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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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