by James Self
South facing passive solar house. The Hub building at Lammas, Wales.
There is a global trend that is only getting bigger and bigger.
People are becoming more contemplative about how they choose to live their lives on this planet.
They are considering their consumption habits, lifestyles and values.
For a lot of people, you see the convergence of these choices culminating in the building of their homes, should they choose to do so.
The oft-asked question is: how do I build my own home?
Building Your Own Home
Sustainable self-build techniques are a serious, rational and innovative response to some of the environmental and economic challenges that face mankind in the 21st century.
Having evolved from traditional and proven building methods, sustainable building methods are a viable option for all to self-build their home.
Utilising natural, local and reclaimed materials is the basic concept for sustainable building.
It is the key step to reducing environmental impact and the required funds for construction.
Yet with labour and material costs almost identical (50/50 split) in 'conventional' building, the second ingredient for sustainable self-building advantage and success, is by incorporating skilled & unskilled volunteers into the construction process.
Easy to Learn
Inviting skilled and unskilled volunteers to help with a build is not a new concept.
It has been a standard in the history and development of civilisation throughout the world.
It is one that until recently, for various reasons, seemed to have been forgotten.
Due to the nature of traditional, natural and alternative building methods and techniques, many of the skills required to self-build a sustainable home can be learned and perfected by virtually anyone in a matter of hours, as opposed to years.
A New Movement
There is a movement of likeminded people from all corners of the globe, from all walks of life, from formal and informal educational backgrounds, eager to share their knowledge, experience and labour with the right sustainable build project.
It is these incredible humans that will advance the sustainable self-build movement and thus, assist many in utilising their own home.
The organisation received funding from the European Union under the category of Youth Initiative to create, launch and promote the site.
The site originally focused on UK youth, but already due to popular demand from a global audience, the site is now hosting building projects internationally for any age group!
ThePOOSH.org is a recently founded not-for-profit organisation that provides its global membership base with the opportunity to exchange knowledge, experience and labour associated with traditional, natural and alternative building methods.
ThePOOSH.org are not re-inventing the wheel, only lubricating the axel sufficiently so it can once again roll effortlessly
The free-to-use site lists and connects two different user types: those who are planning to undertake a sustainable self-build project and those willing to volunteer at such a project.
ThePOOSH.org is a single web-platform to host this global movement.
Jane and Andy Wells
Jane and Andy Wells are one of nine smallholdings that make up Lammas eco village in West Wales.
They live completely off grid and grow the majority of their own food.
They have recently created a build project profile on thePOOSH.org and are seeking a variety of volunteers to assist them build their timber frame round house with load bearing straw bale extension.
With years of experience between them, an arsenal of books and neighbours including Simon Dale, Jane and Andy's build is likely to be an incredible POOSHin experience.
A Great Experience
Build projects on thePOOSH.org, although all sustainable structures, vary considerably in style, size and function.
Ben ward is creating his first cob oven (and first sustainable structure!) in the garden at his family home in Dursely, which is equally distanced between Bristol and Gloucester.
He is looking urgently for POOSHers to help him with his project. Can you be that person to assist him with his transition to sustainable construction?
Sustainable self-builds are a fabulous way for individuals and groups across all cultures to share time, energy and experiences by exchanging skills, knowledge and creativity.
The sustainable self-build process empowers participants to build their own homes, communities and futures whilst reconnecting with nature.
The main principal of sustainable self-build is that the design process, project management, construction and maintenance can be controlled by individuals or groups who do not necessarily hold any specialist building or construction skills.
This, combined with the option to use modern tools and technologies, has made sustainable building an immediately accessible option for everyone.
Achieving environmental sustainability is equal parts thought and action.
While little steps that contribute to the overall situation are good (ie: not using plastic bags, riding bike instead of driving), now is the time for bigger steps.
Buildings account for around 50% of all carbon dioxide emissions in the United Kingdom, according to the UK Green Building Council website.
We can do better; learning to build in a sustainable manner for yourself is a major step in the direction of a sustainable future.
A Different Path
By making the choice to learn these skills and build a sustainable house to call home, you are not only providing shelter -- you are showcasing an alternative narrative.
That narrative proclaims that there are other ways to shelter yourself than getting a mortgage and going into debt.
We can do this sustainably. We can do this together. Be constructive, build the movement!
For more information, to view local and global build projects, and to create your free profile, visit www.thePOOSH.org
& our Facebook Page