Alternative design of Cob and Under ground living-part 4

Hi there,

This time we will be talking about cob houses and underground homes, both designs having there own pros and cons. These two styles are definitely worth considering when planning an alternative home, come and read with me and i will explain why.

Cob is a very old traditional method of building buy combining dirt, clay, and straw or other fibers. Cob is normally applied by hand in large gobs (or cobs) which are tossed from one person to another during the building process. The traditional way of mixing the clay/sand/straw is quite unique by using your bare feet; Reason being, it is quite labor intensive. One of the luxuries of living in this day and age is that we can utilize plant and machinery ie. an excavator or a backhoe, to take some of the manual pain out of the equation. Although it considerably diminishes the organic nature of the design and does boost the overall cost of the project.

“you want roughly between 2 parts clay, 1 part sand, a sprinkling of straw and a little water”.

Straw cob can have some insulation it would not make a very comfortable house in a climate of extreme temperatures. The wonderful thing about cob construction is that it can be freeform, and turned into as modest or as sculpturally desired. Cob was a common building material in England in the nineteenth century, it was cheap and plentiful and a lot of those buildings are still standing today.                 (pic-)

You’ll need to do a soil test on your own dirt to see if it’s suitable for cob building, but generally, most sites have some sort of usable soil.

Cob is also very durable if it is properly sheltered from the rain.  A good roof will protect the walls and has the potential to last for hundreds of years. When the house started to weather and begins to look bad, you can actually just re-apply a new layer of cob on to the outside to make it like new again.

Cob is very affordable in most cases, all the materials can be found on your own land or can be obtained in large quantities for quite cheap.

For example the $500 house…


Cob houses are very fire resistant because they are built out of mostly clay and sand, you don’t have much for a bushfire to catch a light.  Cob is a popular choice for areas that prone to wildfires or other extreme weather.

Creating a cob house can create a very healthy air quality for a home. Once you make your cob, it will need to dry out fully and that can take months to years.  The bulk of the moisture will dry out of the walls in the first year, but will not fully cure for 1-2 years after that.

Once you build the house and add a roof, you should allow it to breathe for many months before moving into it so you’re not exposed to the mold and mildew. Then I’d start the internal sealing process. When you do move in, a dehumidifier will be important to draw a large amount of moisture out of the air

There is something so cozy, appealing and comforting about the curves in a cob house.  You can have these organic forms that allow elements just flow into each other.  It is hard to put your finger on exactly what it is about cob houses, but they definitely have this magical quality, unlike no other home I have walked into.

check out the link below for some fantastic advice and tips on building a cob home.

Underground home

Underground construction is not a new concept, it has been around for thousands of years or so.  Mainly developed through mining and more currently in the transport, housing, and commercial industries. Making it easier to go underground with a more of a controlled environment as opposed to building on some of the harshest environments in the world.

Underground housing (earth-sheltered housing or earth ships) refers specifically to homes that have been built underground, sometimes either partially or completely buried underground. This style of home has grown increasingly popular since the ’80s because of there diverse and extremely low impact on the environment and supports the green building movement.

Thousands of people around the world live in underground homes. There is a misinformed belief that underground homes are dirty, damp, dark, claustrophobic and unstable places to live. This is generally due to a lack of information and knowledge about building regulations and specifications, as opposed to traditional building practice they have become used to.

Underground Dwelling Design

The design of an underground home is determined by the conditions and layout of your site, which makes all the homes unique. You must carefully consider the soil type, density and compaction levels, groundwater levels, load-bearing properties, and slope stability. Construction materials need to be waterproof, durable and strong enough to withstand underground pressures that’s why concrete is considered a perfect choice.  Not only can you turn it into any shape or size,  durable, strong and (quality concrete it also gets stronger with age as it never entirely goes off). Commonly used in the roof areas of the dwelling.

Concrete pic

  Underground building methods and styles

  1. Constructed Caves – made by tunneling into the earth. Its a popular method around the world, although an expensive and very dangerous procedure.
  2. Cut and Cover – these are made by assembling precast concrete pipes and containers into the required design of the living space, and then burying them in the ground, basically a culvert home.
  3. Earth Berm – home is built on a flat bit of land or a small hill and then buried, only leaving a wall or roof open for sunlight.
  4. Elevational – the home is built into the side of a hill with the front of the home left open.( similar to 3)
  5. Atrium – Courtyard homes, the rooms are built below the surface and around a sunken garden or courtyard that lets in natural light.
  6. PSP – stands for post, shoring, and polyethylene. House is built by excavating the ground, ramming in posts and placing shoring (boards) between the posts and the earth. Then placing polyethylene plastic sheets (for waterproofing) behind the shoring boards.

