Tag Archives: EcoFriendly

Eco-Friendly Interior Design – A Guide to Creating a Sustainable and Ecological Interior

It is not often realized that the materials used for interior design could be threatening the environment or even your health. It is always a wise option to look out for an eco-friendly interior designer who could bring your ideas to your life at an affordable cost while ensuring the materials used don’t endanger the environment or put you at the risk of respiratory problems and other conditions.

Paint

A host of eco-friendly solutions are in the market if you only look for them. Eco-friendly paint is one, conventional paints and finishes are quite dangerous if scientific reports and investigations by interior designers are to be believed. They are said to release low level toxic emissions long after they have dried on your walls. Paints with Low-Volatile Organic Compounds (Low-VOC and No-VOC) are the solution. You can feel the difference they are free from odor, thanks to the lack of harmful chemicals. Some of these eco-friendly paints are however expensive and may turn those on a budget off. But it is important to remember that it is almost impossible to create 100% non-toxic and non-allergenic paint even though manufacturers claim so. What can be done is to use paints that have a lesser concentration of the harmful elements which is effectively what the Low-VOC and No-VOC paints are.

Wallpaper

For those who would like a bit of vibrancy added to their walls, eco-friendly wallpapers are around. The problem with the regular wallpapers lies in the inks that are used while manufacturing. Eco-friendly wallpapers feature water-based inks; these inks are printed on chlorine-free paper obtained from forests specifically managed for the purpose. Low-VOC adhesive can be used for lightweight and medium weight paper-based wall decorations.

Carpets

Once you are done with the walls it is time to turn your interior design cravings to the floor. The pollution hazard with generally used carpets and flooring is that their installation can fill the indoor air with plenty of VOCs or volatile organic compounds. Included in these VOCs are carcinogens such as formaldehyde and benzene. You certainly would not want yourself or your loved ones to be inhaling these toxic substances. You ca not escape from it as these compounds could take years to dissipate, long after your flooring has been completed. What’s more, the treatment employed to keep the carpets free from moths, soil and moisture involves toxic chemicals. The carpets themselves could attract toxic substances and VOCs from outside the house. The good news is that eco-friendly interior designs can be employed here as well. There is wide variety of eco-friendly flooring options that include bamboo, cork, recycled metal and glass tiles, linoleum, stones and sustainable and reclaimed woods.

Carpet Tiles

Check out modular carpet tile squares that can used in place of the traditional carpet, these tiles are held to the ground by adhesive dots. They resemble the conventional carpet when all the tiles fall in place together, but are made from totally recycled materials and can be recycled again and again square-by-square. If you’ve dirtied one square by mistake it can be given to be recycled while you get a new tile!

Uses for Bamboo

Bamboo is an excellent option for eco-friendly flooring as well. Interior designers could give you innovative ideas to use bamboo for not only flooring but an array of interior furnishings. Recycled metal tiles available in aluminum as well as brass from dealers are great for the bathroom, kitchen floors and walls. They are often thought of as fashionable interior design statements. Available in polished, matte or rough finish, they can satisfy the decorative tastes of many, especially offering a contrast with wood used elsewhere in the room.

Sustainable and Reclaimed Wood

Sustainable and reclaimed wood are great interior design options and they work for floors as well as furniture. Rapidly disappearing forests have spawned the need for sustainable wood products. These wood products are made with wood from managed forests. The difference between a regular and managed forest is that the latter is never destroyed in one clear sweep (clear-cutting) as is the case with other forests. Only selected trees are removed, leaving behind a variety of different tree species. Each area of forest is then managed and replanted giving a 30 years cycle of regeneration of the forest to be complete before the felling starts again. This system does not deplete the land of its tree cover and it also ensures a constant supply of wood.

Here’s how interior designers can find out if the furniture or wooden accessories they purchase is made from wood from sustainable and managed forests. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) seal is one of the seals that are reliable, the other being Rainforest Alliance’s “SmartWood”, and the SCS and “Green Seal” labels from Scientific Certification Systems. FSC works globally to ensure responsible use of the forests of the world. The FSC certification only falls on forest managers and manufacturers who have satisfied the highest environmental and social standards in all stages of the wood production cycle, from the forest to the market through the factory. There’s no better way to balance the interests of society, environment and industry.

Beds, bed frames, dressers, nightstands and accessories are all available from sustainable wood certified by the FSC and other organizations, while reclaimed wood products are also around. Reclaimed wood products are made from wood that have previously served in structures and flooring. No fresh tree is cut to create a reclaimed wood product.

