The Earth Home Builder – Mechanized Earthbag Construction — 16 Comments

  1. Today the entire construction industry is being revolutionized by the 3D printing technology. And I personally feel that the use of such technology has a huge potential and is an eco-friendly process. Plus, it supports the utilization of new materials and results in low waste production.

    • There is some potential that’s for sure. We’ll see what the future holds. Most projects and machinery are geared toward big commercial projects not dirt cheap housing for the poor. It will likely take years to help average people.

  2. I just wanted to add some points while I have a second. The purpose is not for private homeowners to buy the machine. Who would do that for one use? Our goal is to provide a new standard for large scale earthbag projects to build homes for those who need it. If someone wants a private home, okay hire us and we’ll bring in the auger and build it for less potentially less than conventional. We don’t expect the general population to buy a bobcat and auger, let me make that clear. We don’t intend to serve the DIY’ers and the mainstream markets to compete with cookie cutters in areas that it would not serve. Areas that are prone to natural disasters, tornados, hurricanes, flooding, etc and ‘needs of the people’ housing is what we aim to serve with this technology. UEB has built everything earthbag from 50sqft to 2500sqft and we know what it takes to make this truly accessible to the public. For sure building by hand is a wonderful method and I/we will be building them by hand as long as we live but we will also serve a greater need with the auger and with the help of this blog, Owen and Kelly and the rest of the earthbuilding community we will improve the methods and reduce our carbon footprint and waste even further (this method REALLY has no waste it’s incredible.) I must say unto you all as well, when a community such as the Native American population has rampant drug and alcohol issues and cannot organize a community build for a DIY project then how do they get homes? Their current situation (which I am currently in the middle of) is dire. We will send more on that later and are looking for more funding to train their tribe (Yurok) to build this way and quickly because the HUD homes they are in now are falling apart and causing health problems. Earthbag is not just for the DIY’ers and people with money. Anyhoo, I’m probably rambling, but some things to think about. Thank you Sarah for that comment and you are absolutely correct!

  3. I think some of the comments are missing the point of this, which should be exciting to hear. Things are in motion where you could have crews of skilled workers who can speed this up to a commercial level.

    Conventional building is so wasteful, carbon intensive. Imagine that being replaced with alternative building like earthbag where there is less waste, less carbon, cooler in summer, rot resistant, better air quality, earthquake and hurricane safe, I could go on..

    A ragtag movement of back to the woods DIYers taking 1-3 building seasons to finish their modest sized home isn’t going change the status quo and an incredibly polluting industry. Having it mechanized, quick to throw up, knowing it’s a tested technology, these are things builders care about.

    Not everyone has the physical ability, or time or patience to do it “the cheap way” by hand. Not everyone has a crew of hardworking willing friends and family to rope into helping build. Anyways, Jerry said it well, this is like breaking the sound barrier!

    • Outstanding comment! That’s the best comment I’ve read in a long while. This seems good enough for another blog post. I try my best to explain things, but sometimes it helps to hear things explained a little differently from someone else’s point of view. Thank you for sharing your insights.

  4. I can only assume you’d need another loader to keep dirt, scoria etc. in the tube bucket. The size of the bucket shown wouldn’t take you too far. This IS for big jobs and people who have the dollars to afford it. If you have then it’s a good idea otherwise…….not so much.

    • That’s probably right. While the bobcat could scoop up soil, the long arm would be awkward. Ideally it would do one thing and stay aligned with the wall. Maybe they feed the bobcat with an auger for large jobs. I hope to get more information and do more blog posts about this in the future. They’re finishing their prototype building and it’s looking real good.

      I still like the idea of curved corners. They could drive around the outside repeatedly with very few stops.

  5. Interesting, how much does it cost? I was looking online and used bobcats of the same model in the video run from $18k-$33k, which funny enough is about as much as I intend to spend on the entire house I’m building.

    • See my other comments. It’s for mass production building. Let’s say you wanted to build numerous earthbag structures on a farm where labor costs are high. You want to build a house, barn, workshop, storage sheds, etc. After your buildings are finished you could have a business constructing other buildings in the area. You’d now have a trained crew and could oversee everything.

  6. The video just kept loading. So i gave up. I can only imagine the cost’s would take away from one of the things that makes earth bag building a good idea.

    • It’s most practical for large scale, mass production projects. Imagine rebuilding thousands of houses after a disaster and rebuilding strong houses quickly, affordably and efficiently.

      The video is also on YouTube.

  7. When I saw the pic and watched the video, I assumed that they would then use the metal tube at the bottom of the dirt loader to tamper the bag on the wall ;-)

    Still a great innovation to make earthbag building more accessible to the mainstream

  8. This machine is amazing! For natural building, this is like breaking the sound barrier was for aviation. When you have a machine that does the work and also speeds up the work you have crossed a significant threshold. Significant advancement in deed!!

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