Off-Grid Earthbag Home in Turkey

Kerry Bingham’s off-grid earth bag home in Turkey only cost $3,761 to build. Using dirt from her own 6,500 square foot plot of land, the artist and writer filled dozens of polypropylene sacks that were then stacked to create a striking circular structure overlooking Turkey’s magical Olympos Valley.

“My goal,” she says, “is to change my lifestyle, to be aware of how I consume and how I can consume in a more responsible way.” Not only has she built a house using locally-sourced and sustainable materials – including lime plaster that has yet to be applied to the outer wall, but she has slashed her carbon and water footprint in other meaningful ways as well.

Bingham is building a compost toilet (with a view) that requires absolutely no water to function, and any grey water that she does use for washing dishes and clothes will be recycled after it goes through an on-site constructed wetland that relies on nature to filter out harmful impurities. She also intends to build a water pump that relies solely on power from the sun to function.

The neighbor – a pomegranate farmer named Dudu – was not convinced of the merits of earth bag construction, but the resiliency of Bingham’s pride and joy has had a transformative effect on all of its critics. Dudu is now a believer, arriving almost daily with gifts of fresh vegetables and pomegranates. Other villagers, who in the beginning warned that the house would never stand up to the torrential winter rains, also arrive regularly, trying to push down the walls. They fail. And the rains have come, but the house is still standing strong.

From an article in  The National by Adnan Khan.

10 thoughts on “Off-Grid Earthbag Home in Turkey”

  1. Hey Girl:

    What’s happening? I was enjoying receiving posts from you and even signed some of the petitions you forwarded. Now, I cannot find you on Facebook. Are you mad at me or something?


  2. Hi there, I appreciate that you liked my original story at The National enough to more or less re-print it here with my photo. But in the future, out of respect for the journalists who actually do the legwork to get these stories, please give credit where credit is due. A link to the original article would suffice.

    • We always link to the original article and usually only print partial articles. Somehow this one got missed. Worry, what’s the original source?

  3. Just wanted to add;
    I sweated a lot over the foundations. Living in an area both prone to earthquakes, as well as sudden flash floods in winter,(with the additional handicap of having zero building experience) I wasn’t really sure which method to choose. I had set myself a goal of using no concrete (plus it wicks up so much water, it wasn’t ideal for winter anyway), so I we just dug a half-metre trench, lined it with rocks, then gravel, then two rows of gravel-filled bags. A 6.1 earthquake just hit the Turkish coast a few days ago. The house is still standing:))

    • Fantastic news! This is the standard foundation we recommend to people almost daily. There are some doubters, but I believe this is the safest, most practical foundation around. Can you send a photo and/or add a few more details so we can do a blog post about this? Did you use double bags as we suggest (one inside the other)? Thanks in advance.

        • Yes. My email is at the top of the page under About Us. The best photo size is 600 pixels wide. Short blog posts that get right to the point are preferred (specific details of your project versus general info that’s readily found elsewhere).

  4. How interesting that folks want to come over and try to make a house “fail”. Here is a link to Sierra’s planter which was built at the edge of a lake.THere is a video showing how the planter was inundated with water over a period of time– weeks(?). It stood strong and the plaster washed off.

    If you like the idea of a small project to learn about building with earth here are some wonderful other ideas:

    BLessings to all.

    • I don’t think they want to make a house “fail” out of a mean spirit, Gail. Rather, these Turkish peasants have never seen this type of construction before, and want to be convinced of it’s merits, before adopting it for themselves. Testing to failure is very common in all types of industries, for all types of machinery and equipment.


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