CalEarth’s Prototype for Haiti

The current newsletter from CalEarth describes how they have been designing an earthbag shelter/home prototype for use in Haiti.  This structure, consisting of a 10 ft. main dome surrounded by 3 apses (a 7 ft. sleeping apse, a 5 ft. fire cooking apse with storage below, and a 5 ft. apse that can be used … Read more

To Code or Not to Code?

We often get questions about where in the U.S. it is possible to build a home without some authority looking over your back and telling you what can and can’t be done. This is especially pertinent to earthbag building since as yet there are no codes that directly apply to this method, meaning that it … Read more

Interior Walls

Using earthbags for interior walls would take up too much space and so they’re generally not recommended for this purpose. Thinner interior walls are more efficient. The easiest solution is to frame interior walls with 2x4s or, for plumbing walls, 2x6s. But there are more sustainable alternatives. On some of my plans I use adobe, … Read more

Rounded Corners on Earthbags

Square corners and tunnel-like window and door openings just don’t look right to me on natural homes. Gently curved openings and corners are much more elegant. Rounded openings have numerous advantages. Around windows, they allow more light into the home and improve the view. And they add a little extra space around doors, making it … Read more

Earthbag Dojo

I just met Disa and Rey at my latest earthbag workshop. I was really impressed with their dojo design and wanted others to see it. The Dojo and Wellness Center design is an adaptation of Cal-Earth’s eco dome. Our dojo will be built first at the center, and gradually we will build our living quarters … Read more

Visualizing Your Design

In addition to drawing your plan on graph paper, I suggest marking things on the floor or outside in the dirt to help you visualize your future home. (This assumes you’re building a small structure.) You can scratch an outline of your rooms on the ground with a pointed stick or use stakes to define … Read more