And Finally…

If you make the decision to make the environment safer for everyone, there are plenty of options you can try out. Beginning with the floor, you can customize everything from furniture and accessories to flooring and walls. Newer eco-friendly ideas are set to come up in the market as well. Kick-start the eco-friendly revolution!

Do It Yourself Pest Control With Eco-Friendly Bed Bug Spray For The Home

Having bedbugs in the house may be inevitable these days, especially if you travel frequently and stay in hotels quite often. To help solve this problem using a do it yourself pest control approach, many manufacturers have developed different types of insecticides to tackle this menace. Some of these products are effective while others are not; some are organically made while others are chemical based. It is important that one understands the different types of bed bug sprays before setting off to purchase them.

Residual insecticides

These are also called Deltamethrin and often found in the form of pyrethoids. They are usually available as aerosol. This insecticide is usually biodegradable and odorless hence suitable for confined spaced. The best was to administer it is directly into walls or floor cracks and crevices. It quickly paralyzes bed bugs of any age. This bed bug spray is safe for people and pets. However, they are not safe for the aquatic life.

Growth inhibitors

This is a special and unique spray, which uses Hydroprene. It is designed to inhibit the growth of the bed bugs. This leads to the prevention of the bugs from reaching maturity age thereby curbing their breeding. They help eliminate the bugs by shortening their breeding and maturity levels. These insecticides can be found in spray forms and other forms such as a powder. However, the hydropropene is not effective enough in the bugs’ elimination.

Others

There are other forms of sprays, which are effective in the bed bugs elimination. They are usually combined with additional agents thereby making them more expensive but sometimes more effective. However, some have been known to cause health problems hence the need to educate one about them before purchasing. Many of these sprays are only available to licenses exterminators and require you to be out of your house for a few days until the fumes clear.

Eco-Friendly Liquid sprays

These are very effective in the bedbug elimination process. These are sprayed directly into crevices and crevices in the home – main hiding places of the bugs. However, the application should only be done if it is said to be safe. Some of the liquid sprays are known to get inert after drying up hence frequent use if required. Many use natural plat oils such as red cedar oil that can be very effective at killing the bugs, but is harmless to your family and pets. One effective spray you most likely have in your home is the rubbing alcohol. This is quick in elimination and kills the

Going Green With Eco-Friendly Products – Products That Help the Environment When You Use Them

Which products help the environment when you use them? This is one of the important questions in finding eco-friendly products. There are a number of ways of going green, and we should do all of them because our environmental situation is urgent. Buying eco-friendly products are one of the crucial ways of going green. So which ones are eco-friendly?

Which are the products that help the environment when you use them? Here is a quick list of products that help the environment, organized into 3 categories:

Those that reduce our need dirty for energy and help produce clean energy:

-Solar panels on the house

-Wind generators on our house or in the neighborhood

-Solar chargers, flashlights, etc.

Those that lower our energy consumption:

-CFCs

-Energy-Star appliances

-LED light bulbs and screens

-Digital reading gadgets

Those that reduce or eliminate harm done to the environment:

-Plant-based cleaners

-Hybrid cars

-Bicycles (it’s not too late to take up this past-time and get in shape while saving the planet)

-Push lawn-mowers (yes, another habit-changing device)

Take out a pencil and see if you can’t come up with a list of more eco-friendly items or products that help the environment with their use. Think about those things that you have in your house already that help the environment. Expand your mind to consider more than just “Green” or “Eco-Friendly” products. Think about those products you could use to replace current energy-hogs or products that are more reusable and/or more easily disposable.

If you haven’t started already, now is the time to start out onto the path of going green. Eco-friendly products are a good way to begin.

Thanks for reading about eco-friendly products that help the environment, a great start to going green!

Three Little Eco-Friendly Pigs – The Three Little Pig Fable Recycled Without Paper

Once upon a time there were three little pigs that went out into the world to build homes. One built with straw. One pig used wood for his home. The last little pig used bricks that have been eco-friendly for a very long time. We all know how that little pig fable turned out after the big bad wolf showed up. Here is that tale recycled to show the moral and benefits of using eco-friendly and recycled material.

So let’s begin this three pigs story with eco-friendly changes from the original version. To start with, you should notice the three little pigs book your mother read from was likely not printed with recycled paper or tree free paper so even the presentation wasn’t eco-friendly. Our story here is digital and no trees were cut down to present it to you now. There are no printed copies. There are not even copies on recycled paper or tree free paper either.

