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Author Topic: Earthbag construction  (Read 7762 times)

Offline fred

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Earthbag construction
« on: March 08, 2008, 11:27:44 AM »
Heres is what might be another way to build cheap housing in the Philippines. Definitely  worth exploring..Construction using earth,sand,gravel or palay and rice sacks.
Palay for example has very high insulation properties..
When the bags are in position they are rendered with cement..













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Re: Earthbag construction
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2008, 11:54:01 AM »
Certainly a good idea and well worth exploring.

Colin

Offline coutts00

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Re: Earthbag construction
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2008, 12:28:28 PM »
Fred,

I had read about this as well. When I emailed the guy driving it here, he did not bother to reply. Oh well, not to worry. He has similar build times for similar size buildings and similar costs, his materials cost less but labor costs were higher. More form work required to hold stuff in place, and the structural strength is not as high from a wind loading perspective, although I think his R factors for insulation would be much better due to the density of his walls. I just have the feeling that a piece of 2x4 traveling at 100 miles per hour horizontally would go straight through his walls and into the people inside, something I don\'t have to worry about with the reinforced concrete in the dome.

I have been researching Eco friendly construction for years and none of this has been done on a whim. Looking at ways to reduce our carbon foot print so to speak, to use our new global warming tech-no politically correct speak. One of the best ways to reduce your costs is to bury your home, under 3-4 feet of soil, this depth is enough to keep the internal temp at a comfortable 75 deg all yr round with minimal use of heating or air conditioning. Definitely something I am considering doing with a dome house of at least partially. If I put the house 10 feet down into the soil and leave the upper part exposed I cut my costs considerably.

I\'ll have to find it again, but the Iranians have a centuries old technology for keeping buildings cool using a wind tower, with openings on all four sides of a tower to catch the prevailing wind. The tower has tunnels built in it for each sides openings, as the wind blows it enters the tower openings on the windward side, the air flows down into the building, on its way down it is cooled by the thermal mass of the tower, as the wind flows around the top of the tower the venturi effect pulls air from the opposite side openings and pulls warm air from the building. At night the thermal mass of the tower works in reverse as the tower is warmer it pulls air from the building without wind, heating it by convection and releasing it to the outside thereby pulling cooler air from outside to replace it.

Someone mentioned in a post that they have a stream near the house. If it is on your property, consider covering part of the stream to form a chamber, then using flexible conduit and a fan pull that air into the house, the flowing water will be cooler than the outside air and will bring down the temp as the air passes over it. Almost free air conditioning, just remember to put a screen on it to keep out the bugs.

Another alternative and one I am considering for here, we have our own pump on the property, I have thought about running 2 lines down to the water table and creating a closed loop system, then running those lines through the roof and walls and even through a radiator from a car with a fan. As I pump the cool water from underground, up around the house cooling the walls and the ceiling it will pull the warmth from the room as heat flows to cool always trying to bring the cool to an even temp with the warm. If I cool the walls it will pull the heat from the room, pump that closed system water up through a storage tank on the roof, free hot or warm water for a shower, and then back to the artesian well to remix with the ground water, allowing the earth to cool it in the way down and it can remix with the existing water.

Some larger buildings use this principle, its a chilled water or stored water air conditioner, one building I worked in with Boeing in California had 1/2 million gallons of chilled water underground, they ran chillers at night, to drop the temp of the water by 10 deg below the ambient temp of the outside air, by pumping this through the building and past fans, they were able to have air conditioning without the cost of separate compressors and such.

Wayne
Wayne  ;D ;D

Offline fred

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Re: Earthbag construction
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2008, 12:33:00 PM »
I was having a chat with a family member here that organised and supervised our building project..
He says that this type of construction idea will have problems in the planning stage in regards receiving building permits etc..
He says I might get away with it in a rural location but not in the city..

Offline coutts00

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Re: Earthbag construction
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2008, 12:34:30 PM »
Depends on how much you pay them.

Wayne
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Offline fred

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Re: Earthbag construction
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2008, 12:50:33 PM »
Wayne..
Nothing goes at 100 MPH where I plan to build..About the fastest thing there is the carabao and that is usually attached to a long rope when it is not pulling a plow..
I think each sack layer sits on barbed wire BTW and far stronger than you may think.

Somebody mentioned here that it would be cheaper to build a swimming pool from the ground up..This system looks like it was designed to construct a kidney shaped pool to me(4ft deep)..Of course I would need to somehow integrate steel reinforcements..I will look into this carefully..
We were having a discussion once elsewhere about the car radiator idea with water circulating through it.. One of the guys suggested having the water sump placed in the fridge.. You could even place it in the freezer compartment if you add some anti freeze.. Cheap A/C?
I`ll never know if it actually works until I get one up and running!! Seeing is believing.

Offline coutts00

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Re: Earthbag construction
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2008, 01:19:38 PM »
I think you are better off using beer instead of anti freeze and run a pipe to a tap just past your chair, as the alcohol in the beer wont freeze as fast u will be in luck.

Wayne
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Offline fred

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Re: Earthbag construction
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2008, 01:32:13 PM »
Great idea Wayne!!
Im beginning to think that we are on the same wave length!!

The water sump in the freezer thing (with a small hole for hose going through the freezer wall to the rad) seemed like a good idea as most houses  run a the fridge anyway...

