24” Earthbag Modules

Using a standard-sized module can simplify the building design process. An even two foot module, for instance, is easy to plot on graph paper. This makes it easier to draw plans and calculate materials and costs. Another benefit of 24” earthbag modules is increased overlap between courses. Many earthbag builders just fold over the ends … Read more

Comparison to Sand Bag Bunkers

From time to time we’ll post answers to readers’ questions. Q: How do earthbag structures compare to military sand bag bunkers? A: We know sand bags have been in use by the military for a very long time, possibly as long as 250 years. See Earthbag History Footnote. We also know sand bags (earthbags) are … Read more

Using Scrap Metal for Bracing

This post was contributed by Patti Stouter. What building materials are available near a disaster site?  Broken pipes, tubular steel, corrugated metal roofing?  All of these can be used to stiffen earthbag walls. Corners of buildings are especially liable to earthquake damage.  Horizontal motion in a quake can be twice as powerful as vertical motion.  … Read more

Magnesium Cement for Roofs and Plaster

There is a whole class of cement that was very popular in the days before the invention and manufacture of Portland cement quickly replaced its use. Generally classified as magnesium-based cement, this material was used in historic times in Europe, India, and China, among other countries.  It is unfortunate that Portland cement has replaced the … Read more

Corrugated Metal for Bond Beams and Wall Bracing

Our earthbag design team is busy creating home and shelter designs, as well as innovative building ideas for the reconstruction effort in Haiti. (See Kelly Hart’s Alternative Bond Beam and Lintel system, for one example.) As you’re probably aware, conventional bond beams and foundations are made with reinforced concrete, but these are costly, labor intensive … Read more

Building a Glorieta

Many of you may have wondered what the structure shown in our masthead is.  These images are of a Glorieta that is a sort of glorified gazebo that  emerged directly from the soil surrounding it.  This was created as part of  a conference about sustainability, held in Crestone, Colorado in 2003, attended by youth from … Read more