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Posts Tagged ‘earthbag’

This cordwood house could be built with earthbags, straw bales or other sustainable materials. (click to enlarge)

This cordwood house could be built with earthbags, straw bales or other sustainable materials. (click to enlarge)


Specifications: 776 sq. ft. interior, 2 bedroom, 1 bath, Footprint: 30′ x 35′

Description: This simple yet practical home plan is shown with cordwood walls. The same house can be made with earthbags, straw bales, adobe, stone and other materials.

Cordwood house floorplan (click to enlarge)

Cordwood house floorplan (click to enlarge)

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This ecoresort design joins two earthbag roundhouses with private baths between. (click to enlarge)

This ecoresort design joins two earthbag roundhouses with private baths between. (click to enlarge)


Specifications: Two 16′ diameter roundhouses = 402 sq. ft. interior plus 80 sq. ft. baths, total 482 sq. ft. interior (241 per unit), 1 bed, 1 bath per unit, Footprint: 19′ x 49’

Description: This ecoresort design joins two earthbag roundhouses with private baths between. The roof extends over the porch to create a shaded area with benches for relaxing. Windows on all sides provide optimum ventilation and thermal comfort (15 degrees F or 8 degrees C cooler inside than out). Glass block and bottle walls add a splash of color and fun. Thatch could be used, although metal roofing is more durable and fire resistant, requires less maintenance and allows for roofwater collection. With just a little modification, the two units could be joined to create a home by enclosing the porch as a passageway, converting one bathroom into a laundry room, and deleting one kitchen.

Double Unit Ecoresort floorplan. (click to enlarge)

Double Unit Ecoresort floorplan. (click to enlarge)


When something works exceeding well, it makes sense to pursue similar options. I’ve been saying for some time that earthbag roundhouses are the simplest, fastest, easiest, most practical way to build with earthbags. (Domes are great in some ways, but they have certain design limitations and are not the best choice for our hot, rainy climate. Square and rectangular designs have some benefits, but tend to be a bit boring, especially for an ecoresort, and long straight walls require additional support.)

That’s one reason I’ve created designs such as Two Roundhouses with Greenhouse, Three Roundhouses Design, my Hobbit designs, as well as numerous other roundhouse designs at Earthbag House Plans. (You can easily browse all roundhouse plans by selecting ‘Round’ in the Category menu on the right side of the page.) Note — most people end up modifying these basic designs to meet their needs, which can easily be done for a modest fee.

Each step of construction is explained in this Earthbag Roundhouse Instructable.

All plans are available through Dream Green Homes. Not all plans are shown. Just ask if there’s something you don’t see.

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Custom Crow (click to enlarge)

Custom Crow (click to enlarge)


Specifications: 1,064 sq. ft. interior plus 510 sq. ft. loft, 3 bedroom, 1 bath, Footprint: 31′ x 41′ plus porch

Description: One of my favorites, this design has a cathedral ceiling over the main living space, wood stove, passive solar design and large porch on the west to block the hot afternoon sun. There is a large loft over the bedrooms and bath. This new version has three bedrooms. The original Crow house design has two bedrooms.

Custom Crow floorplan (click to enlarge)

Custom Crow floorplan (click to enlarge)

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Rainwater Towers Apartments (click to enlarge)

Rainwater Towers Apartments (click to enlarge)


Specifications: Three 16′ interior diameter roundhouses, total 660 sq. ft. interior, one bedroom, one bath, Footprint: 39′ x 43′

Description: This three-story, triple roundhouse tower apartment complex is designed to provide affordable housing in urban areas. The towers are primarily earthen construction. Made with earthbag tubes filled with earth and tamped solid, very few manufactured/processed materials are required. This greatly reduces construction costs. The apartment name comes from the fact rainwater is captured on the roof and directed to underground cisterns, which reduces demand on city water supplies. Each apartment is accessible by a spiral staircase in the front tower. Features include spacious 201 sq. ft. bedroom with large closet, modern kitchen and comfortable living room. All rooms are round to create an embracing, inviting ambience. The round towers are naturally stable and form a visually striking exterior.

Rainwater Towers Apartments floorplan (click to enlarge)

Rainwater Towers Apartments floorplan (click to enlarge)

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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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Two Roundhouses with Greenhouse earthbag house design (click to enlarge)

Two Roundhouses with Greenhouse earthbag house design (click to enlarge)

This is my second plan that’s designed specifically for building roundhouses in stages. As I stated in a previous blog post, I think building roundhouses like this is the simplest, easiest way to build an earthbag home: build in stages, one roundhouse at a time so you can pay with cash and move in right away. It’s far easier to start small and add on later than jump right into building a large home that could take months or even years. Please note, this design illustrates just one of many possible ways to build in stages with an added greenhouse. Many of my clients come up with their own design, often by combining various plans and options of mine. So have fun. Make a simple sketch and send to me at naturalhouses [AT] gmail.com for a free estimate. One easy way to do this is to print the plans from my website and cut out the parts you’re interested in. Rearrange the parts as you wish, glue them to another piece of paper, and draw any remaining parts by hand. Write notes on your sketch if needed. Scan and save as a jpeg file and email to me. This could also be a fun school project and good way to learn about designing houses.

Two Roundhouses with Greenhouse floorplan (click to enlarge)

Two Roundhouses with Greenhouse floorplan (click to enlarge)

This unique design combines: – Hobbit House: 471 sq. ft. interior, optional 471 sq. ft. loft, one bedroom, one bath, Footprint: 28′-6″ diameter – Roundhouse Studio (master bedroom in this design): 177 sq. ft. interior, fold-out bed, 1 bath, Footprint: 18′ diameter, plus buttress – Greenhouse for year-round food production: 70 sq. ft. interior Total: 718 sq. ft. interior, Footprint: 38 x 52 ft. Related: Three Roundhouses Design

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Earthbag Lodge with Domes (click to enlarge)

Earthbag Lodge with Domes (click to enlarge)


Earthbag Lodge with Domes (click to enlarge)

Earthbag Lodge with Domes (click to enlarge)


Specifications: Lodge = 800 sq. ft. interior, 19’ interior DIA master bedroom dome plus loft = 452 sq. ft., two 16’ interior DIA bedrooms plus lofts = 600 sq. ft., one 16’ interior DIA bath/mechanical dome = 201 sq. ft., two baths, total = 2,053 sq. ft., Footprint: 62′ x 66′

Description: A first of its kind earthbag home that captures the timeless and magical appeal of earth sheltering in the round. Based on ancient Native American designs, this modern earth lodge with living roof will keep you cozy and warm even in the harshest climates, because it is compact, earth-sheltered and superinsulated. Heating options include wood heating and/or radiant floor heat. The lodge ceiling is exposed wood poles. South and east-facing windows and skylight over the kitchen ensure ample daylighting in the lodge. Mechanical and bedroom domes are attached with earthbag vaults.

Earthbag Lodge with Domes floorplan (click to enlarge)

Earthbag Lodge with Domes floorplan (click to enlarge)

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