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Old 12-18-2015, 07:43 AM   #1
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Earth Bag Homes

Look at these!

Pretty cool, cheap, earthquake and fire proof.


10 Reasons to Build an Earthbag House – Green Homes – MOTHER EARTH NEWS


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Old 12-18-2015, 08:24 AM   #2
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like it

thanks for the posting. i like it.
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Old 12-18-2015, 08:47 AM   #3
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As an engineer, I'm fascinated by new building techniques. But in reality it's not all that new. It's not so very different from adobe or sod homes, at least in principle, and sandbag construction has been used by military engineers for decades for everything from bomb shelters to emergency flood protection levees.

The description is non-technical, which is frustrating for an engineer to read. What type of bags are used, to prevent the bags from rotting away? Once the bags start to rot, how long will the structure remain standing before it collapses under its own weight? What type of soil is used in the bags? Some types of clay would be very good (the same type of clay used in adobe brick, for example), other types of soil not so much. How much compaction is applied when each layer is rammed down, and how much does a given degree of compaction contribute to overall structural stability? Does the barbed wire placed between layers really serve as reinforcing, or is that wishful thinking on the part of the builder in other words did he build some with and some without, to see if one is more durable than the other?

And of course climate has a lot to do with how permanent the structure is. Even the author recommends that earth bag construction be used for hot dry climates, which kind of limits the usefulness.

But even though those questions might go unanswered meaning that I'll never personally recommend this building method I still find it fascinating.
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Old 12-18-2015, 09:07 AM   #4
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And of course climate has a lot to do with how permanent the structure is. Even the author recommends that earth bag construction be used for hot dry climates, which kind of limits the usefulness.
Of course, but climate limits the usefulness of any type of construction. I would not want to build an earth bag home out of a soil which does not have enough clay to hold it together, or an overly expansive soil for obvious reasons. But an earth bag home can be made more permanent for any climate by plastering or stuccoing the walls.

I am building an adobe and straw bale structure to be used for additional living space to be used in conjunction with my AS in NM.
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Old 12-18-2015, 09:30 AM   #5
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I believe this one was built in Turkey, also if you click on the article it shows a picture of it plastered.

I thought it was a cool idea, like the straw bale structures.

I'll bet this could be built here....might take some trial and error, but it would be doable.

Think of the dirt that is hauled away when a house is built ....could build a secondary structure with all of that.

Someone will figure it out.


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Old 12-18-2015, 09:47 AM   #6
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My mom had an air raid shelter in her yard at her home outside London 1940. Her father wouldn't use it. "If I'm going to be killed I will be in my comfy bed". The family survived the German bombings and mom is still with us.

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Old 12-18-2015, 09:50 AM   #7
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The roof on that house looks like an inferno waiting to happen.
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Old 12-18-2015, 10:49 AM   #8
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As an engineer, I'm fascinated by new building techniques. . .
The description is non-technical, which is frustrating for an engineer to read. What type of bags are used. . . . How much compaction is applied when each layer is rammed down. . . Does the barbed wire placed between layers really serve as reinforcing, or is that wishful thinking on the part of the builder . . . did he build some with and some without, to see if one is more durable than the other?
Maybe it was created by an innovator, not an engineer.
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Old 12-18-2015, 11:18 AM   #9
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The technique as described has been used for years and is not experimental or unique.
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Old 12-18-2015, 11:26 AM   #10
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Think of the dirt that is hauled away when a house is built ....could build a secondary structure with all of that.

Someone will figure it out.
Reminded me of the Earth Sheltered houses that were in vogue in the '70s. A couple were built in a hollow nearby, interesting design.

A quick search of Mother Earth News brought up this link.
Earth Sheltered Homes: Comfortable, Affordable and Energy Efficient - Green Homes - MOTHER EARTH NEWS

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Old 12-18-2015, 11:29 AM   #11
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Maybe it was created by an innovator, not an engineer.
You make it sound as if the two are mutually exclusive. Engineers can be innovators. The difference is, the engineer does all of his innovation on paper (or on computer these days) at the design stage, instead of trying to build without a design and hoping it works.
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Old 12-18-2015, 11:49 AM   #12
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Innovator? dirt house?
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Old 12-18-2015, 11:56 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
As an engineer, I'm fascinated by new building techniques. But in reality it's not all that new. It's not so very different from adobe or sod homes, at least in principle, and sandbag construction has been used by military engineers for decades for everything from bomb shelters to emergency flood protection levees.

The description is non-technical, which is frustrating for an engineer to read. What type of bags are used, to prevent the bags from rotting away? Once the bags start to rot, how long will the structure remain standing before it collapses under its own weight? What type of soil is used in the bags? Some types of clay would be very good (the same type of clay used in adobe brick, for example), other types of soil not so much. How much compaction is applied when each layer is rammed down, and how much does a given degree of compaction contribute to overall structural stability? Does the barbed wire placed between layers really serve as reinforcing, or is that wishful thinking on the part of the builder in other words did he build some with and some without, to see if one is more durable than the other?

And of course climate has a lot to do with how permanent the structure is. Even the author recommends that earth bag construction be used for hot dry climates, which kind of limits the usefulness.

But even though those questions might go unanswered meaning that I'll never personally recommend this building method I still find it fascinating.
The answers to these questions are easily satisfied with a simple search on the interweb.
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Old 12-18-2015, 12:14 PM   #14
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The answers to these questions are easily satisfied with a simple search on the interweb.
Really? I couldn't find satisfactory answers when I did a quick search, just more non-technical descriptions. But no matter. I'm not going to build one myself, and my level of curiosity isn't high enough to waste any more time in a more detailed search.
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