Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Low impact, woodland home and community

A couple of weeks ago I produced perhaps my most popular piece of writing on - the minus sign blues to date. In it I provided a little bit of a cross section on eco-frugal homes and how one can feasibly live within reasonable comfort without laying waste to 3+ acres and constructing some elaborate McMansion with central heating and sky high energy demands.

Since the date I published it I've received nearly 3,500 hits specifically to that article from various sources that range from Google searches to indie architecture blogs. In fact I've gathered a number of readers specifically from this article. Several of whom have rather politely asked me to post a bit more frequently about the subject that drove them to my little niche in the eco-frugal blogosphere.

Oh yes. Even I use trendy terms sometimes, however much as I like to appear to go against the grain.

So a couple of days ago when I found these little gems on a low impact, woodland home in Wales, I was instantly interested. While this very economical style of home wasn't elaborated on very much in my original post, it is more or less an earth shelter style of home with a touch of strawbale construction thrown in for good measure. Even if it's gone off a bit into the deep end and become a bit greener than it's more conventional counterparts the spirit is more or less the same.

While most of my economically and environmentally friendly homes are just that, they all pale in comparison to this home's simplicity and staggering ability to keep it local, cheap and beautiful. A lot of others still maintain a fair bit of third party contractor work and good old fashioned cement, brick and bolts. Not this one.

It was constructed over a four month period by a man and several friends, none of whom had any training in architecture, construction or masonry. And better yet, they were able to do it with mostly all local materials. The material they did have to purchase only came with a price tag of a mere £3000. If my calculations are correct, that comes out to a little over six thousand U.S. dollars.

Which by the way, is less than half of the suggested cash down payment on most single family homes over here in the states.

While this is probably a little bit more rugged than I'd be comfortable living in at the moment with its compost toilet, ground cooled fridge and total dependence on solar power, it's a neat concept and it just goes to show you how really frugal you can be when it comes to your place of residence and still be supremely comfortable.

But what really piqued my interested was what I found while exploring their website. They are involved in a rather brilliant project in South West Wales that goes by the enigmatic title of "Lammas." Which is not a single eco-frugal home, but instead a whole community dedicated to this unique, low impact life style. Think of it like a condo development for the greenest frugal folk you can imagine. Situated on about 70 acres the association will include several homes, a community center and a campsite for those interested in being looky-loos for the not so rich and not famous.

Even a small mini-series has been produced that details the ins and outs of starting, maintaining and finishing such a novel project. It's really worth a second look if you're interested in this sort of thing. Even if you're not, maybe you will become so.



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