There’s never been a better time to build a hobbit house
If you're anything like me, i.e. friends with dozens of nerds, your Twitter stream was aflame with talk of the Hobbit trailer last night. I'm psyched about it! It's the only Tolkien book I read, and will therefore probably be the only one of the movies I can stay awake through. Anyway, hobbits are cool now, so this is an excellent time to start building your sustainable hobbit home!
The one below, which we wrote about in October, looks like it could come straight off the movie set:
But in fact, it was put together for just $5,000 by a self-taught builder. The house is made of recycled and salvaged materials and features rainwater collection, a compost toilet, a green roof (obviously), and natural cooling and heating — all of which they probably had in the Shire too. The builder, Simon Dale, has plans and interior photos on his website.
If you don't have the skills and/or elf magic to build a wooden frame for your hobbit hole, though, you could also build one out of earthbags. We wrote about this alterative building material back in February — they're basically big bags of dirt, as you might guess from the name, and when you stack them together they make walls as strong as concrete but without concrete's massive emissions footprint.
In this case, the hobbity shape is a matter of necessity, not a design feature, because it's really hard to make sharp corners with big floppy bags of gravel. But like Dale's hobbit house, earthbag homes are cheap and sustainably built — plus they can withstand floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, and Smaug attacks.
Earthbags: Why hobbit-holes are part of green building’s future , Grist.