methods all in one small dwelling – including earth bags, straw bales, lime plaster, cob and cordwood! There’s even a natural birch bark damp-proof course below the north wall!

The cottage has given Heidi a canvas to express some of her creative talents too – it really looks magical, with sculptures emerging from the walls. It blends well with the landscape and adds a flavour of other-wordliness to her living space.

Southern Finland is typically snow-covered throughout the winter – from around December to April. Northern parts of Finland have an even longer winter, being snowbound from October until the spring. With winter temperatures often reaching -30ºC (and occasionally as low as -50ºC!) sometimes with strong, cold easterly or northeasterly winds, any Finnish home needs to be able to provide serious protection from the elements! Cob provides extremely good insulation, and a typical cob home will use up to 20% less energy to heat than a conventional build, so it is great choice. It is also suited to hot climates as it will help to keep you cool indoors in the summer and reduce the need for air conditioning.

Cob (made with clay, sand and straw) can be used to build load-bearing walls and must be finished on the on exterior surface with a breathable layer such as lime wash render, never with concrete or with a damp proof membrane – clay in the cob will shrink as it dries and other natural materials will be able to move as it does. For the same reason, damp proofing should never be added to interior walls as this also traps water in the wall. Well-maintained cob will never be damp.

The reciprocal roof provides a strong enough base for a turf covering. To find out more about how to make a reciprocal roof, please try this page (that also has some well-researched links): http://greenbuildingelements.com/2008/10/01/the-reciprocal-roof-beauty-strength-and-simplicity-in-a-roof-frame/

OK, here’s the link to the full tutorial: http://naturalhomes.org/treeoflife.htm. Looking at the featured article, I was left wanting to know more about the stages of the building process – I found the full story of the building of this cob house, which is told in Heidi’s blog, along with many photos and an inspiring story of how the build has improved her life. You can find it here: http://cobdreams.blogspot.co.uk/

Build A Cob House And Live Debt-Free!

Build A Cob House And Live Debt-FreeBuild A Cob House And Live Debt-Free!
Photo – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbM2In5Hfx4

Here is a great video by w8mk about Cob Houses.The builders of these cob houses on the west coast of Canada have created some wonderful living spaces! The natural materials used give a warm, organic feel to the rooms and there is plenty of individuality to celebrate in each one. Sustainable development is a subject that is gaining in popularity and with inspiration like this, more of us will start to take action and make the change to using renewable materials.

There is much debate in the world’s governments about the need for new housing. The availability of building land and current planning laws can make house building a minefield, with high costs and a lot of red tape involved so it’s fantastic to see signs that (in some places at least) the idea of privately built, low impact housing is now being considered by planning authorities as a potential solution to these issues.

It’s only to be expected that those organisations that lend money are keen to keep their customers in debt – as individuals and governments are finding all over the world. If we fail to convince those in power to allow more sustainable ways (that could also free us from long-term debt) we are all slipping further into trouble as natural resources run low and destruction of the earth continues. With the problem of environmental damage caused by some modern building materials and more unsuitable sites being used for new development, the current approach is clearly unsustainable.

This is beginning to change with some building suppliers offering more competitive sustainable products – and interest is growing rapidly in using natural alternatives. If you work in this sector and want to know more, try this download: http://www.huduser.org/Publications/PDF/practLowImpctDevel.pdf

Related: Couple Build Amazing Shipping Container Home For Debt-Free Living

If you are thinking of a taking on a project like the ones featured here, it’s important to know where you stand with planning permission in your area. It’s likely that most planning authorities will turn your proposal down without much thought (in fear of setting a precedent that allows people to build whatever they like!) but times are changing and if you make a good case for your low impact dwelling (LID!) you could find support in the right places – have a look at those who have succeeded for some tips.

Here are some further sites all about sustainable building, full of useful info to get you started:
http://www.inspirationgreen.com/building/
(UK) http://www.digplanet.com/wiki/Low-impact_development_UK
(US/Canada) http://www.digplanet.com/wiki/Low-impact_development_Canada-USA

Okay, here is the video:

Build A Cob House And Live Debt-Free
Build A Cob House And Live Debt-Free! – Images: https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/GbM2In5Hfx4