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Posts Tagged ‘CEB’

Poured adobe floor with clay alis highlights and boiled linseed oil finish.

Poured adobe floor with clay alis highlights and boiled linseed oil finish.


Adobe bricks with top coat of poured adobe
Set dry adobes on a bed of sand or sand and gravel, sweep sand in the joints and then trowel on a top coat of adobe mud.
Compressed Earth Blocks (CEB)
Set CEBs on a bed of sand, sweep sand in the joints, coat with sealer.
Tamped earth
Tamp 2” layers of moist road base, top layer is screened, coat with boiled linseed oil.
Teratile
David Easton’s method using 1” thick layer of soil cement on top of 4” of well-compacted soil such as road base.
Soil cement pavers
David Easton’s pre-cast pavers made with soil, sand, pea gravel, cement and water mixed and poured into molds.
Tractor cob
Mechanized production that reduces the time and labor of building with cob by up to 90 percent.
Lime stabilized tamped earth
Mix sand or sandy soil with lime and water, tamp several layers.
Poured adobe
Mix sharp sand or crusher fines, clay, chopped straw and water, and trowel ¾”-2” layer on top of tamped road base, seal with boiled linseed oil and/or other oils.
Poured adobe with psyllium hulls
Mix adobe soil with 50% sand and psyllium and water, plus topping coat of sifted soil, screened sand and psyllium, then seal with Okan sealer.
Tamped earth with poured adobe top coat
Tamp moist layers of road base, then trowel on 1” layer of earth plaster mix consisting of sand, clay and chopped straw, then coat with linseed oil.
Earth Floor book by Bill and Athena Steen
Traditional southwestern thick adobe floor method built on drainage layer.

Which earth floor method is best? It all depends on the look you’re after, your skills, the materials available, whether you want a fast or slow drying floor and probably other factors. For instance, maybe you’re not good at troweling and so you might want to use CEBs or pavers set on sand.

Consider using stone, geopolymer pavers or recycled brick in high traffic areas and bathrooms.

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Open source CEB press drawings

Open source CEB press drawings


Thanks to Lisa G., one of our readers, for these links to more CEB (compressed earth block) information.

Free open source CEB press drawings from ORSL

Simple CEB instructions from Sahara.com
(cartoon format instructions might be helpful in some situations)
Note: CEBs can be used for many things — interior walls, planters, privacy walls, etc.

Search our blog for more info on compressed earth blocks:
Star Top CEB Presses

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Kindria sustainable community (click to enlarge)

Kindria sustainable community (click to enlarge)


From time to time we’ll profile a sustainable community or ecovillage. The one presented today is not made with earthbags, because bags were not available in their area. Nevertheless, the project is still very interesting and well worth studying. I think the world needs many more projects like this.
Kindria sustainable community (click to enlarge)

Kindria sustainable community (click to enlarge)


“My dream is of a small community of friends and family that hold themselves 100% self sufficient. A community that collects all of its own pure rain water, produces 100% of their own fruit, vegetables, herbs and grains. This community will do everything in its power to be carbon neutral and completely off the grid. In this ideal community, certain responsibilities will be shared with those who have the skills. If something needs to be done, then everyone pitches in and gets it done quickly and efficiently. This community also shares a set of beliefs and ideals that will ensure its cohesion and integrity. The goal of this community is more of a testament to that we can survive on our own in small scale without a national production chain.

The working name for the project is ‘Kindria’. Based on that I am establishing a ‘Kindred Network’ located at kindrednet.com. One, my last name is Kindred and the other, I hope to bring together kindred spirits who wish to learn and live this way.

The building project that I have planned is a combination of the many different natural self sustainable principles. As mentioned in a previous comment, it will be built using earth bricks (compressed earthbag blocks) and recycled wood mainly. We will feature permaculture design aspects to the surrounding property to develop a food forest. As well as certain aspects in the main garden areas to limit pest issues. There will be gardens run from aquaponics to supply fish as well as fruit and vegetables.

Everything will be supplied from the land in which we are building on. Initially we will outsource for wood supplies but our intention is to harvest our own wood using the several open source projects for bandsaw mills and wood kilns. We will also be making our own clay type items; crockery, roofing tiles et cetera.

What you see here are what we are calling “Hive’s”, a modular community living complex. There are 4 Hive’s in which can have up to 7 points of interest attached. I will start at Hive 1, the middle octagonal shape. Hive 1 will be the central community hub where communal cooking and eating will take place. Tho it isn’t required :) The blue/purple squares around it are 3m x 3m “sheds”/rooms. Both habitable and inhabitable (as per local NSW council regulations). These sheds can be used for anything, kitchen, laundry, bedroom, bathroom, workshop, storage et cetera. They will be constructed of stabilized earth bricks (SEB or CEB) with a roof truss made of recycled wood, covered with stabilized clay tiles (SCT). The Hive is then covered by a 2 tier pergola of sorts. Which will be constructed from recycled wood and SCT.

