Can You Build Your Own Eco-friendly Home?

A collective of architects, designers, environmental campaigners and open source advocates is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to create an open source DIY toolkit that would give people the know-how to design and build an eco-friendly home themselves.

Author Anna Rees, 07.18.16

A collective of architects, designers, environmental campaigners and open source advocates is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to create an open source DIY toolkit that would give people the know-how to design and build an eco-friendly home themselves.

Though it does not have the same impact on the environment as the transport industry, the housing sector accounted for 12 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions in the US in 2014. While strides have been made to proliferate green housing (such as renewable energy becoming more affordable), there lingers a perception that adopting greener systems or building an eco-friendly home remains financially out of reach for a lot of people.

This inspired Marcin Jakubowski (founder of Open Source Ecology) and Catarina Mota (founder of the Open Building Institute) to develop an open source toolkit that would supply people with all the know-how needed to build their own eco-friendly home from scratch. Sound far-fetched? They’re currently running a Kickstarter campaign and here’s what they’re proposing.

If the project gets off the ground, the toolkit will provide blueprints for a set of modules that then need to be built as well as designs from various designers around the world and training materials. The modules fit together like building blocks that can be adapted to fit indvidual needs. The house would run on renewable energy and would be equipped with a host of green features such as greywater separation and recycling, rainwater harvesting, a biogas digester and more.

According to tests carried out by the team, the toolkit can be used to build a basic 700sq ft home yourself (or with a team of non-professional builders) with an attached aquaponics greenhouse in five days at a cost of under 25,000 USD. The funds raised via the Kickstarter will be put into developing the project further and tinkering with the plans and instructions.

There are some legitimate concerns about the feasibility of this project – Treehugger delves a little deeper into some of the niggling aspects of this proposal. A key question is whether or not such a project like this might also assist in areas experiencing a housing crisis or whether this is only something for the privileged few (the 25k pricetag doesn’t include the cost of land, for example). Regardless, the underlying goal to simplify and make the process of living sustainably affordable is certainly interesting and this campaign is definitely one to keep an eye on.

Head to their Kickstarter page to learn more or make a contribution.

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