One not so long ago, there lived three little pigs. They thought of going in separate ways to build some homes but quickly realized that a small pig condo project would be an eco-friendly way to live and share outdoor space. However, these pigs decided each would take on a different aspect of the project and lend specific expertise.

The first little pig wanted to use straw. This pig knew that his long ago predecessor had tried using straw as a primary building material and that hadn’t worked out so well. He would’ve been better off with wattle and daub walls made of straw mixed with mud and used the sheaf’s of straw only to thatch the roof. Our present-day pig decides on a modern version of the wattle and daub concept. He ops to buy an eco-friendly oriented strand product made by heat pressing straw and glue into sheathing boards.

The second little pig’s thoughts are of using wood but instead of utilizing lumber from tree that takes decades to reach maturity, he opts for fast growing bamboo trees. The pigs will use bamboo as structural support for the pressed straw sheathing boards.

The third pig is still thinking about the eco-friendly and time-honored bricks that saved them from the wolf in the long-distant past. They can be used again. In fact this little pig finds the same bricks he bought before and recycles them. The bricks are old but still strong and the little pig’s condo will use them for the footings and a central chimney.

The little pigs work together on drawing up the blueprints and the even go above and beyond by using recycled paper that is actually recycled tree free paper.

The result is a cozy and ecologically responsibly dwelling that still protects them from the wolves. Pressed straw boards have a natural insulating quality that even keeps the wolf utilities company at bay. And the three little live happily ever after.

This has just been a rehash of the three pigs fable where the three young boars are not living up to their hog stereotype by hogging up the world’s precious resources. They leave it to the human pigs to do that.

Eco-Friendly Construction Trends

Following green building practices is one of the ways to go green. As a lot of emphasis is laid on sustainability and energy-efficiency, the construction firms want to spare no effort in effectively meeting the growing demands of customers. To get the LEED certification, constructors and builders need to follow certain standards that have been set forth, so that proper materials are used for building purposes. Thus, they are now building houses with “green” consciousness in mind. Some of the eco-friendly construction trends, being followed by these companies, are outlined below.

When building a bathroom, they make sure to put together a nice and energy-saving set up. Bathroom accessories are also chosen very wisely. Smart and low flow toilets are installed, which not only save water but also look very attractive. In fact, this would also provide great relief to the areas where scarcity of water is a serious issue during hotter months of the year. Builders are also taking good care of decreasing energy usage in other parts of the house. Installing solar panels on the roof is a good example of this.

Builders, today, have become much smarter when choosing the materials which go into the whole construction process. They are seeking building materials which are good for environment. Thus, they pick raw materials that can retain heat and reduce energy consumption. The best part is that all these materials release fewer harmful gases and detrimental waste in the environment. Structural insulated rim boards and insulated panels fit well here and this is the reason, why they are highly used in most of the homes, built recently.

The best constructors and builders combine all elements of latest style with environmental concerns, so as to come up with the best product. Since, today home buyers are more eco-conscious than a few years ago, cost-effectiveness is not the only thing that they look for. They want to use green options throughout the construction process, right from selecting the kitchen equipment to deciding about the material for flooring. Instead of opting for technologically sound raw materials, materials that are recyclable are being considered.

“Green building”, a term used for describing the construction of eco-friendly buildings, has therefore become extremely popular. Moreover, the fact that costs involved in green building practices are only two or three percent higher than the amount that goes into a conventional dwelling, makes it a much better option. Not to mention, the long-term benefits offered by a sustainable design, mainly because green buildings are likely to conserve more electricity and water. So, even if they are slightly pricier to build, they would eventually save you a lot of money by conserving energy and water in the long run. If you want to make the most of eco-friendly construction trends, then make sure the builder or constructor you choose employs only green building practices. Also, feel free to give your own suggestions regarding the materials or products to be used during the construction of your new house.

Eco-Friendly Trends That Are Actually Saving the World

On the contrary, the studies conducted in the past few years have provided indisputable evidence that eco-friendly trends have greatly contributed to reducing the depletion of finite resources, pollution levels and have actually managed to restore the ozone layer. No matter where you live in the world, following these trends is not just a fad – it is a responsible gesture, a transition towards a better life and, ultimately, a better planet. Are you ready to become a real-life superhero?

