Escapees From McMansion Ethos Build Tiny Cob Home
As the US middle class teeters on the brink after the housing collapse, some people are looking at an alternative. Instead of moving into a giant McMansion with 30 years of debt attached, some Americans are open to seeing just how little you can get by with, and seeing what can be build for practically nothing.
Here’s what one couple was able to do. Hap and Lin abandoned their condo and built a home in rural Iowa entirely without debt. They took a cob building workshop in Oregon.
Cob is an ancient building technology, used in Great Britain for centuries. Like many pre-industrial age technologies, it is a very green way to build. Just mix earth and straw. There’s none of the greenhouse gas emissions that come from firing bricks or heating Gypsum to make dry wall sheet rock.
And its cheap. The labor was free. Friends and family helped out, and even a toddler helped with stamping out the muddy earth with straw to create the cob.
They do splurge on a tiny amount of electricity from what looks like a toy photovoltaic system off a panel that is not even the size of one average 200 watt panel. The whole contraction cost just $400 – mostly for everything but the 45 watt panel.
It just powers a laptop, a modem and one light.
Instead of an inverter to convert the solar to AC, they have adapted their computer, modem and light to run on DC. So, even with the panel, its not really a modern life.