We’ve been explaining how you can build a sustainable earthbag home for around $10/square foot. To build in this price range requires extra time and effort, but it is possible.
Unfortunately, if you look on the Internet, you’ll find people making outrageous claims about various building systems and how you can build for much less than $10/square foot. What they’re doing is playing games with housing costs. The bottom line is everything has a cost (including your time).
Unless they’re referring to a bare shell, an actual house has walls, windows, roof, basic electrical and plumbing, etc. If you want to create a realistic budget, you have to assign believable numbers to each item. Say, $200 for recycled windows, etc.
Let me tell you a story about Jim Bob, who’s developed a “breakthrough post and beam building system”. Here’s a summary of his “budget”.
creosote drenched telephone poles = free
cut and milled wood from owner’s property = free
windows, doors, roofing, and $20,000 solar system = free from curbsides
nails scrounged from burned down buildings = free
paint = $100
So Jim Bob has built this amazing house for only $100. It’s true, that’s what he actually spent. He’s not lying. But then he goes on the Internet and starts telling everyone about his $100 house, explaining how post and beam only costs 50 cents a square foot, or whatever. While he is telling the truth, it’s somewhat misleading if you don’t know the full facts.
You could do the same thing (play games with housing costs) with any building system and make outrageous claims. What’s the point? From my lifetime of building experience I’ve learned it’s nearly impossible to get below $10/square foot. Like I said, there’s a cost to everything.