Sharing information and promoting earthbag building
|Do-It-Yourself Earthbag Building
Yes You Can!
by Dr. Owen Geiger
This article explores the growing popularity of earthbag building (also called sandbag building) and how it can be used to provide affordable housing that's simple enough for do-it-yourselfers to build their own home. By using dirt-cheap building materials (earth, sand, gravel, recycled materials, etc.) and eliminating expensive contractors and specialized equipment, the cost of construction can be slashed to a fraction of conventional housing costs.
Everyone needs a place to live - shelter is a basic need. But since the current system is bypassing the vast majority of the population, it's time to investigate simpler, more affordable building methods.
The answer may be right under our feet (earth). That's right; building with earth is a timeless building tradition with some structures lasting many hundreds of years. Over a third of the buildings in the world are earth structures. Earth is probably the least expensive building material (literally dirt-cheap), and therefore holds enormous potential for solving our housing crisis. Some may assume earth buildings are just mud huts. Far from it! If your background isn't in architecture, you may not be aware of the amazing diversity of earth structures. Look up "earth architecture" on the Internet if you're not already informed.
There are many earth building methods - adobe, rammed earth, CEB and so on. This article explores the growing popularity of earthbag building (also called sandbag building) and how it can be used to provide affordable housing that's simple enough for do-it-yourselfers to build their own home. By using dirt-cheap building materials (earth, sand, gravel, recycled materials, etc.) and eliminating expensive contractors and specialized equipment, the cost of construction can be slashed to a fraction of conventional housing costs.
Earthbag building has it's origin in military sandbag building. For about 100 years, the military have been building durable, blast and bullet proof structures out of sandbags. Also, sandbags have been used for many years to hold back floodwaters. Today, builders are using the same basic process of filling, stacking and tamping bags to build a wide variety of structures the world over - beautiful homes, offices, shops, schools and more.
Besides affordability and durability, the other main advantage is simplicity of construction. What could be simpler than filling and stacking bags of earth? The main skills can be learned in a few minutes simply by being shown or watching a video. Almost everything you need to know is available free on the Internet. And most people already have the basic tools around the house - shovels, buckets, garden hose, ladder. The other few tools required can be made quickly and easily or purchased inexpensively.
Here are just a few ways of saving money by building with earthbags:
Owen Geiger, Director of the Geiger Research Institute of Sustainable Building at GRISB.org and Kelly Hart have teamed up to create EarthbagBuilding.com and Earthbag Building Blog at naturalbuildingblog.com to better focus and keep track of the rapid growth of this novel building method.
This article was first published at EzineArticles.com: http://ezinearticles.com/?id=1939364
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