Earthbag Homes as a Viable Housing Alternative

In the past few years, builders and developers have been looking for ways to make their constructed houses Earth-friendly. One way to address this initiative is to build earthbag homes. The original concept has been around for some time, but hasn’t been promoted much in media. It is important for us to responsibly take action in saving our planet, and understanding the benefits of earthbag homes (particularly for use in underdeveloped countries) can be the first step in doing so.

An Introduction

The housing industry at the moment is experiencing a significant shift in the balance among elements that apply to the overall structure. These include concepts such as quality, beauty and how the home contributes to conserving energy and saving the Earth. With the advent of information technology and climate change awareness affecting the social consciousness, it has become a priority for homeowners to infuse a sense of environmental concern to house designs. This is where earthbag homes can stand out, and it’s quite informative to know the technology behind them.

The Concept

Building with Earth: A Guide to Flexible-form Earthbag Construction (The Real Goods Solar Living Book)

Building with Earth: A Guide to Flexible-form Earthbag Construction

As the name implies, the main component of earthbag homes are sand bags filled with dirt and clay – made simple with the use of bagging equipment. These innovative cases function essentially as bricks of a house. During construction, the earthbags will be stacked one on top of the other in strategic arrangements and positions that maximize the space while not compromising the durability of the structure. In military exercises, earthbags have long been used as bunkers for operations, as well as flood walls to protect houses. The idea has been applied to build houses from the ground up, and builders and inhabitants alike have been satisfied with the outcome.

Building Process

Once the earthbags have been laid out, the house will start to take shape. The ceiling can then be installed after, thereby protecting the inside area from weather elements. To secure the holes and gaps, plaster or stucco will be applied to the stacked earthbags, and you may opt to use spray machines for better distribution. Eventually, the internal space will look similar to a conventional house would.

Benefits and Advantages

Earthbag homes offer benefits apart from the prioritized intention of protecting the environment. For one, they cost a lot less than conventional homes. Obviously, the earthbags play a significant part in reducing the amount needed to build the house, but the ecological features contribute as well. The design can regulate the atmosphere inside the home, attributing to the high levels of thermal mass emanating from the walls. This means that during the highest temperatures experienced in the day, the heat is absorbed by the earthbag walls. The accumulated heat does not escape to the room immediately, but provide timely warmth during the cold evenings.

The durability of earthbag homes has been certified through various structural integrity tests conducted by building officials. Nader Khalili, the late architect who discovered the unique building method, stands by his designs, and has received accolades ever since his proposed technique was accepted by NASA. Through these recognitions, homeowners can be assured of safety and protection from the elements.

Earthbag homes will continue to make waves as the clamour for greener options persist in our society. They are cheaper and provide benefits to the environment as well. Now that you've been given the rundown on how they work, you can then determine if you’d like to consider earthbag homes as a housing alternative. Earthbag communities have been sprouting in certain areas, and you can find more resources online for more information on construction and the permits involved.

Author profile:

Christopher Allen Samson is a freelance writer for several websites, discussing topics that delve in technology, well-being, environment and social media. He aims to find simple solutions to seemingly complicated but mundane problems.

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