Eco-friendly travel

As much as they tried implementing eco-friendly changes to their infrastructure, hotels remain a major source of pollution because they generate a lot of waste. From their high commercial cleaning requirements to their impressive water and energy waste, hotels may provide a luxury experience, but they do little in terms of environmental protection. This is why the past decade has seen a steady growth in alternative accommodation methods and green travel. Tourists everywhere are trying and loving agritourism and are starting to prefer peer-to-peer accommodation over hotels. This not only offers a more personal, raw experience, but also reduces waste. Guests use strictly the resources they need and disposal is done in a more responsible way.

Sustainable home improvement

For many years, it was widely believed that corporations were the only ones that could make a noticeable difference in terms of protecting the planet, but that this myth was quickly busted. Every change matters, even at a local scale, and home improvement trends, if followed by many people all over the world, can have a huge collective impact. Some of the best examples include:

· Replacing conventional lights with energy efficient LED lights

· Investing in energy efficient grade A windows

· Installing insulation to reduce energy waste

· Planting trees around the house to create natural insulation and improve air quality

· Building houses using eco-friendly materials

· Switching to non-toxic cleaning products

· Using environmentally friendly gadgets and appliances

Fair-trade production

Reading the words “fair trade” on a label used to be quite a rarity a few decades ago, but now, this sign is the hallmark of a modern, responsible, environmentally aware company. Fair trade means that corporations are taking steps towards helping the planet and the people in developing countries. According to the World Fair Trade Organization, companies who pledge to this idea make every effort to develop transparency and accountability across their entire activity. They have to create equal opportunities and fair payment for their workers, provide good working conditions and practice respect for the environment. They should obtain supplies only from certified, legal sources and avoid waste as much as possible. Local suppliers are preferred over international ones and green materials should be used wherever possible, from production to packaging.

Renewable power sources

More and more families are welcoming renewable energy into their homes, especially under the form of solar panels, which have benefited from so many Government incentives that in some areas they’re becoming mainstream. In the US, the use of solar panels has grown to 40% and even China has taken measures to popularize solar panels. Apart from solar panels, other devices promise to revolutionize energy storage. For example, Tesla announced the Powerwall in 2015, a sort of battery that can store energy for later use.

Recycling initiatives

Recycling is one of the oldest eco-friendly trends on the list, if not the oldest, and young generations are starting to learn about its importance while in elementary school. Of course, when hearing that the simple act of throwing an empty tin can in the right garbage disposal saves enough energy to power a TV for three hours, it’s hard not to make part in the recycling trend. At present, this is actively pursued by both individuals and companies, although some countries are better at it than others. For example, only 17% of Canada’s waste was recycled, which led authorities to initiate public projects promoting scrap metal recycling in Toronto and other major cities. Germany, on the other hand, is winning the recycling race with a whopping 65% of their waste being re-used. South Korea is second on the list, followed by Slovenia and Australia.

Electric vehicles

Electric cars have gone from ugly, unpractical vehicles to glamorous, state of the art toys for tech-savvy people. Thanks to manufacturers such as Tesla, Toyota and BMW, electric hybrids now look amazing and they’re much easier to fuel. Besides, many countries have rebate programs for people who buy electric cars, which balances the relatively high purchasing costs. For the younger population, or people who don’t want to invest in electric cars just yet, electric scooters are an equally friendly idea.

Tips for Making Your Neighborhood More Eco-Friendly

It’s not just your house that you should be concerned enough to turning green. After exerting efforts to make your place as sustainable and as eco-friendly as possible, why don’t you do homework together with your neighbors and turn your neighborhood into one that is eco-friendly too. Here are some tips.

Sharing garden space. Why would I share my garden with my neighbors? There are various benefits you can get from this act. First, your unused garden can be a space that supports plant and flower life. It can be turned into one that yields fruits and vegetables. There are organizations that are willing to give seeds in return of the favor of using your garden for their activities.

Establishing neighborhood cooperatives. A lot of success stories have been told about the establishment of neighborhood cooperatives. These can range from types that support the collection of recyclable wastes from the neighborhood and turning them over to larger recycling facilities in exchange for cash. The recyclers can often drop by at your designated place in specific intervals to pick up what you have collected. This is an efficient way of teaching your neighbors the importance of solid waste reduction.

Neighborhood coops can also be the types that produce processed or bottled foods, baked goodies, and other small scale profitable ventures.

Encourage the holding of swap days. It takes a lot of energy to make new things. It will also involve raw materials which are mainly coming from nature to make some of the thing you usually like. Taking inspiration from the old barter system of our ancestors, why don’t you initiate the staging of swap days among your neighbors every weekend.

This is a great opportunity not only to score the stuff you like but to also make friends with your neighbors. It will strengthen cooperation among neighbors while allowing each and everyone in your community to partake in conservation efforts.