This image should give you an idea of the tiers I was talking about. Each overlap the item below to provide adequate rain catchment that will then be passed down to the several 18K L water tanks in the design. The tanks being of course the salmon coloured cylinders.

In the foreground of the image above you will see a mandala keyhole garden run designed by STRONGBUILD (YouTube). Features 6 cells that will have fruit/veg with 1 cell holding 2 – 4 chickens to turn and fertilize soil. Each month, the chickens are rotated around the garden to maintain a perfect balanced garden.

Going back to the first 3D image (birds eye view), the odd main brown in the center of the Hives, are our aquaponics gardens. Along the edges will feature trellised plants to provide natural cover from sun and rain on the walkways. The center piece will hold the fish and the two triangle edges on the center, will house largish fruit trees. For example, paw paw, lemon or large bushes like blueberries/raspberries et cetera. At its total span E/W with Hive 3 (Outer Hive) being south facing, the complex is only 55m wide.

In terms of other features like power and waste management, we will be building our own 2kWh solar array from solar cells purchased on eBay. I intend on having them track the sun when money permits (simple rig would only cost $200-$300). Lighting will be constructed with 4 LEDs per light to operate on 12v run throughout the complex. I estimate the light fixtures will cost around $3 to make (made from recycled soda bottles/cans) and will last in the area of 50 years.

For waste management, we will have humanure composting toilets. I have found a very nice design from Milkwood.net that I intend on mimicking. It utilizes 240L waste bins (used for council trash removal) that once filled, can be left in the sun for a year to process. [Here’s a poster of their humanure system showing the entire regenerative cycle.]

In the future when the property is established we will offer visiting weekends, learning workshops of what we have done to do it etc. The property will be located in the New England area of New South Wales. Probably near Tenterfield/Glen Innes. We are in process of acquiring property at the moment, roughly 100 acres.”

Kindria

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$300 Geopolymer CEB House (click to enlarge)

$300 Geopolymer CEB House (click to enlarge)


I’ve added a third entry in ‘The $300 House Open Design Challenge’. CEBs are popular and practical, and some of you may be thinking of using them for columns, next to wood stoves, interior walls or as a design element. They would make a great center column in a roundhouse. Geopolymer CEBs turn to actual stone as explained in several previous posts.

Please vote on my projects. It’s shocking how few people have voted. This means a handful of votes changes the ranking considerably. Here’s the direct link to the $300 Geopolymer CEB House.

Update: Come on guys, help me out! Hundreds of thousands of people have read this blog and only 18 people have rated this CEB house. That’s a bit discouraging when you consider how much work goes into this blog (almost 600 posts, over 2,000 comments). I’m glad to see my Stone Dome in the top 10. I know this CEB house and my $300 earthbag house are also extremely practical, but I need your support.

Update: Yeah to go team. The Stone Dome is currently #3, the CEB house pictured above is #7, and the $300 Earthbag House is #18. They all jumped in ranking from just a few votes. Thank you! Also note how earthbag houses are now ranked #1, 2 and 3!

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Star Top Compressed Earth Block Presses

Star Top Compressed Earth Block Presses


Compressed earth blocks (CEBs) have countless uses and come in dozens of shapes (many more than shown here). They are commonly used for residential and commercial structures, earthquake resistant structures, privacy walls, columns, bond beams, pavers, planters, stairs, etc. For instance, you could make CEB columns on your house and privacy walls and stack earthbags between. (See Confined Earthbag.) Right now I’m making an outdoor oven with CEBs. The possibilities are endless.

Star Top Construction and Blockprasan Co., Ltd. manufactures very high quality compressed earth block presses in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand. When you look at the ¾” (2 cm) thick steel parts, it sure looks like these machines would last well over 100 years with continual use. Note: I am not paid in any way for promoting these presses. I’m very impressed with their ruggedness and quality and would like people to know about their products. In fact, I’ve admired them for about 4-5 years and have finally got around to telling people about them.

Many people know about the Aureka presses made in India. Here’s a brief comparison:
Star Top Standard press makes 10 types of blocks and costs $800 US.
Star Top Hitop press makes 30 types of blocks and costs $900 US.
Aureka 3000 multi-mould manual earth block press as shown here costs $X [cost not available yet, but it’s roughly twice the cost if I remember correctly]

Star Top also manufactures a whole line of block making equipment, including hammermills to pulverize soil, mortar mixers to mix the soil with cement, and machine and hand-operated block presses. I’m guessing there are several thousand small shops in Thailand with a similar set of machines. They quoted us $4,171 for the whole set of machines to make blocks by hand and $8,843 for the machine operated set that makes two blocks at a time.

