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How To Build Your Eco-Friendly Home For Cheap

How To Build Your Eco-Friendly Home For Cheap

As we learn more about the impact of typical human life on the environment, many of us have become a little more conscious about our actions. Some people begin practicing the three Rs—reduce, reuse, recycle—while some people started making their own clothes, or installing green technology into their homes. And some people choose to build themselves a brand new eco-friendly house from scratch.

The costs associated with such a move are typically assumed to be enormous, and with good reason. Buying a green-friendly house is an absurdly expensive process. Eco-friendly technology and building tends to be more pricey than material that’s cheaper to make but harder on the environment, which leaves many with the impression that green living is for rich bougies. However, there are ways to build cheap eco-friendly homes for much cheaper than the cost of buying a house in today’s economy.

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Many people have figured out how to build an eco-friendly home for cheap, oftentimes less than $20,000. The process of building a home requires a lot of time and effort, but the end-result is a sustainable, environmentally friendly home that you can be proud of.

Different kinds of eco-friendly homes

When setting out to build an eco-friendly home, the first thing you need to do is determine what you want your home to look like. How much space do you want? Will you be able to use stairs or should it be one floor? Look around for inspiration from other green homes, like tiny homes. Consider your local environment and what will be most practical. If you’re in Florida, your home will need much more emphasis on airflow and staying cool than a home in Maryland, where custom home building will require heavy insulation to protect from the cold winter months.

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Some people build eco-friendly homes by using a starting point, like an Airstream traveling van or a boat. For less than $6,000, you can purchase and convert an Airstream van into a tiny eco-friendly home. Or you can build a cabin yourself for less than $2,000 and with enough room to allow six overnight guests, as LaMar Alexander did. His 14×14 cabin has an off-grid power system, a water harvesting system, and a propane-heated shower. He’s even published instructions for others to copy his hand-made cabin.

Staying green on a budget

For most people interested in green living, eco-friendly often implicitly suggests living off of the power grid. That means thinking about an electricity source, as well as a water supply, and how you will control temperatures in your home. Save costs on these by constructing your own systems, and using recyclable or salvaged materials when possible.

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Save costs on cooling your home by strategically building it under shade-providing trees, which will block heat from pounding on your home all day long. Use windows to control airflow and light into the home, but keep in mind that where there are big windows, there will be big temperature fluctuations. Use smart, green architecture to control temperatures and airflow in your home, and save on future heating or cooling costs with whatever power system you eventually adopt.

Look for materials that will last to construct your home. Although many “green homes” are built with metals, they’re usually salvaged and not as environmentally friendly. Durable woods can provide a beautiful and cost-effective outer surface, and are cheaper than metals, as well as more energy-efficient.

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Use natural water sources when available. Learning how to construct a well can save you water bill costs in the long run if you’re in the right place to build one (check local and state regulations, as well as what piping may be around you). Or use rain and greywater recycling systems, which can cost less than $500 to build and install.

Building an eco-friendly home is a serious task, and keeping it under budget is an additional challenge that can throw a wrench in. But it’s very possible to create an eco-friendly home on a budget, and with some research, effort, and hard work, you can surely construct an environmentally friendly home to be proud of.

Featured photo credit: Geneva via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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