Green Alternative Framing:
Is it Right For You?

It may be when you think of green alternative framing, that you envision not SIPs or ICF , but the "back to nature" approach. This is the "alternative to the alternatives",
if you will.

There are numerous methods that fit into this category - indeed, methods that do not easily fit anywhere else.

Green alternative framing includes:
* Strawbale
* Rammed Earth
* Living Roof
(think "Little House on the Prairie")
* Pumice-Crete
* Adobe
* Wet Clay and other techniques
* Cob (shown below)

cobbing, cob house

Factors to Consider

There are numerous factors to consider before making a decision on one of these unusual (by many of today's standards) methods of framing a home.

First, find out if it is feasible for you to build this in your area. If you already own land , check with the local building authorities and find out what is permissible.

Secondly, realize that "natural" doesn't necessarily mean healthy. Unless great care is taken to ensure a dry, non-toxic interior, you may get as sick or sicker in one of these homes as in any cookie-cutter builder's special.

For example, most of the straw in developed countries is heavily treated with pesticides. Organic straw is available, but will it be cost prohibitive?

Finally, understand that some "green" framing methods will not endure under certain extreme climate conditions. Be sure to familiarize yourself with what is possible in your area. Once the decision is made to build, quality control becomes critical.

Mold, insects , and rodents are arguably "natural", but you don't want them anywhere near your new home!

For More In-Depth Information

If alternative framing is appealing to you, I highly recommend that you read the book entitled "Building Green". It is a "Complete How-to Guide to Alternative Building Methods" by Clarke Snell and Tim Callahan.

You might look at your local library first, to see if it is available. It is also sold at

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The time is NOW. The future is HERE. The color is GREEN.


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