Top architect answers your questions

Dave at Green shop Stroud
“Follow your heart”

Here’s some answers to the questions you the readers asked architect Dave Pearson, author of some seminal books on the design of eco homes.

Alec Bantos from Maine: Right now I am looking into buying a 3,049 sq ft lot in the middle of an urban downtown community in Maine. I have been researching the possibility of building a small off-grid 2 bedroom home on it and I feel no particular need to use up all of that space. My question is on how I can keep the costs down in building such a structure. What is the least I might be able to spend on this project
while making sure that it isnt a disposable or poorly built structure. Does using non-traditional building materials like shipping containers or papercrete help?
Also, I am not just excited about building my own home, but on setting an example for low-cost housing projects in general. Do you know of any architects or builders that are interested in how to build cheap, well built off-grid homes that might be able to assist in this process?

Hi Alec
To keep costs down I suggest you build small, keep it simple and consider how much you can build yourself.
Self build can save around a third of normal costs. You could look at kit homes as a possibility. They can either be delivered in parts for you to assemble or the company can assemble the shell and you finish the interior, and add the off-grid systems. But the designs may not suit your taste and they may not use eco-friendly materials.
But it will give you an idea of costs.

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