6 innovative alternatives to living in a standard house

Six alternative places to live in that will also help save the planet

Photo: Getty Images

You’ve had enough of flat sharing and decided it’s time to settle down. You’ve probably considered getting a townhouse, or something similar. But with a range of innovative homes around, why not try something different?

Getting on the housing ladder can be tough. First, you’ve got to save up for a deposit, and then hope you find your dream starter home in an increasingly crowded housing market. Instead of following the crowd, we’ve examined some different types of accommodation available – and they’re all environmentally friendly, too.

Here are six of the best alternatives to a standard house:

  • An earth house
  • A wooden house
  • A shipping container
  • A cube house
  • A double decker bus
  • A canal boat
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An earth house

Ever since audiences met Bilbo Baggins in the Shire in JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, there’s been a growing demand for earth houses. These abodes have a lot of environmental benefits and require far less energy than a normal home. With walls completely surrounded by earth, their unique architecture ensures they remain naturally insulated – keeping the house cooled down in the summer and warmed up in the winter. Oh, and it goes without saying they look off the scale-level cool as well.

© Youtube // Living in the Future

A wooden house

If rustic’s more your thing, then a cosy wooden house would perhaps suit you best. Since wood is considered a sustainable material (in most cases), not only will you have a house that looks the part, but you’ll be doing the environment a favour too. When it comes to construction, wood’s incredibly versatile, lending itself to log cabins, timber-framed homes and, if you feel like channelling your inner-child, even tree houses.

A shipping container

From cars to clothes, to fuel to fabrics, nearly everything is transported by sea via shipping containers. But these great hulking steel boxes aren’t just suitable for hauling goods across international waters – they also make for stylish modern homes too, as proven by Container City, which opened in the heart of London’s Docklands back in 2002. A container itself is relatively cheap at around £1,300, though you can expect the overall price to skyrocket once you’ve furnished it to make it habitable…

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A cube house

If space is an issue, the Cube Project might be for you. Designed by Dr Mike Page at the University of Hertfordshire, this low-carbon solution is a micro-house that you can build yourself in just four hours. The QB2 has a 3m x 4m floor plan and a 3m internal height and features a fully functional kitchen, a bathroom, with room for a double bed, a dining table and a two-seater sofa, as well as ample storage space.

© Youtube // Mike Page

A double decker bus

You don’t need to be a hippy to be happy in a bus. Mind you, they tend to prefer VW vans bedecked in flowers. One London family converted an old Routemaster bus into a three-bedroom house with a fully-fitted kitchen and dining space for up to nine people. 

© Youtube // Justin Bozeman

A canal boat

Canal boats seem like they’ve been around forever, but they’re undergoing something of a resurgence in cities like London and Amsterdam as people opt against shelling out hundreds of thousands for a tiny flat in favour of a prime inner-city residence for less than £10,000. Be warned, though, you’ll have to get used to walking in straight lines.

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11 2016 The Red Bulletin

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