What Are “Passive Houses?”

In 1988, two physics professors, Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist began discussing the scientific components that might lead to better energy efficiency in building construction. They read the research, dating back to the 1970s, that suggested it was possible to construct a low-energy building that was designed to exploit passive solar technologies and establish a … Read more

The Future of Straw Bale SIPs

Natural building communities have striven for decades to establish straw as a viable building material, but have until recently focused primarily on fostering labor intensive hand-stacked straw bale construction methods. Progressive architects, engineers, and builders have incrementally refined the method of straw bale construction such that the best built straw bale homes rival the performance, … Read more

CobBauge House in the UK is Code Compliant

CobBauge House in the UK, designed by Hudson Architects, is the first code-compliant form of cob building, making an ancient building technique fit 21st century requirements. It combines hemp and mud in a unique way. Traditional cob walls would have to be more than one meter thick in order to comply with contemporary building regulations. … Read more

Providing Affordable and Ecological Housing in Nigeria

Nigeria’s housing deficit currently stands at about 28 million units and it will take an investment of about $47 billion over 20 years to meet the country’s housing demand. Currently Nigeria imports 90% of the materials used in construction across the country. This fact, along with the foreign currency crisis in the country, makes housing … Read more

Building Affordable and Green Housing

The first step to cutting construction costs is “affordability by design,” which means ensuring the basic blueprint of a building is optimized to minimize costs from the outset. Biologist Carl Bergmann noticed that larger animals tended to live in colder climates, where their size helps them retain heat more efficiently. This observation suggests that larger … Read more

Rammed Earth Housing in Canada

Tony Johnson runs Earth House Holdings in Sooke, B.C., Canada. He specializes in rammed earth like his own house featured here. He used steel rebar and wool insulation, which results in exceptional strength when it comes to earthquakes and a much more insulated envelope for the colder Canadian climate. It is extremely energy efficient due … Read more