Building with earthbags is essentially building with adobe bricks without going through the lengthy process of making them. You take polypropylene sandbags, fill them with a moist mix of sand and clay, tamp them down hard and connect the layers with 4 point barbed wire. Then, you cover them over with an earthen plaster.

In reality, I didn't use polypropylene bags. Some Brasilians started a type of construction they call hyperadobe which uses mesh bags, or continuous tubing, made from the same material as the onion or potato bags in the grocery store. They don't require barbed wire, though otherwise the process is just about the same.

As I talk about in the blog posts, my design has been guided by simplicity and efficiency. More than anything, what's been most important to me is to live in a house that I myself, with no building experience whatsoever, can design, build and maintain. A natural extension of that has been the desire to live in a peaceful space. For me that means a home that's in tune with nature, thus limiting the use of imported materials for construction, in addition to those that will be needed later on, such as for heating. Please enjoy reading, ask me any questions, get inspired, and come help and learn!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bag Suppliers

Finally! One of those significant steps has been taken. I ordered mesh bags from Volm. The lady who helped me, Candy, has been beyond helpful and nice which, along with their great price, caused me to order from her.

Friday, March 11, 2011

No More Roof Thoughts Either

This is the end of thinking about a hypothetical future roof. I had to think about it in order to make sure my house could have one but now...no longer any point. It's been hard to stop, but this is it. Here's two very reasonable roof designs. One is with soil and the other is with metal. I assume that when the time comes to erect a roof, it will be abundantly clear to me which way to go.

How Much Will This Cost Me?

I've been planning on doing a post that outlines in detail how much everything will cost. That's insane. It's been necessary and informative for me to price things because sometimes it causes me to change my game plan. But I couldn't say how much it will all end up at. In addition to all of the myriad unexpected minutiae, I don't even know what I will get new, used or free until I get it.

Windows Are Finally Going Out Of My Mind

I haven't thought about anything but windows in about two weeks. The human tendency to look for solutions by increasing a situation's complexity and/or complications is an interesting one. I've really been battling this field of low-e glass and not being able to get the u values and the shgc values that I want, while simultaneously feeling pushed against an increasingly expensive wall. Decent vinyl windows were coming in at over $2500 for the quantity, sizes and styles I wanted. Despair. Somewhere along the line, I had forgotten that if it's becoming too complicated it means it's not right.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Magical World of Windows

I was excited about windows. A central part of my heating plan--passive solar--they seemed simple enough to buy. As far as I could tell, the most difficult decision was how I wanted them to open, which for me was a double-hung style which vertically opens from top or bottom giving excellent control over ventilation.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


On second thought, my roof looks questionable. But no matter. I know enough about it and how it will be that I don't have to think about it again until that time comes. Can you tell that it's been the part I've dreaded the most?