DIY Energy Efficient Outdoor Cabins with Pallets

Usually, pallets are used to store, stack, protect, and transport materials. They are used mainly to protect materials and provide stability during material handling with equipment like conveyor belts, and pallet jacks. In recent times, pallets are increasingly being used in building and for making furniture. Since pallets are made of hardwood like oak, they are sturdy and durable, making them an excellent choice.

 People are using pallets to create incredible cabins and fantastic furniture.

 What are Energy Efficient Cabins?

There are many fantastic reasons for having a cabin in the woods. The idea of having a house sitting on the top of the mountain, giving you a spectacular view of the surrounding, is simply breathtaking. A cabin gives you the benefit of having somewhere you can run to for relaxation, finding yourself, and connecting with nature.

Among the many reasons why people love cabins is that they require less energy to construct. They promote green building practices and have a natural water harvesting system. More so, they offer you great views as they are surrounded by nature. They are also loved for their energy-efficiency.

Energy-efficient cabins have tightly sealed thermal envelopes. Their ventilation is controlled, and the materials used to make them are energy efficient. That is, the wood used to make the doors, windows, and the entire structure. Energy-efficient cabins are also appropriately sized and have energy-efficient home appliances.

Insulated materials you will need to create energy-efficient outdoor cabins with pallets

Having an energy-efficient pallet cabin will provide you with the perfect destination or venue to spend time with your family during the holidays. If you are staying along, it will offer you the ideal place to have some quiet time, away from the contemporary world.

You do not have to break the bank or even sweat to have the pallet structure up and running. With a DIY to guide you, you will get it done easily. Provided you have the right materials and procedure, nothing should be hard.

Materials needed

  1. Pallet boards
  2. Concrete
  3. Windows made of insulated glass
  4. Wood terrace floor
  5. Joist
  6. Battens
  7. Composite plate tiles
  8. Screws
  9. Paint


Here is a list of the tools you will need for the job

  1. Drill
  2. Circular saw
  3. Miter saw
  4. Measuring tape
  5. Screws and a screwdriver
  6. Router

Process of making energy-efficient cabins using pallets

The following procedure will help you construct a beautiful energy efficient cabin. Note that lifting the cabin from the ground can bring out efficiency. Therefore, the cabin you are about to build will be several centimeters above the ground.

1. Find a suitable land for the construction of the cabin

The first thing to do is to find a proper place to construct the cabin. A level ground would be easier to work with. However, if the landscape is undulating, you can find a spot that will be easy to work with and clear it in preparation for construction.

2. Create concrete brackets

The concrete brackets are meant to support the floor of the cabin. Before creating the brackets. Find points on the land where the poles will be installed. This will require you to take measurements. About six of these will be enough. What you need to do is to create square holes in the ground and install the brackets in it. Pour in concrete to secure the brackets in the spaces in the land.

3. Install the poles

Install the poles in the brackets and screw or nail them. While installing them, ensure that they are all level at the top. If the ground is not level, you can go with poles of different heights to achieve level support for the floor.

4. Work on the floor

Using the joist, make a wooden floor structure. The joist should have dimensions of about 3m long and 1.24m wide. The sizes could vary if you are looking to make a bigger cabin. Once you have prepared the structure. Install in on the recovery poles using stainless steel nails and screws. Once the floor is ready, you can now proceed to the walls.

5. Prepare the structure of the wall

Prepare the studs or the wall framework. You can come up with this structure through screwing or nailing. Once it is complete, install it on the wooden floor terrace by screwing it.

6. Prepare the pallets for installation on the wall

Once you have the pallets, do removal so that you remain with a neat and nice wooden board. Remove the nails and use the miter saw to cut the planks. If you want to give the boards a new look, you can sand them. Once ready, install on the wall frame or stud using screws. Alternatively, you can use nails.

7. Install the roof

Lay the roof by installing the composite plate tiles.

8. Install the stairs and a guard rail

Since the cabin is raised from the ground, you will need a staircase to access it. You will still use the pallet boards for this job. The quantity will depend on the design of your railing and the size of your staircase.

9. Install the insulated glass windows

Fix the window on the structure in the openings using screws. Ensure that it is well sealed between the frame and the wall.

10. Install a solar panel

You will need light in your cabin. The energy-efficient way to go about it is to install a solar panel.

Once everything has been said and done, you can paint your cabin to give it a beautiful and complete finish.

How to make pallet cabin truly energy efficient?

Here is how you can make a pallet cabin truly energy efficient.

1. Using LED lights

Compared to traditional lighting, LED lights are 80% more energy efficient. Note that fluorescent bulbs convert only 5% of energy into light. Whereas the remaining 95% turns to heat, which is wasted. LEDs work oppositely. 95% of the energy is converted into light and the remaining into heat. This means that they use less energy while at the same time ensuring that you have enough light in your cabin.

2. The optimum size of the cabinet for max energy efficiency

The size of your cabin significantly determines how energy efficient it is going to be. A cabin with a more significant surface area to volume ratio will be more energy efficient. A compact and straightforward sized cabin will have adequate insulation.

3. Use of propane furnace for heating

A propane furnace is about 94% energy efficient. It would be an ideal source of heat for your cabin. This will cost you fifty percent less, compared to if you use wood or electricity. This will keep your cabin warm, using the least amount of energy.

4. Insulated windows

35% of heat in homes escapes through the walls and windows. By installing insulated glass windows, you will prevent heat loss through the windows. Insulated glass windows are double-paned that prevents the transfer of heat from the warm inner pane to the outer pane, which is much cooler. Through this, the amount of heat lost through the windows is greatly minimized.

5. Energy-efficient appliances

If you have a refrigerator, dishwasher, or a dryer, you should definitely go for the energy-efficient options. Energy-efficient appliances such as water heaters, dishwashers, refrigerators, and bulbs can operate under low temperatures. More so, they have low energy settings that allow them to perform optimally even when using little energy.

6. Insulation

Composite tiles for roofing have excellent thermal performance and will provide your cabin with the insulation it needs. Sealing spaces and ensuring that there are no gaps left to let heat escape will go a long way in maintaining constant and conducive temperature in the cabin.

How much will this DIY project cost?

 Constructing a DIY pallet cabin is very affordable. The initial cost will be roughly $2,200. This will include the cost of materials needed for the job, which are pallet boards, poles, and windows. Since it will be an energy-efficient cabin, the cost of ownership in the long run as you will be spending very little on heating, lighting, and operating appliances.

Building your own cabin will be much more affordable than buying a ready-made prefab shed.

With the right materials, tool, and guide, making a simple pallet cabin can take you about fifty hours. The kind of materials you will use will depend on the size and design of your cabin. Pallet boards are usually made of hardwoods and will make a sturdy and durable cabin.

To make your cabin energy efficient, you should have it constructed with compact size, use energy-efficient materials like insulated glass windows and energy-efficient lighting such as LED bulbs. The DIY procedure provided above will go a long way in putting up your dream pallet cabin. The best part is that you won’t have to break the bank for it: it is very affordable.


Tags: cabins, diy, energy efficient, land, materials, outdoor, pallets, process

Author: Maja Markovski

Maja Markovski

A 35-year-old female architect with a passion for innovative, sustainable design. I blend creativity and functionality to transform spaces into beautiful, practical environments.


Recent posts in DIY

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments