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Posts Tagged ‘sandbag’

Arc House (click to enlarge)

Arc House (click to enlarge)


Specifications: 672 sq. ft. interior, 1 bedroom, 1 bath, Footprint: 21′ x 51′

Description: Defined by an arc, this gently curving house uses passive solar design to capture the sun’s energy during the day and then store it in its interior mass to stabilize interior temperatures. Features include living roof and earth berm design.

Arc House (click to enlarge)

Arc House (click to enlarge)

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Zero Energy One Earthbag House

Zero Energy One Earthbag House

Specifications: 846 sq. ft. interior, 1 bedroom, 1 bath, Footprint: 36′ x 48′ not including cisterns

Description: Zero Energy One is a major step forward in sustainable housing. This revolutionary design features zero net energy use, extremely low ‘near zero’ embodied energy and extremely low cost of around $10/square foot (cost of shell, excluding energy systems). This design is the result of years of research in energy efficiency and low cost, alternative building methods.

In contrast, most zero energy homes are in the $1/4 million range, and utilize complex and expensive technologies that are unaffordable to the vast majority. In my opinion, these homes are not truly sustainable due to their size, cost, use of high embodied energy materials and complexity.

Zero net energy use: Optimized passive solar design, balanced superinsulation/thermal mass, earth sheltering, PV panels, solar hot water, airlock entries, wood stove with water jacket runs hot water through built-in bench and bed, solar wall oven, cool pantry, roofwater catchment, energy-efficient appliances, indoor herb and flower garden, optional composting toilet and greywater recycling.

Near zero embodied energy construction: Earthbag construction using recycled grain bags and other recycled materials, earth, gravel, scoria, earthen floors, earthen interior plaster, lime exterior plaster, pallet wood trusses (non-code building areas, otherwise factory trusses), rice hull roof insulation, recycled content metal roofing.

Ultra-low cost: Earthbag construction, recycled and locally obtained non-toxic natural materials, owner-builder friendly, low tech solutions.

Shown with optional Survival Shelter and concealed entry.

Optional living wall on exterior of south wall. Details coming soon.

Zero Energy One East Elevation

Zero Energy One East Elevation

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Tinyville Earthbag Domes

Tinyville Earthbag Domes

Specifications: 133 sq. ft. interior main dome, 38 sq. ft. loft, 78 sq. ft. small dome, plus 8 sq. ft. vault, 257 sq. ft. interior total, Footprint: 16′ x 29′ plus benches

Description: Like other tiny houses, Tinyville provides just the basics in a compact space. It is intended as a starter house for those with little or no building experience and very little money. This design joins a 13′ interior diameter main dome with loft and a 10′ interior diameter small dome, with a vaulted passageway.

Tinyville Earthbag Domes South Elevation

Tinyville Earthbag Domes South Elevation

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Triple Roundhouse Cluster (click to enlarge)

Triple Roundhouse Cluster (click to enlarge)


Specifications: 785 sq. ft. interior, 2 bedroom, 1 bath, Footprint: 28′ x 58′ plus buttresses

Description: This design connects three sloped roof roundhouses and adjoining closets to create a unique roundhouse cluster design that is earth-sheltered on three sides — east, west and north — with a sunny courtyard on the south. The 16′ bedroom roundhouses on either side can be used as bedrooms, home offices, studios, etc. This design features 6′ French doors, and windows high in the wall in each roundhouse, large walk-in closets, high exposed wood ceilings and exceptional energy performance. With the addition of a few features such as ceiling fans, heat recovery ventilation, solar panels and solar hot water heat, this design would meet zero energy standards. Round earthbag structures are inherently stronger than rectilinear designs, and the heavy timber roof provides exceptional strength as well.

Triple Roundhouse Cluster (click to enlarge)

Triple Roundhouse Cluster (click to enlarge)

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Customers are combining my designs in many new and interesting ways. Most of my designs are intentionally small and simple in order to keep costs low. But some people want larger houses. This can be achieved by clustering domes, roundhouses, hexagons, and adding on pantries, sun rooms, greenhouses, etc. to create a home just the way you like.

Some of these designs are truly unique. Here are three examples:

Earth Lodge Cluster (click to enlarge)

Earth Lodge Cluster (click to enlarge)

Six Pod Cluster (click to enlarge)

Six Pod Cluster (click to enlarge)


Double Arc House with Pond

Double Arc House with Pond

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Date: 7 days, April 19-25, 2010
Cost: $500 includes excellent hotel, shuttle van, breakfasts, dinners, snacks
Location: Sakon Nakhon, Northeast Thailand
Instructor: Owen Geiger
Email: strawhouses [@] yahoo dot com

Note: This is a past workshop from earlier this year, but I’m leaving it here to show the final results. Lots more detailed info is on our Earthbag Building Blog.

Roundhouse information:
Round earthbag office, 15’ interior diameter, 18” walls, earthbag foundation
Wood doors and windows, small bathroom, earthbag benches
Concrete bond beam, steel compression ring
Exposed wood ceiling with peeled eucalyptus saplings and thatch

Roundhouse Studio

Roundhouse Studio

General building plan:
Goal: build walls and roof in one week (some parts won’t be completely finished, such as the plaster and roof, but we will do as much as we can so you get at least some experience with each step of construction)
Hard, dirty work will be completed before the workshop (earthwork, digging trenches, peeling poles, etc.) so the focus can remain on learning.
Workshop participants can assist with any or all building activities as they choose (ex: you may or may not want to climb on the roof, that’s okay).
The emphasis is on hands-on learning, although there will be short training periods throughout the day with white board, and question and answer sessions.

More information here.

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Kalypso Earthbag Garage/Storage Loft

Kalypso Earthbag Garage/Storage Loft

Specifications: 357 sq. ft. interior, plus 357 sq.ft. 2nd story, total 714 sq. ft. interior, Footprint: 20′ x 24′ not including decks or benches

Description: The second floor of this versatile garage plan can be readily converted into an apartment. With some modifications, it could also make a nice home.

Kalypso Earthbag Garage/Storage Loft North Elevation

Kalypso Earthbag Garage/Storage Loft North Elevation

Kalypso Earthbag Garage/Storage Loft East Elevation

Kalypso Earthbag Garage/Storage Loft East Elevation

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Earthbag Cistern

Earthbag Cistern

Specifications: 2,000 US gallons, approximately 6′ x 10′ interior, 12′ below grade, 36″ scuttle hole

Description: No off the grid system is complete without adequate water storage. This is the first publicly available earthbag cistern plan that I am aware of. Ideal for storing rainwater from roof catchment systems (rainwater catchment/rainwater harvesting systems). Prevents freezing. Scuttle hole provides access for cleaning. No transfer of hazardous chemicals from plastics.

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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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Earthbag Roundhouse/Dome Cluster

Earthbag Roundhouse/Dome Cluster

Specifications: 1,330 sq. ft. interior including lofts in the roundhouse and both large domes, 2 bedroom, 2 bath, Footprint: 31′ x 70′

Description: Readers have shown a strong interest in my domes and roundhouses, so I decided to cluster them to create a new unique design for larger families. There is a 2-story roundhouse in the center with domes on the east and west. There are a lot of things to like about this design: possible third bedroom, game room or home office in the roundhouse loft, 2 baths, separated bedrooms, large walk-in closets, dining area next to the windows, and lots of south-facing doors and windows.

Click here for a larger image of floorplan.

I’m not sure when I’ll get around to drawing the exterior elevation view. But it’s easy to imagine since the design is similar to my other 2-story Roundhouse and Enviro Dome.

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