Within Natural Building, there are a world of possibilities I can see for a new business model. I just haven’t mustered the courage or the financials to capitalize on them yet. Let me show you what I mean.
- Wraps (cob or earthbag/thermal mass wrapping around a building) could help stabilize temperatures for very poorly insulated trailers or homes. There would be initial cost, but it could off-set high energy due to a/c bills. Also, it would make the buildings heavier, thus safer in tornados/hurricanes which normally destroy them to smithereens.
- Replacing trailer parks in general by arming the communities with knowledge of natural building “how-to.” Charge for workshops, but if a land owner could allow coded (a struggle, but hey.) earthen structures to go up, then he could either sell them to the person, or hold homes that a person is much more likely to take care of. Remember though, these homes would still have to stay around 10-30k for trailer park sized income communities. But with earthen techniques, this could mean 800-2000 sq ft houses. Which is..umm…AWESOME.
Building this way could also grow an organic community rather than just throw a bunch of one demographic into one spot with neighbor-phobia. Imagine if everyone helped each other to build their house. They’d get to know their neighbor, and they could help them build their house or next addition.
With encouragement, a shared garden could go up. With knowledge, people could put in permaculture. If you could invest just $1000 into one ‘would-be’ trailer park, and turn it into a sustainable, exciting community that could generate some stable profit as an investor/land-owner, wouldn’t that be worth it?
- Ovens, room additions, gondalas, benches, rocket stoves, sculptures, fences, etc…. The list could go on for small ways to make money steadily for earthen/natural building.
- Things could even extend to permaculture education techniques; hugelkultur, solar orientation, swales, blah blah blah, or solar panel, bio fuels, wood gassification, wind energy, basically energy solutions. Knowledge is power, information is gold, right?
So the question is where to start and then how to get there. All of these ideas are great 1st market hedges against an economy that may fall off the cliff here shortly. Of course there are obstacles to consider with each of these. I hear of others wanting to get into this field from the earthbag builders group I’m in on facebook, and some on the facebook page I admin (Earthbag Building Blog Fan Page). So I know it’s not just me. I know about others that are in these fields, but I’m not personal friends with. I did have fun w/Scott Howard of Earthen Hand Natural Building (earthenhand.com). I was able to go to have a beer w/him and talk a bit. I think he may have just felt bad I flew from Charlotte to take his class, haha. But he was a really cool guy, and I expect if I keep chasing these ideas, then we could work together on some project at some point, b/c he mentioned he would.
But I tell you what, the more I get into this stuff, the more I love it. But implementaion and experience are the real teachers, and I am excited about the possibilities.
If anyone else is looking to do this kind of stuff, or is starting to, or already is, I love feedback! Later!