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Natural Building Talk With Bob Billings. Recently natural builder and designer, Bob Billings came to the board meeting for (TANWP) The Action Not Words Co-housing Project and gave a wonderful talk on natural building. He talked about building straw bale homes and other natural built homes.
He will be the builder and designer for the 45 natural built homes that will be a part of our proposed 4 acre community, being built in Atlanta or the outskirts. Checkout my first post on the start of this co-housing project here
Other features of our eco-village are:
- Shared community house with library, recording studio, and yoga studio
- Free classes for the community including: healthy cooking classes, wellness, meditation, permaculture
- 600 sf natural homes made from: straw bale, earth bags, and storage containers
- 1 acre garden/farm
- Compost units
- Gutter system to collect rainwater for our farm
- Solar panels for all homes
Bob Billings is the Natural Building Whisperer…He Rocks!
It was a pleasure and honor to listen to the natural building talk with Bob Billings. He has prodigious knowledge and wisdom about natural building and how to treat Mother Earth properly. He really respects the Land and lives in sync with nature. Bob also knows about permaculture and fermented foods and will be able to offer guidance to us on these two important aspects of our intentional community project. Some members of TANWP plan on visiting Bob’s wonderful natural built home and garden located in Cleveland, GA this month. I can’t wait to see his abode!
Natural Building Video
Chloe Buzzotta, a TANWP adviser and adviser for the Direct Action Valhalla Sustainability Housing Project in Montreal, Canada; was at the meeting and recorded a small snippet of Bob’s two hour talk. The 5 min. video is below:
Bob Billings Natural Building Tips
Bob brought the design plans of a completed 4,000 sf straw bale home he recently built for a client in GA. He explained many aspects of natural building and straw bale construction while I took copious notes. It’s my intention to make all the information we gather for this intentional community project open source for everyone interested in developing a community. I’m here to help everyone live more sustainable and happy lives! So keep reading the blog for updates on our progress.
For all the prospective homesteaders and co-housing hopefuls reading, here are some key points from his talk:
Build a wraparound porch (wraps around the entire structure), to preserve straw bale homes.
If building your own home, an owner builder permit in GA saves 20% of your costs. It costs approx. $700-$800.
Moisture control outside of the home is a must for any type of building. Water has to be directed away from structures, preferably redirected to a farm or garden.
Straw bale homes (with stucco) have a 2 hr. fire rating. They are more fire proof than most traditional built houses.
Don’t build on land where dirt has to be moved. Be able to have easy control of water.
Homes should be built facing the sun for energy saving purposes and to make use of solar panels.
Straw bale homes maintain 70 degrees year round with use of skylights (windows).
Organize natural building workshops to get free labor. Lots of people want to learn how to build natural homes!
Getting county approval to build in GA: Homes built in Europe use International Building Codes. GA hasn’t accepted all the codes which makes it difficult to get approval for natural built homes that are not listed in GA building codes, esp. if you are in the city of Atlanta. Typically a licensed architect or engineer signing off on a building plan overrides GA Code. You MUST have well done plans to get approved.
Up next: we will be meeting with the Land Bank Authority of Fulton County to see what land is available for donation to our project.