Rocket Mass Heaters are a great alternative to standard fireplaces that instantly let the heat created right out through the chimney. Rocket mass heaters use the heat's natural flow to run it through a path spreading the heat out before releasing what's left of it, providing far more heat and less if any polluting side effects from inefficiently burned wood or coal products.
Another way to heat your home is solar heating. With solar heating, there are many options and different builds, but all of them fall into one of two categories of either being what is known as passive or active. In active systems, there are moving parts while passive systems don't have any moving parts at all, utilizing the air flow created by the temperature difference zones to cause a circulation of air.
Homes can be made in a variety of different ways, but the style of building we are looking at most resembles a basement in many aspects and is called a "Hobbit Home".
These beautiful homes are typically made from mostly natural materials (the typical exception is the glass) and intermix with nature unlike modern buildings and building materials. They are cheap to build and are great insulators. A well built hobbit home can hold a yearly temperature of between 50-65 degrees fahrenheit without heating or cooling and even higher if you focus the sun's rays well throughout the day.
3D Printed Houses
3D Printing utilizes a whole new way of building. Instead of placing materials and cutting away the extras, it uses a process called additive manufacturing where it only puts on exactly what's needed. In fact, much of the process is automated only needing a few people to set up the machine and keep it fed with materials. The materials itself are often different, with the cements having to have certain properties in order to stack well yet not fall, yet flow through the extruder with ease. In some types of 3d building printers, they use premade bricks and even the bricks have to be custom designed in order to interlock with each other since they don't use a mortar or cement mix to get them to stay in place.
So far, most of the 3d printer designs use the extruder method for building and they each use their own varient design of cement. In fact, there is one that uses natural materials like mud and straw, making it a nearly pollutionless building process.
3d Printers still have a little ways to go before they can fully build a structure without any human interaction, but they are on their way.
Solar Water Heaters
Concretes, Cements, and Bricks are all similar to each other. In fact, cement is actually an ingredient in concrete being a paste with water. You could make a brick out of concrete (or a block as well).
Some cements are made with shells in them, while others are made with ash. Some concretes have small rocks in them while others have clay in them. There are many ways to make cements, concretes, and bricks. Depending on the ingredients used, a structure can fall apart in only a few years or get stronger over time and last for thousands of years like many Roman structures have.
There are many new innovations in the world today, and construction has its share. One of which is Transparent Aluminum. That's right, just as predicted by an old Star Trek movie, Transparent Aluminum is now a real thing!
Cross Laminated Timber
Their shields are made in a similar way as the wooden beams that hold the skyscraper up. That's right, I said wooden beams. The vikings used a technique of crossing the flow of fibers perpendicular to each other and a similar version of this is done in some modern wooden beams and boards known as Cross Laminating. Just as the vikings had a stronger shield because of this, the modern beams are also stronger. The technique isn't exactly the same, and the cross laminated timber has a few modern techniques applied that weren't done in the old viking days either.
Cross Laminated Timber is fully renewable, cheaper, quicker, quieter, and cleaner than other methods of skyscraper building methods. Not to mention far more fire resistant than you might think and doesn't buckle under the heat like metal beams will.
What do Vikings and Skyscrapers have in common?
Passive Solar Heater
There are a few energy efficient ways to heat your home in the winter. One of the ways is called Geothermal heating which uses the heat from the earth to heat your home. This method is rather limited by itself though, so it's typically used with other traditional forms of heating such as electric or even a fireplace.
Another form of solar heating that is known by few is Solar Water Heating. A method of using the sun to heat your water similar to how you would use a solar panel to collect energy from the sun, only you're collecting energy for heat, not electricity.
Thermosyphon Water Heater
There are already some designs in place that will allow you to use a system called a Thermosyphon to push the water through once it's heated. In fact, if you are connected to city water, or have the starting water source higher than the Thermosyphon water heating system is, your whole system can be passive.
There are many ways to make cement, not just the form that we tend to see at the stores which is typically Portland Cement. In fact, the Romans made cement that was far different in mix than the modern form used today and they paved roads with it that are still in use today.
Wood Ash Cement
Adobe Brick Making
Concretes, Cements, and Bricks
The world is looking for more and more environmentally friendly or "green" ways of doing things these days, and concrete is no exception. An old method of building that has been done thousands of years ago is being resurrected, it's called "Cob". Cob goes by a few different names (with some of the names having a slightly different recipe) including Rammed Earth, Adobe (Brick), Clay Mortar/Cement, and Daub. Building with Cob goes by a few different names including Cob House, Earth Ship, and Hobbit Home.
Walls of Earth