If you’re good at baking, why not bring in some of your goodies. Who knows you can exchange it for a vase that is very fit for your center table. There are a lot of possible trades that can happen. You can even make it a swap party anchored with a weekly theme so things for swaps will have some variety.

Making your neighborhood an eco-friendly one can also be a goal towards developing a place that is harmonious and where people are always willing to exert an extra dose of helpfulness.

For other real estate concerns, your local real estate agent is just a call away. He or she has expert advises that can be helpful in owning an eco-friendly house.

A Green Home Buyer’s Guide On Choosing An Eco-Friendly Home

Eco-friendly living is the way forward, and it is currently the best time for you to follow this trend. So go ahead and own a green abode that reflects your personality. Below, are a few points that you should consider on your pursuit to acquiring a green home.

Building A Home Vs. Buying One: How Do They Compare?

Every house is energy efficient and eco-friendly one way or the other, which usually saves a considerable amount of money. But buying a home does not give you the freedom to use your own ideas on the house from the ground up, as opposed to building a house according to your plan.

Renovation Can Do The Trick

If you have a non eco-friendly house and you want to convert it into an eco-friendly unit, you can spend money on modifying the house based on your ideas. For instance, you could replace an old light bulb with the latest LED ones, which are proven to consume less energy. Note that reworking on your house could cost a significant hole in your bank account, but in the long run, it is definitely worth it.

Other Important Priorities

Living green will likely be next to impossible, if you are on a budget and looking to stay close to popular hubs. The same could be said, if you want to have restaurants and other recreational facilities around your neighbourhood.

Be Ready To Relocate If Necessary

Is living in an eco-friendly house a top priority for you? If the answer is yes, then you need to consider relocating to a location where it is possible, I.e, a place where there’s plenty of sunlight and a place that suits your budget. But most times, this would mean that you would have to relocate to another region. You would have to settle in an entirely new location, where you will need start all over again, which is a bad idea if you are not looking forward to change.

Get Hold Of A Green Agent

Now that green living is becoming more and more popular, there is a rise in the number of real estate agents specialising in the scouting process of such houses. Get in touch with one of them to get a tour of affordable alternatives that are available.

Although eco-friendly living is a great step towards a self-sustaining life, it also requires you to invest a lot of time, effort, and money that is usually not a sound alternative for working-class families. You should go for this lifestyle, only if you are absolutely sure it is a serious decision, and not just a hobby.

Passive Houses, the Best Eco-friendly Homes

With ever-increasing population, coupled with the continued world appetite for more energy, there is a global demand for energy-efficient homes. In response, architects all over the world are designing more sustainable homes that use better insulation and high-efficiency appliances. These designers are also incorporating in their buildings, the use of new sources of power, such as solar panels and wind turbines, which are the icons of the green building. In such a quest for the best eco-friendly homes, passive houses were born.

Passive houses were started in a small town in Germany outside of Frankfurt. The objective of a passive house is to create a warm and comfortable house without energy demand. The goal is accomplished by recycling heating.

Surprisingly, many people in North America are not familiar with them even though they are gaining a lot of following in European countries. As it incredible as it may sound, they use 90% less energy than a traditional house We are talking about paying only 10% of the energy bill that a traditional home is paying.

Just as North America is lagging behind China and some European and Asian countries in internet broad band use, it has yet to wake up to the tremendous energy savings that these inventive homes are providing. The Passivhaus Standard as it is known is much firmer than the Energy Star that many in North America consider as adequate environmental barometer.

Even as President Barack Obama is already being considered as the environmental President by many for his bold initiatives to transform the U.S. as the undisputed leader in the new and growing green economy, many in Europe are way ahead of the curve on passive homes. While the Obama government is poised to overhauling 75% of federal buildings in an effort to save $2 billion through energy efficiency alone, and the funding of green schools, passive homes are little unknown here.

Best green homes:

Passive houses use only 10% of energy used by conventional homes of comparable size. They use “recycled heat” generated inside the house to heat the home itself. By incorporating ultra-thick insulation and re-engineered doors and windows, the house is sealed so that no heat gets out and no cold air sips in. They are extremely energy efficient houses that don’t need an extensive heating or cooling system like geothermal heating system or heating boiler.

