10 Reasons to Build an Earthbag House

| 12/1/2015 9:33:00 AM

Tags: earthbag building, natural building, preparedness, Atulya K Bingham, Turkey,


Four years ago, I was camped upon a hill in Turkey watching the canvas of my tent buckle ominously. The wind howled, and rain started to drip onto my forehead. I’d been living in the tent for six months, but winter had suddenly arrived. I needed a house. Fast.

Considering the urgency, I was picky. I wanted something beautiful, round and environmentally friendly. The technique I chose was earthbag. I didn’t regret that choice at the time of building. Four earthquakes later, I still don’t.

It might have been more by luck than judgment, but earthbag building has proven itself perfect for my experience level, my climate, the topographical features of my land and my aesthetic taste. It’s easy to master for first time builders, and fairly invincible in terms of strength.

Earthbag was initially designed for settlements on the Moon and Mars, and was first applied in the construction of emergency shelters for refugees in the Persian Gulf. I am indebted to Nader Khalili, the Iranian who pioneered the technique, because my little earthbag home has liberated me from a mortgage.

The technique has numerous other benefits, some of which I have learned as time goes by. So here’s my list of why you might want to think about an earthbag home.

12/18/2015 10:17:16 PM

I wish this list had some way those who post a comment, could edit them to correct typo's!

12/18/2015 10:15:17 PM

LOVE THAT! We've tried packing earth into tires, because I really liked the earthships Mike Reynolds has done, as well as various other Rube-Goldberg odd ideas. I keep coming back to earth bags, because they have the most benefits with least effort. It's all very hard work, even if you pitch a tent.....just different levels of hard work. Each person has to figure our what works for them. Now, we olive in a place where we'd have to import dirt, or dig huge holes, to fill bags. Considering starting with living, "secret-garden walls" only 6' high, then putting roofing in place so it appears easy to move, to keep it "no permit required". For those in the States who don't know, those earth bags are supposed to get plastered, so weather can't harm the bags. Walls are thick enough, the mass of the walls is insulative. But, IF one needs more insulative value, can stuff bags using pumice + dirt--which not only insulates more, but is lighter-weight for working on them, and drains very fast, so moisture goes away immediately.

12/18/2015 11:25:52 AM

Wow! What an interesting concept. I'm glad it has worked out for you. I am not sure it would work in Wisconsin, though, where the snow might not like the bags. Thanks for the info.

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