I was having a sleepless night last week. After giving up the struggle for sleep at 3am, I came downstairs and decided I would sign up and try StumbleUpon.com. I was quite skeptical because it involved installing something new on my explorer toolbar. Be it the excessive quietude or the lack of anything on the 300+ channels on the tube, I went for it.
I LOVED IT!
Got really swept away and found some truly interesting things. Of course, I stumbled upon our own sites.
Here's my favorite stumble this week:
THIS is my hobbit DREAM house. I have always absolutely adored the idea of living in an earthen house like this! It must be the pixie in me . . .
This low-impact woodland home was built by a family in Wales, UK.
"It was built by myself and my father in law with help from passers by and visiting friends. 4 months after starting we were moved in and cosy. I estimate 1000-1500 man hours and £3000." (You'll have to do the conversion. Can't deal with math right now.)
A few features include:
Lime plaster on walls is breathable and low energy to manufacture (compared to cement)
Reclaimed (scrap) wood for floors and fittings
Anything you could possibly want is in a rubbish pile somewhere (windows, burner, plumbing, wiring...)
Woodburner for heating - renewable and locally plentiful
Flue goes through big stone/plaster lump to retain and slowly release heat
Fridge is cooled by air coming underground through foundations
Skylight in roof lets in natural feeling light
Solar panels for lighting, music and computing
Water by gravity from nearby spring
Roof water collects in pond for garden etc.
I highly recommend you find your way to the website for this low-impact, earthen home to see actual plans, more pictures, and some wonderful descriptions of the process.