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I am looking to purchase some acreage in the mountains of southeastern Oklahoma and willeventually put a home there. I have always thought of a cabin but have lately seen beautiful houses made with more unconventional materials. Anyone know some good resources so that I can research this?
 

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A straw bale house w/passive solar is perfect for Okalahoma. Straw Bale structures are relitively easy to make with a small crew, and also use renewable materials. They are warm in winter and cool in summer. I have been in a few in New Mexico and highly reccommend them. Add some passive solar (trombe wall or green house) and Wind power for electric, and you have a perfect deal. You must do a very careful investigation into the zoning of the land and your ability to build unusual buildings. You need to also be highly aware and careful with sewage (septic tanks) and the availability of drinkable water.<br><br>
Here is a great overview of solar things:<br><br><a href="http://www.builditsolar.com/" target="_blank">http://www.builditsolar.com/</a><br><br><br><br>
here is a straw bale house web ring:<br><br><a href="http://f.webring.com/rs?ring=strawbale&allsitesto" target="_blank">http://f.webring.com/rs?ring=strawbale&allsitesto</a>
 

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I suggest getting to know the laws and regs of the county you'll be buying in. You might want to do some location shopping to make sure you wind up with a location that will allow the kind of thing you have in mind. I'd like to do this too, but I think that day is pretty far off for me.
 

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Oh, these are awesome suggestions. I had heard of straw bale houses but forgot about them! Hopefully upkeep will be easy (as of right now I am single and do a lot of stuff myself). The actual construction is well in the future so I have plenty of time to research. Thanks!
 

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In some parts of the world, rammed earth houses are also feasible, and they're very cheap to build. many of htem are quite beautiful, too. I think they're yet another technique that's not suitable for humid environments, though. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":("> Ditto strawbales. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":("><br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.rammedearthworks.com/" target="_blank">http://www.rammedearthworks.com/</a>
 

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They have straw bale houses in Florida-- thats pretty humid. They have 100 year old straw bale houses in Nebraska still standing (Nebraska is where straw bale houses in the US got their start -- here is a link to the association there <a href="http://www.sustainableenterprises.com/fin/Services/links.htm)" target="_blank">http://www.sustainableenterprises.co...ces/links.htm)</a>. A properly sealed house can be built anywhere. The main problem is really "building codes" and also utility lines, and if you are not on a main road-- you need to build the road yourself, and repair it if it is washed out. Also mowing a fire break around the house, keeping the sucker-trees cut, burning off undergroth without burning down the house or the neighbors...Most country-dwellers I know have at least a tractor, a huge snow plow on a truck. Fire is a huge hazzard out there. You are very vehicle dependent. And a lot of these alternative homes are so far out that you need to be able to work from home. Then you are stuck living in "Nowhere Oklahoma" where nothing happens, driving 100 miles to the grocery store or to the doctors. It is very romantic to think of self-sufficiency in the country, but the reality is very different, especially where the need for money is concerned.
 

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Hmm, I thought when I read about them they made it fairly clear that excessive humidity can be a problem, but it's been a while, I could be thinking of a different building method I read about.
 

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I recommend the book "Solviva" by Anna Edey, which discusses designs for passive solar homes which incorporate growing food in the home. Her designs use 80% less energy to heat than the average home.<br><br><br><br>
She has a somewhat outdated website that discusses some of her ideas:<br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.solviva.com/" target="_blank">http://www.solviva.com/</a><br><br><br><br>
Also, I recommend "Permaculture: a designers' manual" by Bill Mollison and "Gaia's Garden" by Toby Hemenway. Personally I wouldn't plan a new home without the Bill Mollison book, and wish I had had it when we planned our home.
 
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