To continue on from our last article by Lizzie, now trading as Casa Verde Sur, on resourceful build techniques for today’s eco-builder, earthbags are a versatile, modern adaptation of a traditional way of building.
Earth buildings have unique and beautiful qualities, including being easy to heat and keep cool and offer great sound insulation. They also have a stable and healthy level of humidity. Traditional methods for creating earth walls relied on compacting soil within timber formwork which is moved onwards when each section is complete. This method is proven and has stood the test of time, but earthbag construction is simpler to get started on with very little equipment or knowledge. The polypropylene or burlap sacks themselves hold the earth while compaction is carried out. It is easy to form strong circular shapes and arches, which removes the need for lintels above doors and windows. Additionally, the roof can be domed which means roof timbers are no longer necessary. Imagine this! The building is almost completely beneath our feet already!
Earthbags can be filled with most kinds of soil that has clay content. If there is no natural clay present then clay rich soil can be brought in and mixed with the soil on site and if the clay content is too high then other soil or sand can be added. A simple test can be carried out to determine the clay to sand ratio. Building with earthbags is cheap, or free, and the sacks are readily available here in Spain. Sacks are light and easily transported to any location, the weighty materials for the build are already on site!
If anyone would like to have a go at this technique, there is a workshop in the Alpujarras from 22nd to 30th May this year. Also, for anyone interested in learning to build with tyres, there is a course running from 10th to 18th April, also in the Alpujarras. These courses are being run on a donation basis.
Lizzie Wynn is teaching a course on earth bag construction from 22nd to 30th May, in Torvizcon, near Orgiva, in las Alpujarras, Granada. Call for further details 690 321755 or 958 852082 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Casa Verde Sur is a new business founded by Lizzie Wynn, a creative, talented and empowering eco-builder. she is offering eco-construction courses, design, consultancy and construction services. Materials used are eco-friendly, often traditional or recycled, from stone, to car tyres. Women only building courses are also being offered. Check out the new website for course details and inspiring photographs.
Your ideas and dreams can become real with casa verde sur involved with your project.
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