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.


  1. Nice Blog, As A native of Boerne and the Hill Country and A Real Estate professional I'm very intrested as to the preservation of the area!!! I do have A good friend that is A green Architect!!! If your ever need his info pls call!!
    Please stay in touch!!
    Craig R. Steketee

  2. I just found your blog and am following it with great interest. We have a few acres in the Hill Country, too, and look forward to retiring one day and living there permanently. In the meantime, I've planted 24 fruit and nut trees so far and continally look for ways to improve the soil. Thanks for the information!

    P.S. I grew up in NW Houston and can't help but wonder if we were neighbors! :)

  3. Hi Natalie, that is so awesome to hear.

    We have been working on a lot of really great projects lately that we are documenting and will post soon. I added you to my Google+ circles so that you will get an update when I post.

    I'm so excited to hear about your fruit and nut trees. Please tell me more. I'd love to know what varieties you planted and how they are doing.


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