The house is heated by the sun, but also from the heat from the residents and even appliances in conjunction with an air-heat exchange system to provide fresh air and recycle the heat of outgoing air. In the winter, only a back-up heating element of 1kW maximum is recommended. The heating requirements for the U.S. is less or equal to 15kW/sq m. To make sure that a house meets the energy performance standard for passive houses, it is tested with ‘blowerdoor’ and thermal infrared camera.It is important to note that the building principles used in building passive houses can be transferred to new buildings and retrofits.

There are now an estimated 15,000 passive houses worldwide, most of them being built recently and mostly in Europe. What is holding the U.S back from this all important leadership role in the green economy?

Build Your Own Affordable, Eco-Friendly House

What is the best way to build a low-cost home that doesn’t harm the planet? Most materials such as concrete and steel are highly processed and transported long distances, making them unaffordable to millions who are in need of housing. These high-tech materials also cause a great deal of harm to the environment. The answer is to utilize locally available, low-impact natural building materials such as earth, stone, straw and small diameter wood. This article explores several methods of using earth and sustainably harvested wood to cut housing costs to rock-bottom prices. And because the techniques are user-friendly, they are ideal for do-it-yourselfers.

Earthbag building: Like other earth building methods, earthbag building is simple to learn and extremely low cost. It has evolved from the military’s use of building durable, blast and bullet resistant structures with sandbags for 100 years. Modern-day builders are using the same basic process of filling and stacking bags to build beautiful houses, offices, shops, schools and orphanages. Earthbag buildings are resistant to mold, fire, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, insects and rodents.

Since the main building material is earth, which is often free or very low cost if delivered, structures can be built literally dirt-cheap. No expensive equipment is needed. Most people already have the basic tools around their home – shovels, buckets, garden hose and ladder. The building process is so simple that unskilled workers can learn each step of construction just by watching for a minute. Earthbag building is extremely adaptable and can be used to build almost any shape imaginable, including domes, vaults, roundhouses, or more typical square or rectangular designs.

Small diameter wood: U.S. forests are currently overcrowded and prone to forest fires. Millions of acres are destroyed each year to fires and disease. Gleaning small trees from the forest in a sustainable manner actually improves the health of the forest and reduces forest fires. With an inexpensive firewood permit (about $20), anyone can obtain wood for building their home. Most of this wood usually goes up the chimney to heat homes, but it is much more valuable when turned into useful products with a long life. All the wood for a house can be obtained this way at much lower cost than buying dimension lumber from a building supply center.

One option is peeling the bark off and using them in the round for pole frames. Wood in the round is much stronger than sawn lumber and requires less processing. With a portable mill or chainsaw attachment, do-it-yourselfers can also mill their own wood for beams, joists, studs, trusses, purlins, window and door frames, trim, cabinets and furniture. Where I live, builders are culling standing dead trees (sound wood) from the forest so as to avoid the time and effort of seasoning the wood. In addition, using sustainably harvested wood as described here is more aesthetically pleasing than conventional stud walls covered with sheetrock. The beauty of the wood is left exposed, honoring the tree from which it came.

Tamped earth floors: Traditional poured earth floors can last for many centuries, thereby saving a small fortune on wood floor framing and replacement of carpet and linoleum every 15 years. Earth floors look like leather once finished and are extremely beautiful. (They’re being used in trendy, custom homes.) However, poured earth floors take a long time to dry, making them impractical in all but hot, dry climates.

Tamped earth floors use less water and dry much faster. These floors can typically be walked on one or two days after installing. The building process involves screening road base or other appropriate soil through 3/8″ mesh. This mix is spread out in 2″ layers and tamped level. The process is repeated until the desired height is reached. Material for the top coat is screened again through 1/8″ mesh. The top coat mixture is hand-troweled and burnished, using just enough water to bond well. After the floor has thoroughly dried, seal with several coats of linseed oil thinned with turpentine.

Earthen plaster: The most beautiful wall finish I’ve ever seen is earth plaster. If you’ve never seen earth plaster before, you may think of dreary brown walls. Do an Internet search for “earth plaster” and you’ll see the amazing results. Because there are many kinds of clay, there’s no limit to the range of colors, textures and special effects. One popular method uses mica in the plaster to create sparkling, brilliant walls.

Earthen plaster is the probably the most user-friendly wall finish. In many cultures women, children and the elderly have done the plaster work for centuries using just hands and basic tools. The key to durable earthen plaster is wide roof overhangs of about 36 inches. Keep rain and snow off the walls and it will last a long time, requiring only minor touchup.

These are just a few ideas to get you started thinking about using natural building materials. Thanks to the Internet, now it’s very easy to learn about these and other low-cost building methods. Additional articles on the above topics are available for free on the author’s websites.