Cool Pantry Update

Cool pantry under construction
Cool pantry under construction

We’re making good progress on our cool pantry – a shed roof addition behind our kitchen. A cool pantry keeps food cool without electricity (although we’re going to use ours as a storage room). It was built during this year’s workshop. The roof is on, and the end walls (triangular areas above earthbags) are framed in and covered with tar paper and mesh. Now we’re ready for the exterior plaster and floor. It’s the most perfect earthbag structure I’ve been a part of. Everything is very plumb, level, straight and square. We tested some earthen plaster on the wall yesterday and from the experiment it seems plaster materials and labor is halved due to good workmanship.

We’re videoing every step of construction (mostly the earthbag work) and plan to create a full length earthbag video for sale. This project is very similar to building a small house and so the video should be helpful for many. It will likely take two months to complete the video, so be please patient if you’d like to get a copy. (No need to write and ask “when will the video be ready.” It will be announced here on our Earthbag Building Blog when ready.)

[Update: I’m shocked! The video is almost finished. The editing is 99% finished. There are a few details to add and then I plan to add the best YouTube videos at the end. The total length will be close to 2 hours. Stay tuned…]

Learn more about cool pantries.

4 thoughts on “Cool Pantry Update”

  1. For the cool pantry, the outward facing sides of the earthbags seem to have a very flat surface as opposed to bulging out. How did you accomplish that?
    Owen: We simply tamped the surface of the walls lightly every few courses. You don’t want perfectly flat surfaces or there’s nothing for the plaster to grab on to. I estimate this method cuts plasterwork and materials by almost half.

    I saw when you were working with clay and vetiver, you put the material in a wooden form and compacted it. How about doing the same for earthbags. Build a form that you can put the earthbag in and then tamp it. You might get a more square earthbag that would be easier to apply the mortar to. I don’t how this would affect how level the surfaces of the earthbag would be….
    Owen: That’s more cumbersome. The bags are the forms, so no need to make a wood form and move it around hundreds of times.

    The mesh bags, are they subject to sun detioration like the polypropylene bags?
    Owen: Yes. Same or even more vulnerable to UV damage. Always keep bags protected as much as possible.

    thanks, jim richard

  2. Just goes to show that a little effort and precision at the front end can save a huge amount of time and material at the back end. Can’t wait to see the finished product. A cool pantry is absolutely on my list for our far in the future home!

    • It’s a great idea, but there are limitations. Here in the tropics it won’t get real cool inside. Maybe 10-15 degree Celsius improvement from outside temps. Time will tell and we’ll report on the results later. This structure was built primarily to demonstrate how to build a cool pantry, even though we’ll use it for miscellaneous storage.

  3. Pingback: Cool Pantry Update (via Earthbag Building Blog) | Seeds-2-Sow LIVE Online

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