What is Natural Building?

Natural building is one of the oldest ways of building.  It was at one point the only way of building.  Derived from the observation of nature and wildlife, we learned how to shelter ourselves by using natural materials found on the land.  Some of the oldest buildings known to man are made from natural materials.  Only in the last 200 years has natural building taken a back seat to what we now know as conventional building.  Since the standardization of building materials in the early nineteenth century, natural building has often been viewed as substandard.

Conventional building and natural building are fundamentally different. Conventional construction primarily uses manufactured building materials.  Conversely, in natural building the majority of building materials are found on the land or nearby.   Natural building materials include stone, earth, clay, sand, straw, wood, and water. The purchasing of manufactured products is limited.  Doors, and light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, can be salvaged.  But windows, structural materials and hardware; such as nails, screws, bolts, straps, and concrete are purchased new and of the highest quality. 

The majority of the materials used in conventional building are standardized products that are not found on the property or nearby.  Today, there is a growing awareness of the impact our building methods have on the earth.  The green building industry is trying to offer a healthier alternative to conventional building.  Unfortunately, building with “green” materials can be cost prohibitive and often misses the point by shipping materials long distances. The green movement has introduced many wonderful products to the homeowner that in fact helps decrease the destruction of the earth’s natural resources, but still stops short compared to natural building. 

Natural building is easy in concept.  Use what is available on the land or nearby.  Design the home to harness the sun’s heat in the winter and provide protection from the sun in the summer.  Most importantly, build the home to be your temple, in balance with nature, connected to the earth, and to house your inner sprit.  The energy derived from building naturally with intention, cannot be put into words, it can only be experienced.  Building with natural materials in this way creates a shelter that is healing to the mind, the body, and the spirit. 

How does natural building compare to conventional building in terms of cost? Natural building is almost the same price per square feet in comparison to conventional building, especially if you are paying the Natural Living & Design Team to build it for you.   In Nevada County, CA the average price of new construction is approximately $200 dollars per square foot up to $300 sq ft.  If a natural building was constructed by a homeowner using the Natural Living & Design Team, the cost would be roughly $180 per square foot for the shell, and between $200 to $300 per square foot finished, depending on your finishes.    The ultimate benefit is in the health of the people living in the home, the low environmental impact of our construction methods, supporting local mills, and supporting builders that construct with a consciously to take care of our planet and the inhabitants of the homes they build. We are artists, building one of a kind works of art, that you get the privilege of calling your home.

The health of your family, the environment, and the people building it, are all economic benefits that can’t be measured. But the amount of savings you will get from heating and cooling, is something that can be measured. Straw bale and round pole building have a class A 2 hour fire rating. With the addition of fire sprinkler systems and our attention to fire safety design we can provide you with a fire resistant home.  

Natural building is a unique way of building that promotes using locally sourced building materials, designed to provide comfort during all seasons, and to connect the homeowners to nature and spirit. 
Natural Building is an important part of natural living.