“The small off-grid home we’re helping friends build here in the Appalachian foothills is getting a bunch of work done to it recently. The biggest task of the moment is building the earthbag stemwall, which we need to finish before our upcoming Straw Bale Workshop in July. We opted for an earthbag stemwall due to the availability of appropriate materials, the relative ease of construction, and the unique siting of the house. All things considered, I think going the earthbag route has been a good choice.
Earthbag Foundation for Floor System
“In addition to the Durisol stem wall foundation, our project for the teachers’ union office includes two long sections of earthbag foundation to support the floor joist spans inside the building. The inherent insulation value of the Durisol blocks made them our first choice for the exterior of the building, but the extremely low environmental impact of earthbag foundations made them an easy choice for the interior.
Wiki Natural House Foundation Design
Yesterday’s blog post was about the foam glass insulation we plan to use on the Wiki Natural House. Today we’re giving a sneak peak (first draft) of the foundation design. The primary design considerations are low cost, owner-builder friendly, minimal cement, must withstand cold and wet climate (insulation is key), must align with thick straw bale walls and meet UK building codes. That’s a pretty tall order. Many of my designs are for rural areas with few or no codes. In this case, we have to put a little more effort into workable solutions.
Code Approved Rammed Tire Foundations
If you spend enough time you can find almost anything now for free on the Internet. Jason has been sending me one good tip after another. He recommended Strawworks.com in the UK for their detail drawings. They’re world famous for their expertise in strawbale building. Visit their site to see their code approved rammed tire foundation detail drawing and other excellent drawings, photos and more. Note: I still prefer gravel bag foundations for their speed and ease of construction, however, it can be challenging getting them permitted in areas with building codes.
Industrial Earthbag Projects
Our focus here is on low cost, owner-built homes. From time to time it’s interesting to explore related ideas to see what’s available or going on. As we’ve reported before, there’s a whole industry that specializes in industrial earthbag projects using geotextiles or geosynthetics. Their primary journal is called Geosynthetics Magazine.
Natural Homes at Pinterest
Yesterday I posted a link to nonconventional homes at Pinterest. Afterwards I spent some time skimming the photos and found a few gems worthy of a new blog post.