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matt da
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Kinda disappointed there isnt a forum for rammed earth, I want to build a house with just rammed earth but I haven't found a suitable replacement for concrete footings that is eco friendly and accepted in usa building codes. does anyone know of eco-friendly replacement for concrete that doesn't involve any petrol products?
 
Brian Knight
Posts: 554
Location: Asheville NC
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What climate are you in Matt? Rammed Earth usually has crummy insulation values. Its easy to get caught up in finding "all natural" materials but its the long term energy costs of the building envelope that has the greater environmental impacts.

The only "footings" I know of that dont use concrete yet still pass codes is the gravel footings used by pre-cast concrete panels. The wall panels themselves act as a footer. Because the concrete layer is only 2" thick, its a very efficient use of material. They probably contain as much concrete as a footer yet are getting footer, wall, exterior finish, and insulation in one product minus the gravel of course.
 
matt da
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I plan to build it in nebraska, and also insulate it via a void in the middle of the earth wall and have at least 2 foot wide wall.
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Where in NE?? It makes a big difference as to what is needed for a footing.

One problem with rammed earth is it is SO HEAVY that it really NEEDS a good footing. I thought I could pull it off because I am only a couple feet down to bedrock, but it still ends up being a substantial footing.

Rubble trench and a lighter construction like straw bale is probably smarter. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilgrim_Holiness_Church_%28Arthur,_Nebraska%29

 
matt da
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near, fremont, ne yea i think the footing has to be at least 36 inches below ground , but if youre in a warm region i think you can get away with a 1 foot footing

that church is pretty interesting, i also like the ideal of cod since there is alot of clay here, or a dugout shelter
 
R Scott
Posts: 3358
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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That frost line complicates things. You may be able to do a rubble trench, but if you are having to deal with code it will probably need concrete. Concrete is easy-an 8 inch wall of X thousand psi is easy to spec and always is that anywhere in the US. Making something different takes thought and work,and we know the government doesn't want to work...
 
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