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Earthbag Building: The Tools, Tricks and Techniques (Natural Building Series) Paperback – June 1, 2004
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Over seventy percent of Americans cannot afford to own a code-enforced, contractor-built home. This has led to widespread interest in using natural materials-straw, cob, and earth-for building homes and other buildings that are inexpensive, and that rely largely on labor rather than expensive and often environmentally-damaging outsourced materials.
Earthbag Building is the first comprehensive guide to all the tools, tricks, and techniques for building with bags filled with earth-or earthbags. Having been introduced to sandbag construction by the renowned Nader Khalili in 1993, the authors developed this "Flexible Form Rammed Earth Technique" over the last decade. A reliable method for constructing homes, outbuildings, garden walls and much more, this enduring, tree-free architecture can also be used to create arched and domed structures of great beauty-in any region, and at home, in developing countries, or in emergency relief work.
This profusely illustrated guide first discusses the many merits of earthbag construction, and then leads the reader through the key elements of an earthbag building:
- Special design considerations
- Foundations, walls, and floors
- Electrical, plumbing, and shelving
- Lintels, windows and door installations
- Roofs, arches and domes
- Exterior and interior plasters.
With dedicated sections on costs, making your own specialized tools, and building code considerations, as well as a complete resources guide, Earthbag Building is the long-awaited, definitive guide to this uniquely pleasing construction style.
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1) WRITING STYLE - The author writes in a very easy-to-understand manner. Even if you are totally new to constructing with earthbag or just alternative building methods in general, I am confident that you will be able to follow the author's instructions.
2) IMAGES - As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. There are many pictures and illustrations to help you understand how to do the techniques outlined in the book. Some of them are actual images of earthbag structures and others are hand-drawn. However, all of them are useful for the overall goal of the book - preparing you to build your structure.
3) DIVERSITY - This book covers a range of different building situations. It helps you learn what you need to take into account when building in different climates - from arid ones to wetter areas. It also helps you know what you need to do to with different soil compositions and what possible amendments you will need (if any).
I am new to the natural building movement, and I found this book very useful in introducing me to earthbag building. I have read many different books on many different types of natural buildings (earthships, cob, strawbale, etc.), and after all my research, I will probably start with an earthbag building. And this house will serve as a starting point before I try something that requires a bit more finesse like cob (the exact composition of cob seems to be a bit more finicky than what needs to fill an earthbag).
So, if you are looking into what all is needed to build with earthbags,look no further, this is the book you need.
The pro is also a con with this book. It gives you a lot of info on how to do this, but it leaves it open in a way that invites you to experiment with the designs.
If you are looking for a way to build with out hurting the world around you, and you want something that can withstand an earthquake, blizzard, and most anything else mother nature can throw at you. This is the book that can help you build it.
This is a comprehensive guide suited to the novice or the experienced DIY person. The bibliography alone is worth the price of the book.
With hundreds of black and white photos, a full color section of Alison Kennedy's Moab, Utah earthbag house and line drawings that are clear and complete, it's as inspirational as it is practical.
Many people today are looking for ways to live lives in harmony with the environment. Here is one option worth considering that uses less forest material, lends itself to recycling lumber, wire, telephone poles and much more. It's a flexible, adaptive approach that allows for what works best for you.
Even the book itself is earth friendly. It's printed by New Society Publishers on acid free paper that is 100% old growth forest-free (100% post-consumer recycled) processed chlorine free, and printed with vegetable based inks. So it's a step toward ending global deforestation and climate change.
I think you'll like it.