Comments

Earth Lodge Pallet Walls — 17 Comments

  1. I would love to make my own home with pallets! The only thing with me is I would want to go big! I love the smaller pallet homes but for me it would not work. I would love to show everyone that a big home could be made out of pallets. Any tips would be great!

    • You could build any size house you want. We always recommend starting out small on a garage or tool shed to learn the basics. Make sure you have few or no building codes. Read and learn as much as you can. This blog has lots of info and we plan to continue pallet building projects.

    • Are they so bad that no one builds with wood in your area? Pallet walls would be like wood framed walls.

      Research non-toxic termite reduction methods.

  2. Hi Owen,

    I really love and appreciate the way natural and efficient building is quickly flowing in the mainstream.

    And I’ve been pondering the questions you answered yesterday in this post.

    So, after reading the post, I did a search for more images for “building an Earth Lodge” and Lo,and behold look at all your building plans in the first page of images!

    http://www.google.com/search?q=building+an+earth+lodge&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=YKL&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=imvns&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&biw=638&bih=335&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=wTFET_vlL-Lo0QGP8YDRBw#q=building+an+earth+lodge&um=1&hl=en&client=firefox-a&sa=N&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&tbm=isch&prmd=imvns&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=3266d0e002f43db5&biw=851&bih=447

  3. Hi all! I was just thinking about the stability of pallet walls. My thought was that you could drill matching holes in the solid timber that the pallet slats connect to and insert “dowel” to hold the two pieces together. The dowel could be in the form of timber or rebar. Has anyone tried this? Is it overkill? How else do you stop the Walls from bending at the joins between the pallets?

    • Most people just nail them together. In this earth lodge the posts are only a few feet apart — about every two pallets. They’re secured at the base and at the bond beam, so they’re not going anywhere.

    • Thanks, David. Great to hear from you. Pallet building is opening lots of new opportunities. Right now I’m brainstorming with Rex about pallet/juniper pole earth lodges in Texas. Great fun and very practical. He thinks these ideas are going to spread among those living in his area. Now we’re refining the design shown in my previous post to include a loft.

        • Okay, I’ll keep you posted. We’re hashing out a plan that could cost as little as $5/sq. ft. since they have free juniper poles, pallets and dirt. I love working on dirt cheap housing designs like this. They want to add a clerestory roof on my earthbag lodge so there’s room for a loft.

  4. So, Owen, do I have it wrong? My thinking/understanding was that a high embodied energy count is a bad thing when aiming for a sustainable dwelling. *confused* :-)

    • The embodied energy figure should take into account the full range from manufacturing to transport to final application and durability. Looking at it this way, metal roofing scores highly (very durable, made from recycled steel, good for roofwater collection…).

  5. I wonder, though, what the difference might be in “embodied energy” between the two roof systems? Steel sheet would surely come out worse in that discussion because of the amount of energy it takes to mine, transport, refine, transport, mold, transport, retail, transport. If I have the idea of embodied energy correct, wouldn’t all of this need to be taken into account for a true sustainable house?

    • Yes, but metal roofing scores highly in terms of embodied energy. It’s made almost entirely of recycled steel. It’s thin and so doesn’t require much steel. You can roof the whole house in one day, and it can last for decades. And it’s perfect for catching roofwater. So I would rate metal roofing more highly than a living roof with EPDM rubber membrane (which requires a stronger roof to support a living roof, etc).

  6. I forgot the gutters and some hurricane straps. Oh well, you get the basic idea. It’s just pallets on top of gravel bags with juniper posts. Super simple, super cheap.

    The double pole roof size can be adjusted to hold additional insulation.

    You could use juniper poles under the pallets instead of the box beam, and you could even replace the gravel bags with juniper poles.

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