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Archive for the ‘Free shelter designs’ Category

HNC Earthbag House (click to enlarge)

HNC Earthbag House (click to enlarge)


“The Haitian National Congress (HNC) asked me to conduct training next May for bright and eager Haitian adult citizens who want to become entrepreneurs, nudge their country more toward functional democracy, learn problem solving skills and learn free enterprise practices that will increase their personal income. These trainees will then return to each of Haiti’s 10 departments to teach others about developing cottage businesses, managing money, establishing new markets, increasing vegetable production and more.

Haiti needs more housing stock. For the individual Haitian, owning a home and building equity in it is a way to better oneself financially. HNC is working with folks who have minimal income. HNC encourages them to build wealth which helps the country build a stronger economy. That leads to more jobs, more children getting educated, better health care, etc. To have value in the housing market, they need a house that is modern (plumbing and electricity), durable (earthquake and hurricane resistant) and of course, affordable. With a modern and durable house as collateral you can borrow money to start a small business. Lack of access to capital is a major barrier in the third world to individuals lifting themselves out of poverty. Earthbag houses are perfect. Hands on learning how to build an earthbag house will be an important part of the HNC training. The trainees will learn, and they will in turn train others in earthbag building. Modifications can be made in the field in response to local feedback.

Dr. Owen Geiger took my basic ideas, enhanced them greatly and developed an attractive plan. It is a durable and leak proof ‘core house’ with a multipurpose room (kitchen and living room), bathroom and bedroom. There is a covered, raised, and railed front porch for Haitian style outdoor living and for social gathering. Also, Dr. Geiger designed the walls a bit higher than 8’, dropped the ceiling slightly and put two ladder accessible lofts above. There are covered porches around the entire house that can serve as outdoor cooking, food preparation and work areas. They can also be easily converted into additional rooms. HNC and I are happy with this earthbag house plan that offers so much flexibility. The owners will have several options for sleeping, storage and work areas. While the disaster resistant core house remains the same, the lofts and porches allow each family to set up the house just the way they like it in order to meet their specific needs.”

HNC Earthbag House floorplan (click to enlarge)

HNC Earthbag House floorplan (click to enlarge)


Specifications: 288 sq. ft. interior, 274 sq. ft. loft, one bedroom, one bath, covered porch area: 903 sq. ft., footprint: 31’x43’

Source: Dr. Jerry Epps Teach Democracy
HNC House website with free plans coming soon

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Free Economizer Earthbag House Plan (click to enlarge)

Free Economizer Earthbag House Plan (click to enlarge)


Specifications: 448 sq. ft. interior, 1 bedroom, 1 bath, Footprint: 19′ x 31′

Description: This plan is designed to be compact and efficient. Most houses this size do not have as many features — washer/dryer, wood stove, and modern kitchen and bath. There are even two closets. An archway separates the bedroom from the main living area, yet maintains a sense of privacy with a room divider. Note: this plan is listed in the free shelter category.

Free Economizer Earthbag House Floorplan (click to enlarge)

Free Economizer Earthbag House Floorplan (click to enlarge)

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Solar Pit House (click to enlarge)

Solar Pit House (click to enlarge)

Specifications: 1,127 sq. ft. interior living space, 441 sq. ft. interior greenhouse, total = 1,568 sq. ft. interior, Footprint: 36’x53’

Description: This modern solar pit house is based on the traditional pit house. The construction is much the same. Additional ‘modules’ have been added to create an elongated rectangular design for added living space and windows added on the south for solar gain. Each module is based on wood posts set in geopolymer or concrete footings. Wood beams approximately 10”-12” diameter are joined at the posts with half lap joints and pinned in place with rebar or logging spikes. Smaller poles around the perimeter lean against the beams. 24” wide earthbag walls with a reinforced geopolymer or concrete bond beam rest on rubble trench foundations.

Solar Pit House (click to enlarge)

Solar Pit House (click to enlarge)


Solar Pit House Section View (click to enlarge)

Solar Pit House Section View (click to enlarge)

Complete drawings available at http://naturalbuildingblog.com/house-plans/free-house-plans/.
More information at our Natural Building Blog:
Solar Pit House Building Details
Evolution of the Pit House
Affordable, Superinsulated Cold Climate Homes

Note to other designers: I’d like to refine this design with input from other design professionals and make all drawings freely available on the Internet. Please email me at strawhouses [at] yahoo.com if you would like to contribute. Or just leave a comment here if you’re short on time.

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Specifications: 8′ diameter interior, 50 sq. ft. interior, Footprint: 11′ diameter plus buttress/retaining walls

Description:This dome was designed and built for Mother Earth News magazine, which is now available in print (August/September 2009) and online.

It was designed as a low-cost multipurpose farmstead structure that could be used as a rootcellar, storm shelter, garden shed, cool pantry or even chicken coop.

Mother Earth News Earthbag Dome Floorplan

Mother Earth News Earthbag Dome Floorplan

Mother Earth News Earthbag Dome

Mother Earth News Earthbag Dome

You Tube dome video showing the main steps of construction:

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Earthbag Cluster Lodging

Earthbag Cluster Lodging

Specifications: 94 sq. ft. interior per unit, Footprint: 11′ x 13′

Description: These small shelters provide lodging for all types of sustainable communities, including ecovillages, training centers, youth camps, spiritual retreats, eco-resorts, and for refugee and natural disaster relief efforts. The curved shape adds interest and stability, while relatively straight end walls enable units to be joined for maximum efficiency. The design below shows two units joined together. Many other combinations are possible. Note: this plan is now listed in the free shelter category.

Earthbag Cluster Lodging (Double Units)

Earthbag Cluster Lodging (Double Units)

Earthbag Cluster Lodging (Double Units) South Elevation

Earthbag Cluster Lodging (Double Units) South Elevation

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Economizer Earthbag House

Economizer Earthbag House

Specifications: 432 sq. ft. interior, 1 bedroom, 1 bath, Footprint: 19′ x 30′

Description: This plan is designed to be compact and efficient. Most houses this size do not have as many features — washer/dryer, wood stove, and modern kitchen and bath. An archway separates the bedroom from the main living area, yet maintains a sense of privacy with a room divider. Note: this plan is now listed in the free shelter category.

Economizer Earthbag House East Elevation

Economizer Earthbag House East Elevation

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Earthbag Resort Rental

Earthbag Resort Rental

Specifications: 232 sq. ft. interior, 1 bedroom, 1 bath, Footprint: 15′ x 25′ excluding carport

Description: There is a good market for durable, energy efficient vacation cabins/resort rental units and this plan is designed to fill the need. It can be built as shown for hot climates or flipped 180 degrees and used for cold climates. The area under the extended roof can be used as a carport or covered patio area. Note: this plan is now listed in the free shelter category.

Earthbag Resort Rental West Elevation

Earthbag Resort Rental West Elevation

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