Eco-Dwelling Offers Green Housing Option

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An Athens area man has built a house made of all-natural material. It doesn't have running water or sufficient electricity – but people can actually live there.

Sand-rich clay, mixed with straw and – on the outside –  even some horse manure, the walls of this house are made of so-called cob, a mixture that is all natural.
Weston Lombard built this house and even lived in it for a year – making certain sacrifices. "It was definitely a lifestyle house, I don't have the internet down here, and I have to bucket water from a spring, I have to go to the bathroom in a bucket. But besides being slightly less clean than everyone else, I was still able to fit in and function in normal society and just come home and live in this little cabin," said Lombard.
Now, he and his fiancee live in a cabin on the property because their jobs demand things like access to the internet. But his brother still lives in the cob house – even during the winter. A small fireplace keeps the house warm. "So, how it works is, as the fire burns, the air is traveling through there and is slowly being absorbed by the bench. After several hours of burning a fire, the whole bench becomes warm," said Lombard.
Once the bench is warm, it heats the whole house. Everything in the house is made of natural or recycled materials. "Even this fabric is from a thrift store. I didn't buy anything new except for the solar system, I got a good deal on a scratch panel," explained Lombard.
It took a year and a half to build the house.  Lombard estimates that it cost $3,500. He says he wants to show people that it's easy to find everything a person needs in the area.
Lombard, along with two friends, Lawrence Greene and Molly Jo Stanley, founded an organization that tries to show people ways to use nature and preserve the environment. "I'm hoping to organize workshops, bring in experts on natural building and have sort of a demonstration site here on the farm. We're building another structure outside, it's a timber frame pavilion. That will be another teaching tool, each of the little sites will be a demonstration site, a teaching tool," he said.
A first workshop is set for March. It will not only focus on alternative living, but also gardening and renewable energy.