Offline sgtflyfisher

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Re: Earthbag construction
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2008, 08:33:55 AM »
EB const is not new to the PI, check out http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/bac/2005/02/03/bus/first.earthbag.shelter.system.in.escalante.html
or do a google for Illac Diaz and earthbag for more info.

I have been interested in this form of const since first deciding to winter in the Phils after retirement. major cost is labor, not nec. skilled labor, just labor. (And I do understand it is hard work) If you can find volcanic ash or a by product of sugar production called \"sugar bagasse\" to mix with the sand more the better as the result is very cement like, just not as hard. (not hard enough for a highway but fine for a wall) The finished home done right will be very energy efficient, highly wind resistant, and stable in earthquake. There are some considerations for tropics, drainage becomes very important, no good having standing or flowing water working on the earth....  The finished product need not be a dome, more conventional construction can begin at the top plate of the walls.

I think when I retire 2012 I will give it a try, plan to start with a small outbuilding or one room home for relative or other needy soul. Take what I learn and decide if I want a house built that way.

Best,

Jeff

Offline coutts00

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Re: Earthbag construction
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2008, 08:59:19 AM »
There is nothing wrong with earthbag construction, in fact I am all for it. Having read several article on my self over the years, I am interested to try it myself. Certainly a cheap alternative and the capability for quick construction is there. The density of the walls gives the home a stored energy capability, which will keep it cooler in Summer.

I think this is a green alternative to standard construction and would certainly be good in areas of limited power availability, however where large quantities of the right kind of fill are not available it could be difficult, sand is not really the best fill, yet that seems to be what we have an abundance of on islands with little power. Also trucking large quantities of fill to a site, seems to have double duty. Fill the truck, empty the truck, fill the bags, seems like a lot of labor, maybe the bags could be taken to where the fill is available and filled onsite then trucked ready to use to the site.

I think one of the issues with the standard construction methods one you reach the top plate is how to affix the top plate to the earth bags, can\'t be nailed or bolted like concrete or wood, so that means some kind of pillars inside or outside the house to afix the roof to. Using standard Filipino methods probably concrete pillars, but then you have gaps where the bags meet the concrete or building the wall outside the pillars or inside the pillars. I notice that Illac uses a stucco mortar on the outside of the bags and he uses the bags for the roof as well mitigating the need for a top plate. One of the problems with the bags is the weight of the bags, it makes for a very heavy roof without any structural supports, if the integrity of any one bag is poor it could lead to the collapse of the roof onto the occupants below.

Wayne
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Offline sgtflyfisher

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Re: Earthbag construction
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2008, 09:33:42 AM »
Wayne,

I was reading and posting to the dome home thread as you were doing the same to my post... If I remember right, a top plate is affixed by bolts that are welded to a 6\" x 6\" (apx) plate which is placed a layer below the final top layer. For a domed structure of the size you envision, a reusable frame can be used in place of the balloon. The frame supports the bags and acts as a guide to get the proper curvature, then when the bags are in place it is removed and the structure is self supporting. Your right sand is a poor though not unusable fill, but when mixed with the sugar bagasse it is stabilized. You are also rig about that this process is very labor intensive, though I can think of many ways to reduce that, and fabrication of labor saving devices to reduce the work should be short work for guys who can make a jeep out of a 50 gal drum...  As to the integrity of the bags, it is expected to be poor and the bags must be covered with stucco to prevent deterioration from sun and other weather. Once stuccoed it should all be good. If a cememtacious (valc ash or bagasse) material is added, even cement to a mix of about 1 to 10 (i think) the baterial hardens in the bags and the material becomes unimportant after the curing process.


Here in Michigan I recently finished our Foam Home, structural insulated panel, house. Even the basement is wood panled with foam cores. Last mo it was cold as heck and the gas bill just over a hundred bucks, and we don\'t keep it freezin either. Also very, very quiet inside. Might even seal out crowing roosters.

Offline fred

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Re: Earthbag construction
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2008, 09:14:25 AM »
First off..Wayne,thanks for the added info on the dome construction method..Much appreciated..
The material used in the sacks in pictures above is adobe soil..
From what I can gather this soil is easily compacted and is dug out from the land in which it is built so material costs are minimal.
As we all know,labour in the provinces is not an issue as it is so cheap.
Im sure that the end product is strong but to be honest I would be far happier to have concrete posts and roof beam/plate to guarantee stability.
One problem that I can think of is that all that earth removed is going to leave a huge hole somewhere..It will kill two birds with one stone if you wanted a swimming pool I suppose.
The picture below perhaps provides another solution for a curved roof BTW..




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Re: Earthbag construction
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2008, 08:07:21 PM »
Read more on how this is being applied here by Iliac Diaz and his My Shelter Foundation, a non-profit organization which aims to incorporate earth-made, low-cost building materials for residents of far-flung, rural areas in

http://livinginthephilippines.com/forum/index.php?topic=867.0

Offline coutts00

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Re: Earthbag construction
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2008, 08:20:48 PM »
Read more on how this is being applied here by Iliac Diaz and his My Shelter Foundation, a non-profit organization which aims to incorporate earth-made, low-cost building materials for residents of far-flung, rural areas in

http://livinginthephilippines.com/forum/index.php?topic=867.0


One problem myself and others on the forum have run into Keith is contacting Mr. Diaz. He is related to a poster on the forum, who inquired after him and he is in the US doing his thesis, and is to busy to reply to emails. My wife originally bought his name to my attention, and I researched him and tried in vain to contact him, maybe others will have better luck.

Wayne
Wayne  ;D ;D