“Earthbag construction is a type of rammed earth construction where durable bags, usually polypropylene or burlap, are filled with local earth or other materials, laid in courses and tamped down into place to form walls. The greatest advantage is that it is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to construct a green home which with some hard work can be done by the homeowner.
Other advantages of earthbag homes are that the walls are so substantial that they are severe weather and natural disaster resistant including earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and even bullets. Architect Nader Khalili under supervision of the International Conference of Building Officials tested earthbag structures simulating seismic, wind and snow loads, and the tests surpassed the rigorous 1991 Uniform Building Code requirements by 200 percent. Earthbags use local natural materials so are non-toxic and do not offgas fumes or use tremendous amounts of energy transporting building materials. They do not burn or attract vermin. They provide great thermal mass for solar energy when filled with soil, or great insulation when filled with light weight materials like perlite, vermiculite, rice hulls, or crushed volcanic rock, or even gravel for non-wicking foundations. The bags can be stacked in unusual shapes and do not require cutting down forests or using steel for structure. The bags do need to be covered with some material, usually plaster, to protect them from ultraviolet rays and water breakdown.
Earthbag homes can be built easily in remote areas where skilled construction labor may not be available since almost anyone with some simple instruction can help. They last forever and are recyclable back to the earth when no longer wanted. Currently you will see them mostly in the west in states like Arizona or New Mexico, but they can be built anywhere. Because the dirt can be free, a small earthbag home can cost as little as $1,000.”
Read more at the source: Examiner.com