Sustainable living doesn’t have to mean giving up aesthetics or even luxury. Here are some examples of inventively imaginative DIY dwellings from around the world, built with unusual and effective reclaimed materials.
Cargo Container Houses
Container houses are constructed from reclaimed shipping containers used on freight ships, modified to make homes and even office structures. Many container homes consist of several shipping containers stacked on top of each other or arranged in rows. While many container houses are built by professionals, there are plans online for enterprising DIY enthusiasts to build their own.
Photo courtesy of: Glamour Schatz
Texas Beer Can House
Built in Houston, Texas, the famous “beer can house” was constructed in the 1960s by retired upholsterer John Milkovisch, and has since become something of a folk art icon. Constructed out of reclaimed materials like marbles, rocks, concrete, and metal pieces, the beer can house was slowly constructed over a period of eighteen years. Now maintained by a non-profit organization, the beer can house is a tribute to inventiveness and imagination.
Inspired by the iconic “hobbit hole” of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, a “real” hobbit house is a popular low-tech dwelling built into a hillside to provide natural heating and shelter. Hobbit houses are often made with reclaimed wood and powered by solar panels. A famous “hobbit house” built by Simon Dale in Wales used lime plaster instead of cement and featured a compost toilet and an air-cooled fridge.
The first “earthship” was built in Brighton, Sussex in the UK. Built into the side of a hill, the house features solar power, water reclamation from the roof, and reclaimed rubber tires as a building material. The Brighton Earthship was designed with renewable energy and sustainability in mind — it uses no fossil fuels in its daily operation, and uses only natural energy for heating and electricity.
Photo courtesy of: Dominic’s Pics
Cardboard isn’t just for children’s playhouses anymore. Created by architects Stutchbury and Pape, this $35,000 do-it-yourself dwelling is made of 100% recycled materials and can be constructed in only a few hours, and features a waterproof roof and a composting toilet. Far from being just a cardboard box, this house was designed for portability and durability.
Built by British artist Richart Sowa, Spiral Island is a floating artificial island built off the coast of Mexico. Spiral Island is actually the second floating island built by Sowa, as the first was destroyed by a hurricane in 2005. Powered by solar energy and featuring a wave-powered dishwasher, the island contains over 100,000 recycled plastic bottles and a solar-powered waterfall and river. Though only 20 meters in diameter, Sowa is dedicated to expanding and improving it.
747 Wing House
An ambitious project by architect David Hertz, the 747 Wing House is an amazing domicile created entirely from the chopped-up remains of a retired 747 passenger jet. The house was assembled in Malibu, with a roof made of the plane’s wings. Though some of the solar-powered house was constructed from prefabricated parts, the bulk of the home was built from the re-used airplane, which cost $50,000 to purchase.
Photo courtesy of: Wikipedia
These inspirational houses were compiled by home insurance company, PolicyExpert.co.uk. If you’re looking for home coverage, you can find buildings and contents insurance from Policy Expert.