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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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