All underground homes need well-designed and have ventilation systems to control indoor air quality and humidity. Natural daylight design using light atriums, shafts and wells can be used to improve the quality of underground living.

Advantages of Building Underground

they can be built on steep surfaces and can maximise space in small areas by going below the ground. The materials excavated in construction can be used for the building process (saves digging).

Underground houses have less surface area, This means less building materials which means cheaper overall cost of the build. They are also wind, fire, and earthquake resistant, providing a safe environment in extreme weather conditions.

One of the greatest benefits of underground living is energy efficiency. The earth’s natural subsurface temperature remains surprisingly stable, so underground dwellings benefit from geothermal mass and heat exchange, stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. This saves on average 80% in energy costs. For a very educating read its a little pricey but totally worth the read its a small cost considering the information you get click on  Sustainable Built Environments

By also incorporating solar designs, this energy bill can be reduced to zero, by using hot water and heat to the home all year round. An additional benefit of the surrounding earth is noise insulation (no noisy neighbors lol). Underground homes are exceptionally quiet and peaceful places to live.

Click below to find out more…

GOWE Grid tie solar power system from 1500W to 10KW(3KW)

My thoughts…

A well-designed underground or cob home can be a stylish, comfortable, secure, bright, unique and inspiring place to live. More than that they can be an excellent example of the ideal eco-home, demonstrating energy efficiency, low-impact design, and harmony with its natural surroundings. With the increasing demand and ever diminishing real estate and not to mention the prices involved in traditional building methods. It seems only natural that people are now looking at building alternative sustainable life-styles. For me, it just seems an obvious way to go for a brighter future.

Thank you for reading

Shawn Fitzgerald





off-grid living achieved with affiliate marketing

Have you ever dreamed of living an off-grid and debt free lifestyle? Whether you’re interested in the privacy, the freedom, or the sheer flexibility of an untethered lifestyle, thanks to the rise of affiliate marketing it’s never been more possible to go off-grid. Even if you don’t have any resources to start with, you can do it without compromising a debt-free lifestyle. Today, we’ll talk about how affiliate marketing enables and supports off-grid living, to whatever extent you desire. It’s a debt-free lifestyle where your effort becomes your reward, instead of simply allowing you to pull one paycheck you’ll immediately turn over to utility companies, cable companies, landlords, and others.


Financing your lifestyle

Living an off-grid lifestyle can be very difficult and very expensive, which often keeps it in the realm of dreams for your average 9 to 5 worker. Of course, the expense can vary wildly depending on whether you want to be truly off-the-grid, with no dependence on utility companies, grocery stores, or other outside groups, or just want to be able to cut the cord and live as you like without worrying about your job or going into debt.

Regardless of which you’re interested in, the principle remains the same: You need money in your pocket and you need flexibility in your lifestyle. Affiliate marketing gives you an opportunity to achieve both, quicker and with less start-up capital than any alternative—a truly promising start for a tether-free, debt-free lifestyle. You’ll be able to move somewhere cheap and build yourself a self-sustainable high-efficiency home or take your life around the world, living in hotels and room rentals with nothing but your laptop for work.

Relative to other businesses you might start online or off, affiliate sales allows you to start earning money at a nearly unmatched speed. As soon as your content goes live, it can potentially start sending visitors through your links—then it’s just a matter of how quickly your affiliate program of choice pays out. This means you could potentially start earning from affiliate programs in under a week, depending on how quickly your content gets in front of the right eyes and how much effort you put in.


No more spending money just to get by

Just imagine how great it would feel be to be bill free, to never see another piece of mail charging you for living your life, to never drag yourself into work because the alternative is going hungry, or having your power cut off, or losing internet access. Every dollar you earn can be earned for yourself, paying to build your own property value or pay for a new exciting trip. It’s the lifestyle everyone dreams of, but puts off for retirement—or forever.

But affiliate programs can complement this off-grid debt free lifestyle with multiple income streams, and make your dream a reality now. Whether you keep grinding away at your career while using affiliate programs as additional income or go all in on multiple channels of affiliate marketing, you’ll soon find that your effort doesn’t fade away and leave you struggling for the next paycheck. It adds up, with new work connecting with old to create more and more streams of revenue.

You’ll also notice that over time, affiliate marketing can become a self-sustaining business. A new piece of content doesn’t just bring eyes and earnings for itself, but for all other content, you produce. You can put together entire websites that require only a tiny bit of attention to maintain earnings, which in turn allows you to put together other sites and earners. You can do all of this on your own, or outsource upkeep when you’re big enough to spare yourself even more time.


Promote and endorse the products you purchase and receive money commissions on sales

One of the best aspects of affiliate marketing is that you get to turn your hobbies and interests into a career. Think about all of the times you’ve given a friend or acquaintance a gushing review about a favorite product, just because you wanted them to try it. Affiliate marketing is that as a job. You promote products you like earnestly, and people who share your interests will learn to trust your recommendations and follow through on your suggestions.

