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Posts Tagged ‘affordable’

The driving factor behind this project is the belief that simple design is high design, particularly when working in the developing world.

For the Love of Earthbags (F.L.O.E.) is an interactive design project that aims to prove that it’s possible to approach high-design in a manner that is tasteful, modern, and groundbreaking by using only the most basic materials, such as the dirt beneath our feet.

This project is an initiative led by architect Travis Hughbanks and supported by Edge of Seven (www.edgeofseven.org) in partnership with the local community of Basa, Nepal.

Edge of Seven is a nonprofit organization that generates awareness and volunteer support for projects that invest in education, health and economic opportunity for girls in developing countries. According to the World Bank, 30 percent of Nepalis live in poverty and this population is most concentrated in rural areas where people survive off of agriculture and subsistence farming. For Edge of Seven, earthbags offered an opportunity to improve rural educational infrastructure and combat poverty in the most low-cost, efficient and sustainable way possible.

How will the funding be spent? The money raised through this campaign will be used for supplies to create the earthbag school, educational tools, and the production of the graphic materials.

F.L.O.E.’s end goal is to elevate the practice of earthbag construction by producing several engaging and creative educational materials that will be used both to promote earthbag construction and teach local residents how to build with this method. The materials to be produced are an animated video and a graphic print manual.

To read more about this innovative project and see more of their interesting graphics check out this website: www.indiegogo.com

We have profiled the Nepali school project on several other posts:
finished-earthbag-school-in-nepal
earthbag-building-spreads-in-nepal
earthbag-school-in-nepal

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These homes are looking better and better. The second video shows the construction of 11 SafeT homes in a Haitian village that were built in just one week. In addition to the advantages mentioned in our previous blog post about these Grain Bin Homes, the homes are engineered, include screened soffit vents and a central roof opening, solid steel door, gutters for roofwater collection, window screens and lockable window shutters to resist strong winds up to 150 mph. And, as pointed out previously, the steel is over 95% recycled content and can be recycled at the end of it’s 70 year life span.

Update: Update: Sukup Grain Bins Earn 5,000 lb. Load Rating (it can hold a car on top, making them the strongest in the industry)

Sukup Grain Bins Earn 5,000 lb. Load Rating

Sukup Grain Bins Earn 5,000 lb. Load Rating

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Here’s a real nice example of integrating fruit trees, vegetables, aquaculture, composting, worms and beekeeping. This guy is getting hundreds or a thousand or more pieces of fruit off each small tree in a desert region near Joshua Tree where he was told “fruit trees won’t grow”.

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Chest fridge that consumes about 0.1 kWh per day or about $5 worth of electricity per year.

Chest fridge that consumes about 0.1 kWh per day or about $5 worth of electricity per year.


I saw this fridge a few years ago on Build it Solar.com. It’s a great site like I keep saying with hundreds of practical projects. Several years later and now I’m asking the same questions as the author below. Why haven’t more people made the switch to this super energy efficient fridge?

“Using vertical doors in refrigeration devices is an act against the Nature of Cold Air. Understanding and cooperating with Nature rather than acting against it leads to much better efficiency.

My chest fridge (Vestfrost freezer turned into a fridge) consumes about 0.1 kWh a day. It works only about 2 minutes per hour. At all other times it is perfectly quiet and consumes no power whatsoever. My wind/solar system batteries and power-demand-sensing inverter simply love it.

It is obvious that a truly energy efficient fridge does not cost any more money than a mediocre one. It actually costs less. It also has amazing food-preserving performance because temperature fluctuations in its interior are naturally minimized.

So – WHY mediocre food-spoiling fridges are being made? WHO makes decisions to manufacture them? Who awards them “stars” and other misleading awards? Why people continue to buy and use energy wasting and food-spoiling devices? Does anyone care about understanding anything?

Nearly every household on Earth has a fridge that totally wastes at least 1 kWh of energy a day (365 kWh a year). How much reduction in greenhouse emissions can we achieve by banning just ONE inefficient household device in just ONE country? How many politicians debating for how many years will it take to achieve such a ban?

Rather than waiting for someone to do something I would like to volunteer to supply modified chest freezers and/or freezer modification kits to environmentally conscious people of Australia. Let’s do something in the right direction right now.”

Source: Mt. Best.net (lots more good info on this site)
You can read the full article here.
How to Convert a Chest Freezer to a Fridge

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Slab claro walnut, natural edged executive desk. Although contemporary, it also has a unique rustic appeal.

Slab claro walnut, natural edged executive desk. Although contemporary, it also has a unique rustic appeal.


Slab wood table

Slab wood table


Slab coffee table

Slab coffee table


Single-slab teak coffee table top

Single-slab teak coffee table top


We’ve been covering a number of low cost furniture styles lately – Rustic Twig Furniture, Rustic Log Furniture, Pallet Furniture, Rustic Furniture, Sundance Furniture and Décor, Pallet Craft.

