Mesh Bags of Recycled Foam

Patti Stouter has been experimenting with all sorts of things, including using mesh bags of recycled foam. She wants to build a Nubian vault with these bags of foam on a rebar frame. Scrap materials are often large enough to fit well in cheaper open weave vexar mesh tubes. This stretchy plastic tubing is used … Read more

Condensation Problems in Cold Climates

Kelly Hart and I have been following the The Year of Mud cob house blog for about 2-3 years. Ziggy, the builder and author of the blog, learned the hard way that cob (actually, earth building in general) is not a good choice in cold climates. Kelly has been warning people for years at … Read more

Instructable: How to Build an Insulated Earthbag House

Energy performance on most buildings can be improved with insulation, including those made of earth such as adobe and earthbag structures. Although most earthen structures are located in hot, dry climates, there is increasing demand for low-cost, eco-friendly earth building techniques in cold climates. This article explores four innovative methods for insulating earthbag buildings, which … Read more

$220,000 Affordable Housing

I almost jumped out of my chair when I read about this ‘affordable housing’ project in Alaska. The estimated $220,000 cost for this home is “less than half of the cost of new homes recently built in the village.” It has 900 sq. ft. conditioned space, 1080 sq. ft. total. (That’s about $204/sq. ft.) I … Read more

How Much Wall Insulation Do I Need?

From time to time we answer reader’s questions. Jeff: We are looking at building a home on acreage in central north Michigan. It is extremely cold in the wintertime where we are looking. Would an earthbag home insulated with rice hulls (using 10″ tube sandbags on exterior of earthbag walls) be sufficient for that kind … Read more