Biodegradable House: Will Vanishing Homes Ever Catch On?

Biodegradable items break down by biological means into raw materials before blending into the environment. These include solids biodegrading into the soil and liquids biodegrading into water. Materials from nature eventually return to a natural form.

However, materials created in laboratories are often made from composites of elements that do not exist in nature. Since these do not have corresponding microorganisms that break them down, they either do not decompose at all, or decompose into dangerous, toxic substances. A biodegradable house uses non-toxic materials mainly derived from plants. When the house or any of its parts are no longer needed, the materials safely decompose in a landfill.

Enduring Materials

Biodegradable houses can be built either of material engineered to last a long time, or material that needs to be frequently changed. Biocomposite materials are mainly composed of plant fibers. Roofing panels and shingles, made from bamboo- and wheat-based biocomposites, are as tough as asphalt shingles and only decompose in the damp darkness of a landfill. Hemp concrete can be used for walls and foundation. When discarded, it decomposes into a rich fertilizer. These materials can be used in the construction of a sturdy, long-lasting house.

Disposable materials

On the other hand, an alternative is to create a house built of simple wood and sod. Instead of a permanent structure, it is an organic entity in a constant state of renewal. Without maintenance, such a house would decompose within 10 years, but it offers the advantage of continual growth and change. A modular structure allows the addition of rooms as needs and circumstances dictate. Wooden frames support walls of shingle and panel board. When the walls need to be replaced, the old walls can be used for firewood. Sod roofs are simple to maintain and renew.


Plenty of options are available for biodegradable furniture. Wood, bamboo, cane and other natural materials are perfect for tables, chairs, cabinets, shelves and bed frames. Hemp rugs decompose naturally and are as attractive as artificial carpets. While compostable, natural cotton and latex mattresses are every bit as comfortable as chemical-heavy alternatives.

Advantages of Biodegradable Houses

You can construct a biodegradable house for a fraction of the cost of chemical-heavy traditional house, especially if you build it yourself. Because the material is biodegradable, the house is not a fixed entity, but is constantly changing. If you raise your children in a house that is constantly being renovated and improved, you can teach them the value of creativity and the inevitability of change.

You have the satisfaction of knowing that your dwelling is an integral part of the landscape; then, when it is no longer needed, it will not create a toxic hazard but decompose into natural elements. It returns to the earth when its usefulness has passed.

In many parts of the world, booming economies have caused property values to rise beyond the means of middle-class incomes. An alternative to perpetual mortgages and urban sprawl is to create a biodegradable home on land in a rural area. Create a vibrant dwelling that is easily adaptable to your creative urges and the ever-changing needs of growing children.

Ryan Delson is a home improvement blogger who is much more interested in adding long-lasting features to his home. He recently secured new stamped finishes from Houston Concrete and could not be more pleased with the results.