Monday, December 12, 2011

Building a Sustainable Cabin

Building a Sustainable Cabin

We have always wanted to build a cabin on the thirty acres we own in the Texas Hill Country. In the beginning, we thought we would be perfectly happy if we could build a house like our house in NW Houston suburbs. Over time, our ideas of what we wanted and needed changed dramatically.

We realized that the weather in the Texas Hill Country is different from Houston. Both are hot, but as you go further West, the drier it gets. On our property, you can expect low humidity and scorching sun by mid morning. By late afternoon, the summer breezes come in from the South. That means we experience dry air and clear skies into the night, bring cooling breezes our way. However, the breezes wear off before dawn, and the mornings are often damp.

So while central air would be overkill for a small cabin, massive insulation is needed and some climate control, for the humidity and over 100 degree summers, is required.

We also realized that a cabin doesn't need all the space that a conventional home needs. It also doesn't need all the conveniences. It won't hurt anyone to wash dishes by hand or hang wet clothes on a line (and it would certainly use less electricity).

After 6 years of planning and dreaming, we are finally building that cabin. While we would love to build our cabin the greenest thing ever built, we've had to make decisions that were appropriate to the scale, budget, and timeline for this project.