Sample CEB Block Shapes (many more available)

Sample CEB Block Shapes (many more available)

Note the holes in the CEBs. Rebar is inserted through the blocks and then the holes are filled with cement grout. There is no mortar between this type of CEB.

Star Top website
Star Top Technology
Phone in Thailand: 034-2679534
Email: startop@blockprasan.com
Cost of CEBs at Phu Phan Research Center: 23 cents
Standard size of CEBs: 12.5x25x10 cm high (you can make other sizes)

Update: This video shows how the press works. It’s actually a competing brand made by K. Thai Machinery Company that looks and operates virtually the same way.

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Cheap and easy compressed earth block (CEB) floors

Cheap and easy compressed earth block (CEB) floors


Here’s a great, low cost way to build floors with compressed earth blocks. This Instructable is by Velacreations. Visit their website for more great ideas.

When considering what material to use for a floor, few people look beyond a concrete slab, with something like tile or carpet as a finish. For us, however, there were several factors that made a stabilized compressed earth brick (SCEB) [or just CEB for short] floor far more appealing, including cost, skill, and time required.

Read the rest of the article for free at Cheap and Easy Brick Floors Instructable

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Raised garden bed made with compressed earth blocks (CEBs)

Raised garden bed made with compressed earth blocks (CEBs)


Many gardeners are familiar with Mel Bartholomew’s Square Foot Gardening system: raised garden beds of any size divided into square foot (300mm) grids. It’s a very popular gardening system and he has sold over one million books.

With this method you can grow five times more plants in a given space with less maintenance. You’ll use less water, fewer seeds, and have healthier plants and fewer insect problems. Mr. Bartholomew claims it takes half the labor of typical gardening. You don’t even have to dig down in the soil, because the beds are raised above ground. This means you can grow plants almost anywhere, including areas where the soil is really bad. Instead of trying to fertilize and amend lousy soil over a period of years, you use perfect soil right from the start. In short, it’s a fantastic system and works well.

But there is one drawback. Mr. Bartholomew recommends wood for building the raised beds. He probably does this to keep things as simple as possible. Anyone can go to a building supply center, buy some boards and nail or screw them together. But most wood doesn’t hold up well outside, especially when it’s in direct contact with moist soil. In many cases the wood will rot in a few years and you’ll have to rebuild the beds.

We have chosen more durable materials for building the raised beds so we don’t have to keep rebuilding our garden. It’s a good idea to use what is affordable and locally available. In our area we have very inexpensive compressed earth blocks (CEBs for short), so that’s what we use. CEBs are made with a mixture of soil and about 10% cement that’s compressed in a machine.

You can read the complete article by Owen Geiger by purchasing the April/May 2011 issue of The Owner Builder Magazine.

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In addition to our focus on earthbag building, occasionally we cover related sustainable building topics. For instance, if you’re going to live lightly on the land in your earthbag home, you’ll want to produce your own healthy food. Today’s post about how to build low cost, durable garden beds is from the Instructables.com website.

Durable Raised Garden Beds

Durable Raised Garden Beds

Most gardeners are familiar with Mel Bartholomew’s Square Foot Gardening system. It’s one of the most popular gardening systems in the world. He’s sold over 1 million books (more than any other gardening book). With this method you can grow fives times more plants in a given space with less maintenance. You’ll use less water, fewer seeds, and have healthier plants and fewer insect problems. He says it takes half the labor of typical gardening. You don’t even have to dig down in the soil, because the beds are raised above ground. This means you can grow plants almost anywhere, including areas where the soil is really bad. Instead of trying to fertilize and amend lousy soil over a period of years, you use perfect soil right from the start. Be sure to check out his Square Foot Gardening website for full details. In short, it’s a fantastic system and works great.

But there is one drawback that could be improved. Mr. Bartholomew recommends wood for building the raised beds. He probably does this to keep things as simple as possible. Anyone can go to a building supply center, buy some boards and nail or screw them together. But most wood doesn’t hold up well outside, especially when it’s in direct contact with moist soil. In many cases the wood will rot in a few years and you’ll have to rebuild the beds.

That’s the basis of this Instructable – choose more durable materials for building the raised beds so you don’t have to keep rebuilding your garden.

You can read the full article for free: Durable Raised Garden Beds by Owen Geiger

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