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Posts Tagged ‘sand bag’


“Testing a CEB (compressed earth block) wall for the ability to withstand small arms fire with an AK-47, 223 and a 45-70 Gov”

The video is rather shaky, but it does help validate what we’ve been saying here for the last few years – that compressed earth, especially when combined with gravel, has very good bullet resistance. This includes all categories of compressed earth: CEBs, earthbag, rammed earth or the EarthCo Megablock system (giant machined compressed blocks).

Related blog posts:
Earthbag Survival Shelter Plans (use the built-in search engine at Earthbag House Plans to find other shelters, forts, etc.
All house plan orders include a free copy of my Earthbag Building Guide ebook.
How to Build a Survival Shelter: article in Survivalist magazine.
Bullet Resistance of Compressed Earth
Bullet Resistance of Gravel
Bullet Resistance of Sandbags
Impact Testing Compressed Earth with Blackpowder Cannon

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Dr. Johnny Anderton is the $20,000 first place winner in the Common Pitch Design Indaba competition for social impact projects. Dr. Anderton said he will put the money toward gaining building code approval! Congratulations!

“EarthBagBuild is a construction system combining ancient building techniques with 21st century technology: a locally developed and patented high strength polypropylene ‘EarthBag’ filled with earth and stacked. The homes and buildings created are attractive, inexpensive, structurally sound, durable, energy-efficient, acoustically efficient, rot and corrosion proof, fire resistant, non-toxic and bulletproof! The polypropylene bag, made from an industrial by-product, is re-usable and recyclable. Once the structure is built, it can be finished with stucco. The EarthBagBuild concept encourages the establishment of community home-building projects where groups learn to build their own houses, thereafter training others in aspects of the system, thus creating a viral growth of jobs, micro-businesses and self financed or government grant assisted homes. “See one, do one, teach one.”

Source: Lead SA
EarthBagBuild.com

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Michael Reynolds of Earthship Biotecture has lots of great ideas. Even though he uses tires (which take more time and effort) instead of earthbags, his books and videos are highly recommended. This particular video has excellent 3D modeling showing how the structure is built. Note the insulation around the perimeter of the home to create a less costly, miniature version of the PAHS system. That should be plenty of thermal mass to stabilize the indoor temperature year-round.

Earthbag Earthship.

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In this video, David Reed of Texas Natural Builders kindly shows us his work with developing the right plaster mix for the pallet house near Pine Ridge. This is his first full-house pallet build and his first in a severe hot-and-cold-weather climate like ours. Critics of natural building often say that natural building is not a good fit for our climate, and natural builders are in some ways blazing new territory with each building project. Plaster has been used elsewhere in the area before, by previous generations, of course, but these old ways are being improved upon by the new generation of natural builders with some trial-and-error learning a given. Reed has over twenty years experience as a conventional builder, before moving to more sustainable methods.

Texas Natural Builders
Pallet Houses

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Integrated reinforced concrete bond beam and lintels make stronger buildings. (click to enlarge)

Integrated reinforced concrete bond beam and lintels make stronger buildings. (click to enlarge)


Most often lintels are built separately from bond beams. See Wood Pole Lintels as an example.

But what if you want maximum strength for a multiple story earthbag structure (see Rainwater Towers Apartments) or if you have lots of window and door openings? Integrating the bond beam and lintels as shown in the drawing above would be a good option. Connect the rebar reinforcement in the lintels with that in the bond beam, and form and pour the concrete at the same time.

Note the vertical rebar pins that tie the concrete into the earthbag walls. Rebar pinning is an efficient way of gaining added strength. Drive 1/2” rebar pins down through the center of earthbag walls with a sledge hammer or fence post driver. Bend the rebar ends at 90 degrees and tie to the horizontal reinforcement with tie wire.

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Passive Annual Heat Storage (PAHS) earthbag house by Earthen Hand Natural Building. (click to enlarge)

Passive Annual Heat Storage (PAHS) earthbag house by Earthen Hand Natural Building. (click to enlarge)


PAHS design principles can help heat and cool the house. (click to enlarge)

PAHS design principles can help heat and cool the house. (click to enlarge)


Earthen Hand Natural Building recently has created an 800 sf earthbag house on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. Passive Annual Heat Storage (PAHS) design features were used in this building, giving it the ability to heat and cool itself passively using the earth beneath the building and the walls themselves as a battery of heat. This technique has been around a long time and has produced some amazing results. This building will also incorporate a south-facing greenhouse, greywater system, and solar.

A standard rubble trench foundation with gravel-filled poly bags was used, and the mesh bags or ‘hyperadobe’ were used in the majority of the wall. We used individual bags and not continuous bag on this project, perhaps a first for hyperadobe. These bags are similar to onion bags and they allow the fill to squish out of the tiny holes so that the clay of one bag sticks to the others around it with considerable strength. The hyperadobe technique eliminates the need for using barb wire, and instead we added borax-soaked bamboo stakes in every bag for earthquake insurance.

PAHS design involves the addition of sloping underground sheets of plastic diverting all water away from the base of the building, which keeps the soil around and under the building dry. Because it is dry we can store the excess summertime heat in the soil to be released in winter. Two air tubes wind underneath the berm that is built around the house. The air is moved by convection and the tubes bring in cool fresh air in the summer and warm fresh air in the winter.

Construction continues on the finish work. Earthen Hand will host more workshops onsite there during the summer of 2012. Please see www.EarthenHand.com for workshop information.

More PAHS info at Earth Shelters.com

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Clover Dome by United Earth Builders

Clover Dome by United Earth Builders


Located in Washington state, this structure is a beautiful artistic space and is nearing completion!

Located in Washington state, this structure is a beautiful artistic space and is nearing completion!


We are currently looking for earthbag projects in the Portland area. United Earth Builders has done many earthbag projects ranging from planters and retaining walls, to large scale commercial earthbag buildings. Check our portfolio at United Earth Builders. We are mainly looking to improve communities in all aspects and LOVE earthbag projects in all aspects. For more information check the site and send us an email.
James G

Terra-Form (website not working correctly for me)

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Watch us build an Earthbag House in Fairbanks, AK! Music by Dragonforce!

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Roofed dome by Superadobe Construccion Blogspot (click to enlarge)

Roofed dome by Superadobe Construccion Blogspot (click to enlarge)


Kentucky Dome Home roofed dome.

Kentucky Dome Home roofed dome.


Rob Wainwright's roofed dome in Australia

Rob Wainwright's roofed dome in Australia


Dome with embedded rafters at Blog Daum.net

Dome with embedded rafters at Blog Daum.net

Earthen domes evolved in deserts. Due in part to the beautiful and interesting shape, people started building earthen domes in rainier climates. But domes are more vulnerable to moisture damage than roofed structures. Without a roof, domes are exposed to the rain and snow. Plaster will eventually crack and when it does moisture can cause serious damage. One option is to build roofed domes as shown in the photos above.

Image source: Superadobe Construccion Blogspot
Image source: Kentucky Dome Home
Image source: Rob Wainwright dome in Australia
Image source: Dome with embedded rafters at Blog Daum.net

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