Giovanna Trabasso  /   06/11/2021

Alternative Builds And Different Ways To Build A Home

Humans have always found creative ways to shelter in safety. We have made caves, huts, tents, foliage, and so many other materials into our homes throughout the centuries. While we all now have a less inventive, more standard picture of a house when thinking of homes, we haven’t stopped inventing! We might all picture a similar build when thinking of an ideal home, but we’re still finding ways to make our homes more affordable and sustainable. With the rise of sustainability, alternative builds have been all the rage.

Climate change and global warming worries have led humans to reinvent what they call home. Those more worried about the reactions caused by their actions and their impacts on our ecosystem are constantly learning new ways to respect the nature surrounding us. Recycling has now become a standard in most households and cities and states make separating garbage contents mandatory. In São Paulo, Brazil, water shortages have lead people to become more accustomed to shorter showers and keeping a bucket inside their shower to accumulate water to be reused when cleaning their homes. Many cities like New York City now charge their customers for bags at stores and supermarkets. Sustainability is now ingrained in our daily lives.

But what about our homes? 

tiny home

Sure, we all now recycle, many even compost. Home gardening is at an all-time high with everyone being forced to stay in their homes for over a year now. What if we reinvent not how we live in our homes, but our homes themselves? That is exactly what alternative builds are. Many have taken to build their home from the ground up in ways never before imaginable in order to save money on the build and on the long run. Using alternative builds when building your home encourages creative ways of everyday living. Many homes built through alternative builds are off-grid and self-sustaining.

Something as common as a tiny home is considered an alternative build. Tiny homes are becoming more and more popular as people choose to live off-grid and away from cities. While a tiny home can be built like any other mansion, its size makes the cost of construction and maintenance cheaper. Off-grid tiny homes find sustainable ways to provide their own water and electricity. They’re often homes to homesteaders and farmers who sustain themselves nutritionally and monetarily off their own backyard. Tiny homes are also ideal for smaller families with few to no kids and retired couples moving from their bigger homes. Why try to find furniture to fill empty spaces when you can have all the space you need for what you already have and deem necessary?

Alternative builds are not as wild as one might think

They’re also not as uncommon. Ever heard of a shipping container home? Well, many have and many are now living in them! Shipping containers have proven to be the ideal alternative build to a home. They are sturdy and easy to use when expanding. Pick where you want your doors and windows and you’re on your way to building your home in a matter of months.

Like most alternative builds, shipping container homes are very attractive for off-grid living enthusiasts. It is their inherent nature to protect whatever’s inside from the elements. People have even built homes out of pallets. Pallets are a great example of alternative builds. While the material is not the most common when building entire homes, the DIY community has been using pallets to build furniture for years. It is premeasured, stable, and easy to combine in order to make your new couch, bed, table, chair, whatever you imagine!


We can’t talk about alternative builds without mentioning busses and vans. “Schoolies” have become more and more popular as the nomad lifestyle of van living attracts a wider audience. When choosing the perfect van to transform into a home, school buses have been the choice of many. Their structure gives its inhabitants more space to create more dynamic spaces to aid their every need. Schoolies usually include a kitchen, bathroom (sometimes even with tubs!), a lounge and eating area, and a living room. More luxurious schoolies and vans will even go the extra mile to redo the roof in order to have an outside balcony over their heads.

There is no limit to alternative builds

For as long as we are around, we will be finding new ways to protect ourselves. Ultimately, that’s what our homes are, the places we feel the safest in. Silo homes, earth berms like in The Hobbit, domes, yurts, treehouses, bamboo builds. Whatever material you choose for your own home will always be uniquely yours. For more articles on sustainable living and everyday alternatives, be sure to check out our Sustainability and Innovations blogs!

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