What Are Ecological Sustainable Houses?

What Are Ecological Sustainable Houses?

Ecologically sustainable houses are those houses that take advantage of the natural resources of the sun and the earth and that also respect the environment both in the construction process and once finished and installed.

A great example of ecological houses are the so-called Wikkelhouses, eco-friendly modular design houses built using large rolls of corrugated cardboard, glued in layers with an ecological glue and wrapped 24 times according to the mold of the house. Wikkelhouse houses are three times more ecological than buildings made with traditional construction materials.

Once the cardboard is wrapped, it is finished off with a waterproof sheet and Arauca wood panels (fast-growing Chilean wood) 14 cm thick to effectively protect the internal structure and keep the inhabitants safe from variable weather conditions.

Wikkelhouse units are very versatile as they have a wide variety of design uses. These ecologically sustainable houses fit perfectly into urban, rural, and natural spaces and are acquired as vacation homes, picnics, beach houses, guest rooms, offices, fairs, and additional spaces outside the homes, among others.

This model of houses also allows the incredible possibility of being installed in a single day and once the house is built it can be easily transported by truck to its final destination.

These houses do not have foundations, which allows total flexibility, and being built with cardboard they are friendly to the environment. Each of its materials has been proven to be completely recyclable and has an expected life cycle of at least 100 years. Wikkelhouses being quite flexible can be placed in areas inside buildings such as attraction spaces, on terraces, and on rooftops.

Did You Know That You Can Customize Your Ecological Sustainable House?

The end-user can customize the design of the house according to their needs and their budget. Each ecological house is divided into segments and can have an entrance, bathroom, kitchen, living room, bedroom, and the decoration that the user wishes. All units have natural light thanks to their glass facade. Prices depend on the number of segments you use in your final design and range from around $30,000 to $80,000.

How To Build An Ecological And Self-sufficient House

Building a self-sufficient house is possible and, for this, you will need ecological and recyclable materials, use renewable energies, and have an eco-friendly lifestyle, among other aspects. An ecological house must be built with sustainable materials. If, in addition, we want it to be self-sufficient, that is, to be ecological in a more complete sense, it has to generate its energy, take advantage of rainwater and reuse both rainwater and waste, which, of course, must also be minimal.

Thanks to the generation of energy and materials and an intelligent use that includes eco-friendly habits, we try to minimize energy and material costs, while achieving economic savings. In other words, the objective is to gain independence and thus take care of our pockets and also the planet. We show how to build an ecological and self-sufficient house.

Keys To Build An Ecological And Self-sufficient House

To begin with, the main aspects must be taken into account before embarking on building a home of this type. For this reason, we give you the following tips and keys to making an ecological and self-sufficient house:

Next, we explain better all these aspects to take into account.

How Much Can It Cost To Build An Ecological House

Since there is no self-sufficient house model, we must base ourselves on a series of key principles that will help us design our project to achieve the long-awaited self-sufficiency or energy independence, and even food.

Except for laudable exceptions that today are anecdotal, normally building an ecological and self-sufficient home requires a larger budget, so costs will skyrocket, although its subsequent amortization will make this first blow softer. However, the money invested will depend on the space, the quality of the materials and systems, and other details, so it can be quite variable from one project to another.

On the other hand, if we want to reduce energy consumption and also generate it, we will have to decide how we are going to do it, resorting to one or another technology depending on the characteristics of the area, depending on whether it is more or less rainy, windy or sunny.

In turn, the house must be insulated using sustainable materials, in addition to being able to reinforce this point with the installation of green roofs and vertical gardens on the facades and also inside the house. Another aspect of vital importance for the use of the natural resources that the area offers us, and this requires the investigation of the possibilities of the environment since there could be wells or natural springs.

How To Orient An Ecological House

In the same sense as mentioned above, the orientation of the house and the layout of the rooms will also be decided based on the weather (more or less wind, rain, temperatures, etc.) and the path of the sun throughout the year. Specifically, to know what the solar angle is, we must obtain the solar chart, a diagram of the path of the sun to know which part of the façade is going to receive more or less sun.

Once the location of the house and its orientation have been decided, it would be interesting to make an intelligent distribution of windows, doors, large windows, porches, terraces, and other elements and materials depending on the need for greater or lesser insulation in different areas of the house.

If with these strategies we manage to minimize the use of heating and cooling in the home, we will have advanced on the path of self-sufficiency.

Use Renewable Energy To Build An Ecological House

The fact improving our goal will require the use of clean energies to cover the need for air conditioning in the house. The options are numerous: photovoltaic solar energy, geothermal, wind, biomass boilers, biofuel generator, thermal solar energy… Any of them will have different applications, so we can obtain hot water and heating at the same time or, for example, refrigerate the environment and use that clean energy as a source that provides electricity.

Biogas or solar cooking can also be an excellent solution since it uses renewable sources that can come from our garden or natural biomass from companies that sell it, in which case the claimed self-sufficiency will suffer.

The Importance Of Good Habits

When it comes to using it, or living in it, logically we will have to lead a life by the ecological characteristics of the home, for example following the three Rs of sustainability: reduce, recycle and reuse to maximize the efficiency of technology, the utility of the waste, for example transforming it into fertilizer or purifying wastewater.

It will also make a big difference in this regard to reduce consumerism, cultivate an organic garden, or, of course, make the most of renewable energy. And not only through photovoltaic cells or wind turbines, but for example by taking advantage of daylight hours, the wind to dry clothes, or biomass for cooking or heating.

Therefore, when building an ecological and self-sufficient house, it is essential to take into account our lifestyle, preferences, and real possibilities so that the house can finally achieve its goal of energy independence and self-sufficiency daily.


Wood is an ecological and natural material if it comes from sustainably managed plantations. It can be used for the structure, for the finishing touches, for the walls, and, mixed with other materials, also as wall insulation. Although the most ecological material is any that is reused, such as plastic bottles filled with sand or glass bottles.

It should also be borne in mind that materials that last a lifetime are more ecological because they do not become waste. In any case, they should be recyclable. Cement, stone, and brick can last for generations. Finally, materials that do not release toxins must be used, which endangers people’s health.

Energy Efficiency

Energy-efficient appliances should be purchased, and heating, cooling, and water heaters should get their energy from renewable sources. Ecological design must take into account, on the one hand, good insulation that conserves heat in winter, and, on the other, windows and other elements that allow proper ventilation throughout the house.

The orientation of the house is also very important, depending on whether you want the sun to enter in winter. Trees can be planted to provide shade in summer and cool the rooms.

Water Management

You have to take advantage of rainwater, collecting it to water the gardens and plants. Greywater recycling systems can be installed in sinks and showers for use in gardens. Toilets should have a low flush capability. There are even composting toilets, which do not use water.

Purifying water, whether to make it suitable for human consumption, for irrigation, to recycle it, or reuse it once it has been used, admits different solutions depending on its level of pollution and uses. We will find good allies in the barrels that collect rainwater or even in large tanks that allow large amounts of water to be accumulated, ideal for storing it during the rainy seasons.

However, it should be analyzed to ensure its health, and it may still be necessary to give it a purifying treatment. Similarly, wastewater will require biological treatment plants that do not require electricity. The ideal in these cases is that the treated water is used for reuse for irrigation, washing the car, or, for example, for the maintenance of ponds.

ABOUT ecoGnome

Leading a sustainable lifestyle means wholeheartedly embracing respect for the environment and making a positive impact for people and the planet.

Click to read on