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Posts Tagged ‘sustainable building’


Demonstration wall showing cordwood stacked on earthbag bag foundation (click to enlarge)

Demonstration wall showing cordwood stacked on earthbag bag foundation (click to enlarge)


Demonstration wall showing cordwood stacked on earthbag bag foundation (click to enlarge)

Demonstration wall showing cordwood stacked on earthbag bag foundation (click to enlarge)


There are a lot of little details you can search on the Internet. This is just a basic introductory video to show you the cordwood/earthbag concept. What I like to do is have the mortar recessed slightly. It looks a little better if the wood is protruding slightly. You smooth this out. The mix is very similar — it’s basically cob. You could also call it earthen mortar.

Here is my general impression of cordwood construction. It’s extremely beautiful. It’s very practical in certain areas where you have an abundant wood supply. But it’s very labor intensive. Earthbag is several times faster. So it’s very slow. What I would recommend for most people is maybe just use it around a doorway, an entryway, because it’s very beautiful. Maybe around your fireplace, something like this, because it’s very beautiful. You can search the Internet and see some really beautiful examples of cordwood construction.

You can watch almost 100 videos at Earthbag Natural Houses YouTube channel. Each step of instruction, including how to make gravel bag foundations, is shown in detail.
Earthbag Instructable: steo-by-step earthbag building instructions

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We’ve had several reports on Project Somos. This video is their May 2011 update. They’re doing outstanding work and I encourage readers to study their website and learn more about how they are building.

Compassion Fruit Society began construction of the eco-sustainable Project Somos Children’s Village near Tecpan, Guatemala. The Village will become the forever home to orphaned and abandoned children. The homes are being constructed using earthbag construction. Each home will have a professionally trained Guatemalan foster mother raising up to seven children.

Previous posts with details about their building system:
Plastering of the First Project Somos Earthbag House
Rate of Earthbag Wall Building
Somos Children’s Village
Interior Bottle Walls
Project Somos in Guatemala

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Black walnut tree trunk side table

Black walnut tree trunk side table


Rustic western dining room table with stump base

Rustic western dining room table with stump base


Stump wood coffee table with slab top

Stump wood coffee table with slab top


Cyprus tree stump seat, lamp stand or side table

Cyprus tree stump seat, lamp stand or side table


Zafra, one of our readers, suggested this topic on furniture made with tree stumps and tree trunks. This ultra low cost, all natural furniture is made with logging wastes. Logging companies take all the biggest, straightest pieces and leave behind large volumes of scrap wood. With a little imagination and some time, thrifty scavengers can turn these scraps into beautiful furniture that can last generations.

Image source: Iran Design.com (excellent collection)
Image source: Andy Sanchez.com (excellent collection)
Image source: Live Auctioneers.com
Image source: This Next.com

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Can anyone in Europe help line up contacts, home tours, etc.? Their contact info is on our Bulletin Board.

Hello friends,
My name is Ivo Christov and I’m writing you this letter from Sofia, Bulgaria. Allow me to introduce myself with few words: I and my wife are founders of “Charity on Wheels” Foundation, recently established and created for one simple purpose – to build an ecological village made only by earthbags. This idea is very innovative, nature-friendly, beautiful and cheap.

With this intention and for that reason we are going to raise money through a European tandem bike tour including Greece, Albania, Croatia, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, England, Nederland, Deutschland, Poland, Ukraine, Moldova and Romania.
The thing that we want from you is to help us with contacts, people, ideas, eventual workshops or places to visit and see already build domes of earth bags across the Europe.

Thank you in advance,
Best regards,
Ivo

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As one of the top natural builders who influenced the direction of my life, we’ll be discussing more of Ken Kern’s building ideas. This is the stuff that fueled my imagination and passion for affordable housing when I was a young man. It was obvious to me 35-40 years ago that modern building materials are not affordable to the average person and so I’ve been intent on finding lower cost alternatives ever since.

“This is one of the finest books on low-cost owner-built homes that I have read. Mr. Kern specifies the general principles of low-energy consumption and low-cost living with an artistic expression of living spaces. In particular, he specifies ways to build your home to evolve with your life and ability to invest more in your home with passing time. His philosophy is to avoid going into deep debt, by constructing only the necessities to begin with, then enlarge the structure in a planned and integrated way. He has many original ideas and he was also an experimentalist. He researched his low-cost philosophy around the world to find new solutions to many construction problems. He plans and constructs his homes with natural heating and air conditioning integrated into the structure. Ken Kern was a heroic architectural pioneer in the field of low-cost owner-built housing.” – Google Books

Amazon.com

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The Arts Center Hastings includes earthbag foundation, straw bale walls and many other sustainable features.

The Arts Center Hastings includes earthbag foundation, straw bale walls and many other sustainable features.


The Arts Centre Hastings was designed by Chris Magwood and Ingrid Cryns, and built by the students of the 2007 Sustainable Building and Design program at Fleming College, under the direction of Chris Magwood and Ali Lam. Located in the Madoc Skate Park in downtown Madoc, Ontario, the project was funded by the Municipality of Centre Hastings. The building is designed to host indoor performance events for up to 80 people, and outdoor performances for up to 500. A slideshow showing each step of construction is here.

Arts Center Hastings
Chris Magwood.ca
Endeavour Centre

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How to have a good life (click to enlarge)

How to have a good life (click to enlarge)


The diagram above shows how sustainable building is one important part of having a good life.

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