Sustainable home built for less than $50,000 -

Sustainable home built for less than $50,000


Would you want to live in an eco-house? A British prime-time TV show explores a family’s relocation to a pioneering eco-village in Wales.

Family favorite Grand Designs reported on the project led by couple Simon and Jasmine Dale, who dreamed of creating a more sustainable future for their family and began the project with less than $1000 in the bank. The thrifty couple brought the entire build-in for $33,000 by upcycling and using reclaimed materials.

The show follows expert Kevin McCloud as he documents architectural build processes. Launched in 1999, the show has been on air ever since on the UK’s Channel 4.

Lammas is a government-backed community based in rural Wales. Inhabitants living in the village are judged on their sustainability within the first five years of habitation and must prove they are self-sufficient in using their 5-acre plot for food, energy and shelter – or they will be asked to leave the community.

The couple, encouraged by the vast challenge ahead, shares with Kevin their dreams of living a new life focused on outdoor living and sustainability.

To build their dream home, the couple

  • Excavated 12 feet into the hillside
  • Built a retaining wall made from sandbags filled with the excavated earth  
  • Made floors from rammed earth, polished and hardened with linseed oil
  • Created the structure from round timber poles, using wood grown, felled, prepared and sawn by Simon
  • Built the roof with wooden poles and covered it with damp-proof membrane and sheep’s wool insulation, with grass on top for further insulation
  • Installed windows made from reclaimed glass
  • Sourced fixtures, fittings and furnishings sourced from eBay and tailgate sales
  • Recruited dozens of volunteers who provided labor in return for food

“This won’t be a cramped hobbit house, but a spacious, solid, three-bed, low-impact family home,” Kevin said about the sustainable home built. 

Despite budgetary constraints, the couple managed to build an open-plan house with a flushing toilet eventually, as Simon had to wait out a wet period in October 2012. In order to finance their home, they set up a small business, putting the house on hold to establish their vegetable-growing business which acted as the proof they needed to remain on the land. Jasmine also ran horticultural courses and Simon took on work as a low-impact housing consultant.

It took four years to create, but the family moved into their home in 2014. The Dales created a sustainable future for their family – not only do they have a rent-free home, they also have a business and can live from the food which their 5-acre plot grows.

You can learn more about the show over at Channel 4’s website.

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