While few would claim that moats are the new fences, homeowners and contractors alike are finding that old technology can fit pretty well into the modern world.
There's a Yurt on My Property!
A traditional yurt is a circular, tent-like structure that has been around since the 1200s. Today, we're seeing modern, more permanent structures that take their design from the ancient blueprints popping up in many areas of the country. Why would someone opt to build a yurt instead of a conventional structure? If you can imagine a dwelling that can be put up in weeks (or even days), has been proven effective in climates from desert to tundra, is extremely efficient to heat or cool, and according to Yurtinfo.org can often be constructed for between $5,000 and $20,000, it's easy to see why some folks have decided to build a yurt as a guest house, vacation home, or even a permanent residence!
The Resurgence of the Log Home
Another incredibly old form of home building that has made a big comeback in modern America is the log home. According to Buildingsystems.com, there are "currently more than 500,000 modern log homes in the United States and Canada, and more than 90% are used as primary residences." Though many people choose log homes for their looks, the fact that they are often less expensive to build, can be constructed faster, and are naturally energy efficient doesn't hurt, either. Although you can hire someone to build your log home for you, there are several organizations who can teach you to construct one yourself (many of which have real-life examples of log houses built for a fraction of the cost of a conventionally constructed house).
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Re-Inventing the Windmill
Building isn't the only area where old technology is resurfacing. Most of us are aware that wind turbines (the new windmills) are being used to supplement power plants in many areas of the country, but did you know that residential wind turbines are now available? According to the American Wind Energy Association, "A small turbine can cost anywhere from $6,000 to $22,000 installed...The wind system will usually recoup its investment through utility savings within 6 to 15 years." It should also be noted that handy homeowners can opt to purchase their turbine direct from the manufacturer and put it up themselves to reduce costs even more. Though wind technology is still a bit bulky for urban installation, in many rural areas, wind turbines are already providing power for homes on an individual basis!
A New Take on Wood Burning
Though many homes are fitted with a fireplace much like those found in homes a century ago, some homeowners are taking wood heating to the next level with outdoor wood furnaces and boilers. According to Greenwoodusa.com, "A typical outdoor boiler installation often costs between $4,000 and $15,000 including installation." When properly installed, these units can provide all the heat you need in your home, including hot water. In fact, some outdoor boilers can provide heat for multiple homes. Modern outdoor wood furnaces and boilers are conveniently controlled by thermostat, and for those who have them, they can eliminate dependence on utility companies to make a comfortable house in the winter months. Though there has been some heated discussion about emission levels, manufacturers of outdoor wood furnaces and boilers are working with the EPA to create cleaner, more efficient units that will burn better while producing less waste. If they are successful, who knows what the future may hold for this oldest of heating methods....