It’s far easier to be a success in affiliate marketing with an earnest interest in what you’re promoting and endorsing, so don’t distract yourself with worries about what ‘makes the most’—what makes the most is what you can create the best content about. It’s a perfect fit for living an off-grid and debt-free lifestyle because it rewards staying true to what you enjoy.

As a side benefit, you’ll find it’s much easier to justify experimenting with products and trying new things related to your interests when it’s a critical component of your ‘job’—no more lengthy debates with yourself over whether to try something new, when trying something new gives you new insight and knowledge you can share as part of your affiliate marketing endeavors.


Mobility and flexibility

Living off-grid doesn’t have to mean buying the cheapest parcel of land in the middle of nowhere and fortifying it like a bunker unless that’s your dream. As an affiliate marketer, you can pull regular income without tethering yourself to a location or lifestyle, meaning you can go wherever you like whenever you like. You can do what you want and buy what you need, without putting yourself back into the rat race and participating in a system you’re no doubt tired of. A debt-free lifestyle off-grid is the best thing you’ll ever experience.

Feel under the weather for a few weeks? You can change your workload without worrying about bills. Have a little self-sufficient off-grid farm and need time for your harvest? No worries, your affiliate sites will keep earning while you spend some time in the sun.

Don’t feel like being self-sufficient this month? This year? Then dive into your marketing work and earn a bit more to cover the items and labor you need to keep your lifestyle comfortable. It’s all up to you. There’s no career where it’s easier to stay flexible so you don’t get bored while still living debt free lifestyle.

After all, affiliate marketing covers a huge range of day-to-day endeavors. You can move from blog posts about fine watches to YouTube videos about consumer electronics, or work on both at the same time—as long as you’re willing to put in the effort to support each channel and revenue stream, the sky is the limit.


Success is waiting

Countless affiliates live a debt-free lifestyle from their YouTube sites, their blogs, their Instagram accounts, their social media posts. There are channels and mediums out there for every audience, every product, every market imaginable. A single motivated person with an interesting way of reviewing products can become an international celebrity from their endeavors on a single YouTube channel, without ever doing more than honestly appraising their favorite products.

You can do it too. You just need to figure out what you care about, what interesting things you have to say about the things you care about, and who your audience should be. Be funny or serious, be focused in an industry or honest to a gimmick, stick to a single brand or diversify across different products, channels, and audiences.

You just need to work for it, and you’ll be able to live the off-grid debt free lifestyle you desire. Free from an office building, and bills in the mail, and debt collectors, and worries about how you’ll pay for the next holiday or medical bill or car repair.

Lifestyle 2019 off grid living part-1 Power Source

Hi there,

I  absolutely love the concept of an environmentally friendly off-grid living. The whole concept of being off-grid and self-sufficient sounds so glamorous and appealing. Living a simple and free lifestyle, not at the mercy of constant nagging bills. It also can sound to be near impossible and it must cost an absolute fortune to go off grid,  So i am  here to help provide as quality infomation as i can to help make this dream a reality for anybody who is curious. I don’t think i will be able to jam all the information into one blog so this will be “Part-1 in a blog mini-series”. with a minimum 2 post per week. Enjoy..

So let’s jump straight into it.

To live completely off the grid and reap all the benefits, you will need a reliable and steady source of energy. Alternative energy sources such as Solar, Wind Turbines, Hydroelectricity, and many others have become more efficient and more readily available than ever before. Thanks to the internet, blogs, youtube channels, google and so many valuable platforms we can now get our hands on some of the most amazing innovative products. They Can assist with helping us choose the best alternative ideas, for our continuously and efficiently energy source for our application.

“I have personaly put some appropriate videos and links under each description that are  relevant topics of infomation. Click on the links for a browse around and to help you get a better understanding of each topic. Enjoy….” Shawn.

Power source – eco freindly

Solar Power- SUN

although not impossible to self-install but please be strongly advised if you have no idea please leave it for the professionals, as it can become very expensive for parts and labor to Fix or replace damage work. There is no need to waste unnecessary money and time for sake of pride, ,I do although, Elfeland® EL-09 200W 18V A-Class Semi Flexible Solar Panel Off Grid With 1.5m Cable For Home RV Boat encourage you to have a full understanding of how everything works though and ask your installer any questions you have AFTER the install so he can show you exactly what he has done. (Personal Tip:  Most tradies hate being asked questions as they work as this chews up time and they lose concentration, remember that you are paying for this service with your hard earned cash and you want the best value for money and a quality install. So do your self the favor and offer them a coffee or a drink and be friendly and save the questions till the end and you will find they will be more than accommodating to answer any questions, concerns or technical understandings you may have).

