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, July 30, 2015

Beyond Laundry: Taos' Sustainable Laundromat

It's been almost a year since I last posted, and I have so much to tell you about--the gorgeous attached greenhouse, the beautifully vibrant red earthen floors and so much more. And I will soon. I promise. In the meantime, however, I have to post about a totally inspiring project that *one day* I hope and plan to be a part of. My dear friend Susan of Home Sweet Hive just launched her Indiegogo campaign for a laundromat utilizing rainwater catchment and greywater reuse right here in Taos. If you have any interest in sustainability projects, which I'm guessing you do since you're on this blog, please check out her campaign here and get inspired! I am!


  1. I just noticed that you posted this. Thank you!!!

  2. They don't require barbed wire, though otherwise the process is just about the same.
    Home Construction

  3. Hi it's Eli, your neighbor.
    This sounds really cool! It seems to me washing water would be perfect for bio-filtration using plants and even slow sand filters or both.
    I was also wondering how the earthbag home is doing?
    I had followed your blog a years back, before I knew I would be coming to Taos.
    My email is: solarsynthesis@gmail.com

  4. Hola Aly, cómo estás? Se podría decir que ha pasado mucho tiempo pero él tiempo está solo en los relojes.
    Bueno, quería saludarte y enviarte Besos y un abrazo muy grande.

  5. Hi Aly,

    I am just beginning the process of building an earthbag house. I am looking for land and will be attending a CalEarth workshop in September. I would really like to get to know some natural builders here in New Mexico. Can I drive out to see you sometime? I'm in Santa Fe but looking towards Abiquiu to build.


    1. Hi! Would love to. Go ahead and follow my email link (I think there is one somewhere) and we'll be in touch through there.

  6. I cannot find your email here. I am sure that is for your protection. If I put my email on here, would you be able to delete my reply after you copy down the address?

  7. Hi Aly,

    I left my email address on a reply here. I hope you found it. I didn't see an email from you, but I am sure you are busy. I have a question: Because I live in Santa Fe, I have been looking at land in the Abiquiu area. I am wondering if you have a sense of that natural building community in Abiquiu. It would be nice to have neighbors who understand natural building and can share thoughts on overcoming various challenges. How long did you look for land before you decided? How did you decide? I know that soil content should be factor. Certainly the "feel" of the land. I have too many questions, but I feel quite stupid. I have purchased a house before, but I don't know anything about buying land. Do land sellers negotiate? Did you find a "sweet spot" regarding price? I imagine that the really cheap plots are cheap for a reason. I need good dirt, accessibility, nearby work of some sort, and beauty. Oh, and affordability. What else?

    I have been trying to find a natural building co-op or support group, but I haven't found anything. Are you aware of such a group in your area?


    1. I emailed u a couple days ago to kellikae@me.com correct?

  8. Yes. Ah. I see it. I think in my last iPad update, that address got turned off somehow. There you are. Thanks!