Observations about the Marketability of Earthbag Building — 8 Comments

  1. “getting their own earthbag dome in exchange for doing so many volunteer hours for other builders”

    THIS. I would do this now, and for the rest of my life. I would never stop helping people build even after I got my own. I would work for free when I could, and gas money/food when I just plain had to demand payment to stay alive. No beer, thanks anyway tho. ;-)

    So many of us are dead poor. But just as many are filled with hatred and marketing. There is no community, everybody hates everybody else, and no one will lift a finger or get their hands dirty. Too busy telling their neighbors how not to live…

    We’re spread out over the Internet. If 20 or so people of this like mind got themselves together and bought a little land in a semi-civilized State/County that would let us practice math, science, and common-sense… Oh, wait, nevermind. I’m dreaming up fairy tale places again.

    If I thought there was any hope of The State getting the hell out of the way and letting decent people live, I’d head this up in a heartbeat. But I know it isn’t possible. Government is the source of all that is wrong in the world.

  2. Hello, I am a fulltime homemaker with 3 children ages 6, 3 , and 6 months. My husband and I are interested in purchasing a lot in lower market rate neighborhood in the bay area and hopefully build an earthbag home that meet code/zoning requirements. Is this possible or wishful thinking? I am aware that the city of Hesperia Ca, allows for this type of housing.
    Anyone, in the San Francisco Bay Area particularly in the metropolitan areas of the East Bay, Peninsula, North Bay and just a bit past Pacifica who are interested in this type of home and has information could you please post how this can be done.
    I have noted that not many U.S. “people of color” Asians, African-Americans, Hispanics etc. are unaware of low cost alternative methods of building, or deliberately planned communities that fit their specific lifestyle such as extended family compounds etc.
    I am also interested in a type of non-consumerist back to basics alternative community within the Bay Area, is this possible?

    • I am not aware of any earthbag houses that have been permitted and built in the S.F. Bay Area. While it is true that the City of Hesperia has permitted some earthbag buildings, this was primarily because Nader Khalili and his CalEarth Institute are located there and the city wanted them to design a municipal building. The city building department worked with CalEarth in running some seismic engineering tests to convince the city that it was safe. This is a great precedent for other possible projects elsewhere, but it does not guarantee that the building jurisdictions in the Bay Area will follow suit.

      I think that eventually cities will be allowing earthbag building, as well as other more ecological techniques, because the need for green, sustainable architecture is becoming abundantly apparent. It might just take some time for this to happen. My best advice would be for you to approach the building authorities where you want to live and talk to them about your ideas, showing them examples of other successful code-approved earthbag buildings. You can become part of the process of legitimizing this truly ecological way of building.

  3. I think a volunteer network would be terrific. The snag would be government permits. Without government, this could work without a hitch, because volunteer groups could swing from one project to the next without lags. But government interference would (as usual) gum everything up, unless there was a sudden blanket adoption of freedom in the U.S. which doesn’t look likely anytime soon.

    • What you say is true, in many cases. Fortunately, there are many places with few or no building codes. I ‘vote’ with my wallet and my feet to encourage sustainable solutions. For example, the last two communities I’ve lived in had 1. very few building codes, 2. no building codes.

Leave a Reply to Owen Geiger Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

HTML tags allowed in your comment: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>