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Shaping Buildings for the Humid Tropics — 6 Comments

  1. Looking for options for American Southeast. Alabama has a hot and humid subtropical climate and we’re trying to see what natural materials we can use that can withstand the humidity and keep the interior comfortable. We get about 60 inches of rain a year.

    • Earthen materials, like cob, adobe, rammed earth and earthbags, actually handle humidity very well. They can absorb a fair amount of moisture and naturally give it back off. They are also good thermal mass material, so they tend to stabilize interior temperatures. But in most climates, like Alabama, they need to be insulated on the exterior to keep them from getting too hot or too cold.

      • Wonderful! Could you give me an example of how to insulate the exterior? I did plan on using lime based plasters and white wash to prevent mold/mildew and to allow the natural materials to breath.

        • It is important for the walls to breath at least on one side, and this can be the interior. I bought an old adobe home several years ago and attached 1 1/2 inches of blue board insulation on the outside with long deck screws with large plastic washers. Then I attached synthetic stucco mesh over the insulation and applied a standard stucco as a protective layer. This has held up well and has made the house very thermally efficient.

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