Hydroelectricity- WATER

is also a great way to generate electricity, which is unfortunately probably one of the less popular methods of off-grid electricity. Micro-hydro electricity uses water current from a stream or a water source to run the turn turbines and produce electricity. It is a brilliant  cost-effective way of generating electricity, but in many cases you have to live near a steam or have some kind of running water source, you may consider installing a hydroelectricity producing device and generate electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week which can you lots of money in the long term and a great back up strategy  if there is a failure to another source.

Off-grid Living: Go Green With Diy Micro Hydro Power Systemgy

“I believe this one in the picture is retailed at around  $550 although you would no run your house off it its perfect for a back up solution just click the link below and check out the huge range of products avaliable”….

Wind Turbine

for your best results contact your local weather authorities to find out whether you live in an area were its good for producing wind-generated energy. If you find out how much your average wind area receives, you will be able to figure out how much power you can expect to generate from your turbine system. You may be able to generate 400 watts with a four-foot turbine and run a few appliances( which is pretty impressive for a small divice). Or 900-watt turbine that will be at least seven foot. If you have a big area and a generous budget, you could consider putting up a bigger turbine and generate more electricity, Although as i mentioned earlier make sure you do your research so you can set yourself up the right kind of system that will be most beneficial for your application. Try to apply some of these methods to generate electricity. Even if you don’t plan to live completely off the grid, you can still plan to partially power your hour house or business with some of these off the grid methods and save money and energy.

And i have found this Fantastic book on case studies around the world,  Wind Energy for Power Generation: Meeting the Challenge of Practical Implementation worth checking out.

Power Source-Alternative Options

When designing standalone systems, we aim to keep generator run-time and associated costs to a minimum. Generators are costly to purchase, expensive to run, noisy, polluting and are historically the weak link in any stand-alone power system. If a generator is needed, however, then we recommend the correct unit for your needs, ensuring compatibility and minimizing the risk of other complications.

Generators Diesel

Diesel generators are recommended for off-grid systems that has a lean solar and battery storage capacity. you can get a lithium-ion standalone system with little autonomy.  These systems are more of a reliant on the generator to power higher loads for longer periods of time.  Therefore making the reliability of a diesel generator essential. These generators have a larger capacity have a bigger kva than petrol generators, and are usually more expensive but they are defiantly worth the extra money.

GENPOWER 8.4kVA Max 6kVA Rated Diesel Generator Single Phase Commercial RCD


Dunlite DGUKD8.5ES-2 (8.5KVA) Diesel Powered Generator

Generator Petrol

Petrol generators are used in off-grid systems where the generator isn’t needed as much, and there isn’t a high load-support and charging requirement when it is used. These generators are cheaper than diesel generators, and are usually smaller in capacity. “If you do get one buy a Honda from personal experience they might be more up front but are hands down quieter, cheaper better parts and stronger and more compact for the size of the kva output”.

honda generatorsHonda EU10i (1.0KVA) Inverter Generator - Free Delivery & Honda Accessory Pack

Power Souce – LPG

With LPG, you don’t have to sacrifice your standard of living to reside in a remote location. LPG can provide all the comforts of home with a minimal investment. One of the side benefits of being off-grid is that there are no power outages(just an empty bottle and always at the wrong The system is self-contained and can be supplied almost anywhere worldwide. If you have the room there are large storage tanks available so you don’t run out. CAUTION = MUST be installed up by a qualified or approved installer and must pass a leak test (For the DIY’r use approved gas tread tape on connections and joins and usually pour warm soapy water on joints and connections to see if there are there any leaks before use. You will smell it anyway before you see it anyway so when testing the line just gently turn the gas on and slowly build up the pressure, Easier as a 2 person job) .
“This video is not to deter the use of LPG but, more to high light the dangers if done incorrectly.”


The LPG is delivered by a tanker truck that refills your LPG tank on-site.  You can take your cylinders into an LPG supplier and get your bottle refilled or exchange your cylinders, and replacing them with full ones.(swap and go) It will all come down to how big your tanks are and where they are located. The end result is easy to cook with, comfortable heating, and water heating no matter where you are located and live. but does have downfalls especially in colder climates -10c, it won’t draw out of a 9kg bottle the gas becomes to liquefied you need the 15kg or bigger to draw from.

Ignite Triple Burner Country Cooker Cast Iron LPG Camping Gas Stove 1.5m Hose

Image result for lpg bottles

That brings us to the end of chapter 1.The next blog in the series we are going to go into the design phase of the process and deciding on the many styles of homes to choose from. I hope you have enjoyed reading this please feel free to leave comments below and until next time take care.

Shawn Fitzgerald

Whatcha Building?