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Archive for February, 2011

DT1 Force Protection System

DT1 Force Protection System


I found this system on the Internet yesterday. It doesn’t apply to most earthbag builders, but I’m including it here since we try to cover everything related to building with bags. It is a little interesting and could be a springboard to making something similar. The following text is from the DT1 website.

“Weighing only 9.5 lbs, the DT1 Force Protection System is ideal for man portable protection in remote locations. A packaged DT1 takes up roughly the same amount of space as a full sandbag, and is capable of producing a 24 inch deep, 16 foot long wall that protects against small arms fire up to 14.5mm or .50 caliber and near-miss artillery. The DT1 stands 20 inches tall and is stackable up to three units high for even greater levels of protection.

When filled with granular fill (earth, sand or rocks), the DT1 produces expedient defensive fighting positions, small bunkers, tent compartmentalization and other field fortifications. The 100% textile construction mitigates the risk of secondary fragmentation and radio frequency interference. The DT1 requires minimal preparation to deploy, and is designed to conform to sloped or uneven surfaces. Units can be quickly filled by hand and compacted by foot.”

DT1 Force Protection System

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One of the most progressive high school vocational programs that I’ve heard of is on the campus of Taos High School in Taos, New Mexico. Students get a solid background in general building skills (general carpentry, blueprint reading, AutoCAD, green business), but they also get more advanced and more specialized training in green building, solar, building science and other courses. We need a whole lot more programs like this.

Green Technology Education Center

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Green Desert Eco-farm Llama Barn

Green Desert Eco-farm Llama Barn


A group near Canon City, Colorado is building an earthbag llama barn. Here’s the comment that they posted the other day.

“Thanks Owen for posting the article. Our build went really well, just as easy as you make it seem with all the blogs and websites and instructables.

The one thing that consistently amazed me was the ability to teach someone the basics, and have them be part of a “three-person team” within just a few minutes. And considering that many folks who came to help had zero prior building experience or exposure to earthbags, this was astonishing. This is definitely one of the simplest and most direct building methods to teach a “laborer”.

We had loads of fun and the barn is coming along nicely. Working about 7 hours per day, rotating new people in each of the three days of the workshop, and running out of delivered dirt and digging more of our own, we still managed to get about 8 courses or 70% of the structure up.

Now we just have to start work on the stucco to protect the bags, and figure out a roof. Thanks again for all the help and info in advance. Now I want to build more of these!”
Richard

Earthbag Building Extravaganza!
Building Community from Earth
Photos of the project

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Roundhouse with Yurt (click to enlarge)

Roundhouse with Yurt (click to enlarge)


My goal last year was to upgrade 40 of my most popular plans. This has now been completed, along with 20 additional designs. So there are now 60 finished plans available, including this new Roundhouse with Yurt.

In this design, the roundhouse provides low cost space and a stable base for the yurt. The elevated yurt captures the views and breezes, and eliminates the need for building a roof (which is often an issue for those lacking carpentry experience). The deck adds extended living space and protects lower walls.

My goal this year is to add 25 new house plans as time permits. This will likely occur at a slower pace so I have time to continue writing. Two more earthbag books are already in the works.

In addition, Dream Green Homes, where plans can be ordered, has been newly updated with the most popular plans. Just ask if there’s something you can’t find.

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Patti Stouter has been running a series of very interesting, even surprising, experiments with various materials that might be used to insulate earthbag walls. She has focused her attention on light-weight natural or recycled materials that can be bound together with a clay slip.

She devised a test apparatus to measure how well the materials impede the flow of heat, using a 4″ thick sealed beadboard box (15″ cube on outside) with a 6″ diameter opening on the top, where she packs her various materials to be sampled.  A precision resistor attached to a regulated power supply heats the inside and there is a digital thermometer that reads in 1/10 of a degree F. When the inside of the box  reaches a steady state she measures the difference between the temperature inside the box and the room temperature. She calibrated the device with some standard insulating materials with known R-values.


The above graphs illustrates the results of her experiments. Because both EPS packing peanuts and strips of grocery bags would emit toxic fumes if they burned, she has designated these for exterior use only. In actuality it is generally better to place any insulation materials on the exterior in order to isolate the thermal mass of packed soil on the inside. What is surprising is how extremely well some of these materials performed. Both Spanish moss and grocery bag strips measure at over R-3 per inch!


These test samples were made with a moderate strength silty clay, and materials might be stronger and lighter if made with a more plastic clay. The sample at right is made with the packing peanuts and the sample on the left are the grocery bag strips. Other possible light clay components are sea grass or eelgrass, coconut fibres, reeds, or mica.

If you are interested in the density or weight of the various materials she used, the above graph shows this.

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What’s the best use for the world’s remaining forests? Healthy forests or wasteful building practices?

What’s the best use for the world’s remaining forests? Healthy forests or wasteful building practices?


What’s the best use for the world’s remaining forests? Healthy forests or wasteful building practices?

What’s the best use for the world’s remaining forests? Healthy forests or wasteful building practices?


Our forests are under increasing pressure to supply materials for a growing population. What would you rather have – healthy forests or poorly built, oversized, inefficient, wasteful housing?

Time is running out for our remaining forests and so we need to look more closely at options that use less wood, and then, as a society move toward best practices.

Options:
– Building systems that use less wood: earthbag, strawbale, adobe, etc.
– Recycled wood, including pallets (example: pallet trusses)
– Small diameter wood thinned from overcrowded forests, which can be used for a wide range of uses such as roundwood trusses
– Woodless construction methods: earthbag domes, adobe domes and vaults, low-fired clay brick, ferrocement, recycled plastic trash houses, nylon cement (recycled fishing net and cement), shipping containers, bamboo, rubble houses, load-bearing strawbale, stone

Photo credits: Tongass National Forest, Tract housing in Las Vegas

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The following information has been provided by Pacific Packaging in Tangent, Oregon. They are the first bag supplier to actively promote earthbag building on their website. We have no financial interest in their company and do not accept advertising since this is a non-commercial site. The information is being provided here to show what to look for when buying poly bags.

Pacific Packaging Earthbag Specifications

Pacific Packaging Earthbag Specifications


Items of interest in the above tables (click to enlarge image): misprinted bags are available at lower cost (of the sizes available, 21″x36″ is best); standard 18″x30″ bags (the most practical size for most jobs) are only available as new bags; specifications for weave, denier and UV rating are provided, as well as the shipping weight, size and cost.

For a limited time, they also have gusseted bags (not shown).

For more information, contact Pacific Packaging.

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