“Slab furniture is made of heavy lumber. It lends itself well to more rustic interpretations of furniture design, however it also works well with modern design principles.” – Shima Woodcraft

Slab furniture with its large planks of timber has a unique, timeless beauty and elegance that fits perfectly in natural homes. This style of furniture often includes wavy edges and other natural features as opposed to perfectly milled wood. We are happy with our three slab wood tables. They’re low cost, rugged and won’t go out of style.

Image source: Dumond’s Custom Furniture
Image source: Shima Woodcraft
Image source: Design Boston.org
Image source: Home Inspiring.com

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The Cool Box

How to Make a Pot in Pot Cooler

Much of the content here on our Earthbag Building Blog is based on reader input and reader interest. We’ve already responded to thousands of comments and suggestions. I got an email the other day asking for advice about low cost refrigeration for off grid homes. They said they have the earthbag housing part figured out. And they have a small solar panel for LED lighting and charging their cell phones and laptops. But they’re looking for alternative energy sources and methods for keeping food cool. I’ve already covered Cool Pantries that keep food cool without electricity in fairly good detail, so now I would like to list some interesting YouTube videos. There are many more videos on this and related topics. This list of some of the better videos will help get you started. Use the keywords below to search for more videos on each type: pot in pot, Peltier, etc.

A Fridge Run Without Electricity Creates Waves Amongst Villagers
Refrigeration Without Electricity
Solar Powered Evaporative Cooler
How to Make a Fridge Root Cellar
No Power Fridge
Zeer Pot Fridge
Emily Cummins
Adam Grosser: A New Vision for Refrigeration
Free Energy Fridge
Peltier Effect Fridge
Peltier Cooler Fun
Solar Fridge Test
Solar Hydrogen Home
Solar Chilling and Cooling
Solar Venti Earth Cooling Kit
Solar Evaporative Cooler
DIY Refrigeration System

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Look at the larger picture in life with all the pieces together in order to make more informed decisions.

Look at the larger picture in life with all the pieces together in order to make more informed decisions.


Let’s compare aspects of building a sustainable home with children’s connect the dot (dot to dot) coloring books. If you look at just part of the picture, the full image is not apparent. Take for example the recent blog post about It Can’t Possibly be Worth It. A reader left a comment on the original blog post at I Need More Life that challenged the basic concept of living in the country and building your own home as impractical, and gave a list of reasons why it was easier and better to live in a big city. That got me thinking about the larger picture. The decision to build your own sustainable home goes way beyond just saving money on a mortgage (although that’s a huge part of the equation). Step back a moment and connect the dots.

Other considerations include:
– low impact lifestyle: We all know the world’s environment is getting wrecked right and left. It seems nearly impossible to live lightly on the land if you’re in a big city.
– healthy living: It’s more difficult to be healthy when you’re breathing polluted air, living in buildings that offgas toxic fumes, surrounded by unhealthy people who are spreading disease, loud noises, high stress, long commutes, sedate jobs, etc. Healthy living is a huge part of the back-to-the-land movement. This type of lifestyle is much more in line with how humans were meant to live in my opinion.
– peace of mind: You can’t put a price tag on good health or peace of mind, and I argue it’s much easier to have a peaceful life in a natural setting where things are quiet, calm and relatively free of pollution. 99% of big city crime is mostly unheard of in rural, remote areas. The story of the Country Mouse visiting the City Mouse comes to mind. And let’s not forget the risk of losing everything if you have a problem meeting your mortgage payment. Having a home free and clear of the banks certainly adds peace of mind.
– self sufficiency: What happens when the power goes out after a big storm or other natural disaster? Lights go out. Toilets won’t flush at some point. Cash registers and gas pumps won’t work, and on and on. You’re much more at risk in a big city in these situations than someone in the countryside who has planned for such emergencies.
– greatly reduced energy costs: In addition to not blowing money on a mortgage, you can also save a small fortune on energy expenses. Suggestions include: build an energy efficient home, get a wood stove and low cost wood supply, install at least one solar panel, solar water heater, LED lighting, superinsulation, weatherization package, cool pantry, root cellar and other features according to your climate.
– greatly reduced maintenance: Asphalt shingles, pressed board siding, sheetrock, synthetic carpeting and many other modern materials quickly fail, while stone, timberframe, rammed earth, earthbag, straw/clay can last for centuries.
– quality of life: Life is short. How do you want to spend your time? Stuck in a traffic jam or working in a garden and spending quality time with your family and friends? And keep in mind it’s not a black/white issue. You could always visit a nearby city for concerts, community activities and shopping.

Image source: Teacher Vision

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